It’s been a week of blasts from our uni pasts: first Devendra Banhart, now good old Regina Spektor. Poor Regina though. She may have quite an impressive back catalogue, but you mention her name these days and she’s having to combat the title of world’s worst TV theme singer thanks to Orange Is The New Black.
Remember Us To Life isn’t her strongest work, but it certainly goes a fair way in undoing that damage. As always, Spektor isn’t shy of attacking large concepts in the guise of her peppy pop melodies. Bleeding Heart is a devastatingly accurate account of anxiety (“when they see you around you look down at the ground/ but when they walk away you wish they’d stay”), but you’d be forgiven for not realising with such an upbeat chorus.
Spektor once again takes the role of caregiver on her songs. She’s a cheerleader, a confidante, a friend delivering delicately packaged truths. “All the lies on your resume have become the truth by now/ and the things you never did have become your youth somehow,” she wraps in piano and strings on Older and Taller, a line that would resonate and linger longer with millennials more than anything we’ve heard for a while.
That’s partly the reason behind the success of Spektor’s new record: while most acts from our youth (a key theme here) either move too far forward or stay stuck in a certain mindframe, Spektor feels like she’s growing with us at exactly the same rate. Loneliness and the modern malaise of isolation also crop up on songs like Grand Hotel, with pointed lines smacking you around the face long after they’ve been delivered.
Of course, Spektor has retained some of her less endearing traits though – the affected delivery of Small Bill$ feels wholly unnecessary, as does the overblown theatrical narrative of The Trapper and The Furrier. Still, it can be forgiven on the larger scale of what Spektor achieves here: an Instagram picture of contemporary life, filtered with grace but with all the cracks hiding in plain sight.