Regina Spektor
Soviet Kitsch
Sire
2005
B-



hey, it's probably best not to spend too much time with Regina Spektor. I mean, she's all about, like, killing herself and people dying and all this sad stuff and it's totally a downer. I know that when she's singing she's just being these characters but sometimes isn't it just a bit much, and who wants to put up with that kind of show?

And here's the other thing: she could like really play the piano but you kind of don't notice it when she's singing because, you know, all she ends up giving us are squeaks and snarls every so often. Like, is she trying to be a punk or a folksinger or a classical musician or what? OMG she's like some twit that showed up a little tipsy at the formal and the proceeded to show off all night at the piano and kept on drinking and I swear she's making up some of these songs as she goes along but nobody seems to mind at first and then you have to force her to go home.

Really, though, it's not like a formal. There's no champagne here at all, cheap or otherwise. Soviet Kitsch is totally wine-in-a-brown-bag music, just for someone in a rented tux. Regina's got this one song called "Poor Little Rich Boy" and it's such a crock. She's like trying to put down this rich kid for being all superficial and tied up in his own self, but she totally blows it by making him have this complex stuff with his mom and his girlfriend and who cares if his girlfriend is or isn't fat, right? (And get this—I heard she was snooty, starting piano at six and training with a music professor and stuff. No wonder she isn't hard on this rich guy.) Anyhow, then she really blows it by pushing it off on his youngness. She gives him an out! WTF? It's almost as if she didn't want to rub it in with this guy, but I'm not even sure what she's talking about.

But there is this one part that really gets me. She does this other song called "Chemo Limo" and talks about some mom dying from cancer who can't even pay her medical bills and like you'd think that's kind of cheesy, but it really made me sad. And then at the end she repeats these lines from the beginning that go, "I had a dream / Crispy crispy Benjamin Franklin came over / And baby-sat all four of my kids" but when it repeats she adds this big piano chords and oh, it gives me chills.

Then there's this Decemberists moment where she sings a song about sailors, but instead of being all adventurous and like old, it's just about this sailor who hates this girl because she kisses but won't really put out which is just so lame. Regina gets them, though, when she makes this joke about huddling with missiles, which is totally about their dicks. It's like these sailors need to just deal and do whatever they need to do with putting it all on this Mary Ann girl. Like the R-rated version of Gilligan or something.

What I don't get is the name of the album, Soviet Kitsch? I heard that "kitsch" is like stuff that's really cheesy and so people buy it for that reason, but like the people who made it didn't try to do it that way. And there's nothing like that here because Regina so knows what she's doing, like when she repeats "a walk" over and over until it sounds like Fozzy Bear. And there's definitely nothing Soviet here. I don't care where she was born—that girl is from Brooklyn. So, like, if it's just American and it's just like her looking at these made-up lives what's so Soviet or so kitsch about that. Does she think she's saying something about life or is she just screwing around on the piano? I mean, really!

Anyway, I'm totally going to make you listen to this when you come over.


Reviewed by: Justin Cober-Lake
Reviewed on: 2005-03-29
Comments (5)
 

 
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