It's been three years since Regina Spektor's last studio album, Begin to Hope, was released. At the time, I remember thinking to myself that despite certain strong tracks, it was no Soviet Kitsch. But there were definitely some strong tracks, "Fidelity", "On the Radio", "Apres Moi" and "Summer in the City" to name a few. The real problem with the album for me was when she took the focus off of herself with guitars and a more bandlike sound, moving away from just her piano. In particular, "Better" demonstrates a song for me that stopped working after a few listens. On her latest album, she moved farther away from the sound that originally enveloped me, and despite a few standouts, maturity isn't doing it for me as much as her earlier material. The songs I find I like the most are the ones already released on Demo Cassette almost 10 years ago. Sonically, the album sounds great, her voice really sounds amazing, the production is very good. The problem is that she sounded better lo-fi, in my opinion, it almost sounds too dressed up, too professional. She was the best at making songs that didn't sound good sound good, if that makes any sense (maybe only to me...) I liked it better when she was the one drumming, and not some random person who didn't write the music. Despite seeming ornery, the truth is that Far is a very good album, very professionally done, and I'm just a little sad that the woman who captivated me a few years ago is changing, but that's my problem, not her's. The truth is, she's doing better than ever, and so long as she's happy, I should be happy. Back in 2005, when I was 15, I didn't know much about music. And when I heard Soviet Kitsch for the first time, it was a total and complete musical renaissance for me. It completely and utterly changed my opinion of what music could and should sound like. So while Far may not be as groundbreaking for me personally, there's no reason it can't be as groundbreaking for a lot of people, and maybe this album does have that capacity in itself. But to be honest, it seems like the person who said, "Can't I just be left alone? I want to take a fucking bath." seems to have changed, maybe for the better, maybe for the worse. You should still check out Far, but you should definitely also check out her other albums if you have not done so already.
Regina Spektor - Daniel Cowman