Over the past two decades, fans of Regina Spektor relied on the indie-pop musician for a few things: a mix of whimsical and devastating lyrics; high, penetrating vocals; a beautiful piano; the kind of world-building you find in a short story or fable; and a sense of humour.
On her latest album Home page, before and after, released on June 24, Spektor delivers on these marks with some nice surprises and an expanded musical palette. That’s the kind of test one would expect after her previous 2016 record Remember us to life42 year old man found deploy a full orchestra to create a majestic, melodious sound scene.
Spektor told The Daily Beast about Home page, before and after. “There are a lot of orchestral arrangements on a lot of songs. And also a lot of sound-y design, sound-y, texture stuff. “
Where her last recording feels elegant and lush, the variety of sounds on Home page, before and after a bit chaotic but still engaging. For example, the opening track “Becoming All Alone,” in which Spektor relates to God about feeling lonely, begins with some quiet piano chords reminiscent of earlier ballads like “Samson” and ” Eet” before starting into an abrupt dance beat. “Up the Mountain” is another weird but fun adventure where Spektor oscillates between her usual rapping and opera singing. At one point, the song “What Might’ve Been,” where Spektor lists things that “go together,” sounded like the score of a sci-fi movie.
The lyrics also take unexpected turns, especially in the song “One Man’s Prayer,” in which Spektor narrates the inner monologue of a lonely, pathetic, lonely man who is also hilarious. and equally worrisome (“For if I don’t meet God and I Then at least I won’t become a god, God, let me talk to a girl.”) But let Spektor, a professional storyteller who accidentally threw a satirical song into an album and made it a success.
Home page, before and after, Spektor’s eighth studio album, is sure to provide a degree of reassurance for listeners concerned the singer-songwriter may lean toward a more comfortable pop-y direction, thanks to her mainstream success. as an indie artist. However, Spektor, who dismissed the idea that she even had a signature sound, asserted that the punk spirit of the record wasn’t calculated.
“I feel like I’ve been to very new places with this record, but I’ve always felt that way with every record,” Spektor said. “You would probably be able to know better if it was only in my imagination that I went further in theory.”
Home, before and after’special vibe of felt appropriate to the unusual — but now fairly normal — circumstances surrounding its creation. The Russian New Yorker says that she and her husband, guitarist Jack Dishel, had “accidentally” lived in Los Angeles for several years working on their respective projects when she befriended the award-winning producer. Grammy John Congleton. The couple collaborated on the song “One Little Soldier” for the first time in 2019 Bombshell—A seemingly overdue collaboration due to the range of indie artists Congleton has produced. When Spektor returned home to New York, she realized she wanted Congleton to be the sole co-producer of her ninth studio album.
Spektor, who is known for rotating producers on projects, was excited by the “new element” and what she could learn from Congleton. But like most Americans in the spring of 2020, COVID created a key to their plans.
“On April 1, 2020, he will fly to New York a few days before and we will start working at Electric Lady [Studios],” she said. “We booked the time in advance. And it’s going to be like a regular record, you know? Dropped, of course, a couple of weeks before that — like a complete lockdown, and the world was already in. change “.
Like others who can still do their work through a computer, Spektor and Congleton continue to create albums remotely. In 2022, a bilateral or even transnational working situation between an artist and a producer is extremely common in the music industry. But for the more traditional Spektor, the initial distance is tough.
“He actually said to me, ‘You know, a lot of people work remotely,’” she recalls.
“I remember talking to him just pacing back and forth some way ahead like, ‘I don’t think I can work like this,’” continued Spektor. “I am always in the studio. I am very tall. I’m a control freak. How will this ever work? And he said, ‘You don’t understand. People literally send me a voice memo. And they just said, let’s make it a song. ‘”
“I’m always in the studio. I am very tall. I’m a control freak. How will this ever work?“
Spektor, a mother of two, was also pregnant with her second son when the pandemic broke out and during the making of the album, which caused her and her family to temporarily move out of town to upstate New York. York.
“COVID safety feels very, very good,” she said. “I don’t think I could have made the record without that.”
In addition to the privilege of being isolated, there’s also working at Dreamland Recording Studios, a converted church in Ulster County, created to create a particularly idyllic workspace for Spektor.
The singer jokingly compared the tightly enclosed environment of a typical studio to working in “the basement of the Capitol building”. However, she said the openness of the renovated reserve, people who would stop by to reminisce about the wedding they held there, and the nature around it felt especially inspiring.
“Just being able to step outside and see a bunny jump — that’s really a big deal,” she said. “We were recording, and we would have to stop because there was a raccoon on the roof or a squirrel. And I love hearing the thunder. “
Spektor, who recently finished Residence in Broadway, always enthusiastically performing his music for the audience. Likewise, she left little time between the release of her new album and the tour, performing her first show in Napa, California, with special guest Norah Jones on May 25. 6. In July, she will also make what will most likely be an emotional return to Carnegie Hall. This past April, she was supposed to do a show at the Manhattan venue but it was ultimately canceled due to her father passed away.
“So far, I have practiced all the songs that I can play solo,” she said of her upcoming shows. “I love playing ‘Loveology.’ I love playing ‘Becoming Not Alone.’ I enjoyed playing “Fairy Tale of Timeless” right in my room. It feels like walking on a rope. “
“Timeless Fairy Tale”, the seventh track on Home page, before and after, playful and magical as the title suggests. Finishing close to nine minutes, this track instantly takes you to your seat at a ballet or an opera with its thunderous orchestra.
“Doing it in front of people is a bit risky,” she said. “But I am kind of like that. That’s one of the benefits of not [being] a classical musician. You know, it’s not a show. It’s damn rock and roll. “