Recommend if you like: Singing and piano. There’s not really anything else going on here, so you’ll know right away if its for you.
Expectation: Regina Spektor has been a prominent figure in indie pop for over a decade and, despite a moderate drop in consistency, has still regularly put out well received records. Remember Us to Life marks Spektor’s 7th album, following 2012’s What We Saw From the Cheap Seats.
- Bleeding Heart – The alternating piano and synth parts in the song work well, and when the drum beat finally kicks in it feels huge. Just a great example of how to structure a song.
- Older and Taller – An upbeat song about growing older, with some clever lyrics sprinkled throughout and a nice melody.
- Grand Hotel – A simple song with a great melody and a soothing, nostalgic tone to the lyrics.
- Small Bill$ – Bringing back some of the genre-bending angst of Spektor’s past work, the ethereal vocals transfigure the pop hook into an unnerving chant between the half-rapped, half-sung verses.
- The Light – Despite the hook sounding like a serious rendition of a commercial jingle, this is just a great little song. The melody goes just where you want it to, and Regina Spektor sings it wonderfully.
- The Trapper and the Furrier – A very dramatic, direct piece of songwriting that does an excellent job of building tension and an almost oppressive vindictiveness in the verses, and the brief relief of Spektor’s sarcastic optimism in the chorus is stripped as soon as it becomes comfortable.
- Tornadoland – Another simple piano song that somehow feels entirely different from the others, showing off the sheer diversity of Spektor’s melodies.
- Sellers of Flowers – Another very dramatic performance, with theatrical lyrics and a very evocative piano part. Spektor’s straight tone gives the chorus an unusual quality that works well, especially near the end when the harmonies enter. Probably my favorite track on the album.
- The Visit – Another sweet song full of reminiscing, this time with more persistent string accompaniment that gives the song an especially lovely sound.
Overall: While not Spektor’s most ambitious or daring work, Remember Us to Life is a very solid album. Spektor’s vocals and piano playing are as good as they’ve ever been, and even the less memorable songs had a clear amount of thought and effort put into the lyrics. If you can see yourself enjoying an album that is 90% singing and piano, than you’re nearly guaranteed to find a few songs you like here.