Friday, August 11, 2006

I've bceome a Spektor collector

regina spektorI've been meaning to write something about Regina Spektor for a while now. The pint sized New York singer-songwriter has muscled her way into the special place in my heart marked "kooky piano lady" (previous occupants: Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple).

Born in Russia, but raised in the States, Spektor first came to my attention through the song Us last year. A wonderfully left-field ode to statues, the song got a few plays on Radio One, and soundtracked Sky One's breathtaking skateboard advert - although unfortunately not the version that's been uploaded to youtube.

Her first UK album, Mary Ann Meets The Grave Diggers, was released in January. It's a compilation of the best bits from her early independent releases and her first major-label US album, Soviet Kitsch. In all honesty, it's a little too idiosyncratic for my tastes - but it does feature a lush, re-recorded version of Us which is worth the asking price alone.

Much better is her new album, Begin To Hope, which mrsdiscopop picked up a couple of weeks ago. In it, Regina takes her finger off the button marked 'quirky' and delivers some beautifully heartfelt songs. The lyrics are more personal and observational than on Mary Ann - although she still manages to squeeze in a song about being the secret girlfriend of biblical strongman Samson. But of course.

The first two-thirds of the album is so good, in fact, that I insist you buy it. I'm not joking: Amazon have it for £7.99, so you have no excuse.

What's that? You need convincing? Well how about this video of her performing on the Conan O'Brien show.

Good, isn't it? You've got to R'spekt 'Er.

Oh dear.

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