Tuesday, October 9, 2012

#80: Regina Spektor - 11:11 (2001)

She’s a little crazy. She’s a little out there. Then again she’s damn near perfect. This album is classified as anti-folk and for good reason, it constantly challenges the way we normally listen to music. There are blues, jazz, folk, and pop influences throughout the album. However unlikely her hooks may be, they sink right into you.

She’s got one of the best voices I’ve heard in a long time and she’s not content with singing straight. She’ll grunt, growl, sing the drums, sneeze, or do whatever feels right in the moment. What it means for the listener is she’s always entertaining – she keeps you on the edge of your seat. This track features a standup bass and Regina. However, it’s one of the best tracks on the album. If you’re unsure if you’d like this album, I think this is the track to start with, it’s super solid.

While the previous spotlighted song featured just bass and Regina, this track features a cajon and Spektor. It really shows off just how good she is vocally as well as lyrically. She repeats phrases to add a sense of familiarity to the music while she is constantly tweaking the melody. Her phrasing is phenomenal, it’s amazing how entertaining such a simple arrangement can be.

Pavlov’s Daughter
If you’re one of those hip cats that go to poetry readings and you’re well dug into the avant garde scene then this is your ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Regina throws out all kinds of music on the best track on the album. She starts with a rap only to transition to this incredible dissonant piano coupled with oddly specific lyrics. When she sings “My name is Lucille and I know how you feel. I live downstairs, I hear you taking out your garbage…” I lose it every time. It’s so ridiculous but it’s so incredible. The song then changes to this very open, sparse feel. The song then works its way back to the beginning. Is the song odd? Absolutely. Is it amazing? Absolutely.

All in all, Regina does an amazing job of doing some crazy things and finding out a way to get away with it. Surely everyone doesn’t get it – we’ll start with my coworkers. Let’s be honest, I don’t totally get it either, but that’s part of the allure for me. It’s absolutely different from every album I’ve ever heard but it’s one of the most entertaining.

Tomorrow's album: Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto's Getz/Gilberto.

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