Regina Spektor (photo by Shervin Lainez, PR)
Remember Us To Life
Regina Spektor has carved a niche that’s all her own. After short period away from music, this distinctive singer, songwriter and pianist returns with a new album, Remember Us To Life. Her latest album comes four years after her last album, 2011's What We Saw from the Cheap Seats, and there was a reason for her personal hiatus: she's gotten married and had a child.
Remember Us To Life is a collection of songs that weave together whimsy and reality. The Moscow-born, classically-trained Spektor, who has often written about her experience as a Soviet émigré to the Bronx as a child, is a wonderful storyteller with a propensity for matching a vivid lyric with a complimentary musical arrangement. The songs on her seventh album — arriving fifteen years after her 2001 debut 11:11 — reveal a studied outlook for Spektor as she wisely examines life’s lessons. On “Older And Taller,” Spektor muses on living in the moment, offering the advice, "Enjoy your youth.”
“Black And White” looks back in time through old photographs as she sings, “All my love/In black and white/On this color photograph/Why should I wait for tomorrow?” In a similar vein is the sad “Obsolete." One of the album's darker tracks, “The Trapper And The Furrier,” loosely refers to the melody from John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero” and like that song, addresses how the rich and powerful maintain a level of supremacy in today’s society. “What a strange, strange world we live in," sings Spektor, "Those who don’t have, lose. Those who got, get given. More, more, more, more."
Those tense moments are countered by the more playful synthpop of “Bleeding Heart” and the bouncy melody of “Older And Taller.”
Spektor’s knack for rich lyrical imagery abounds on “Grand Hotel.” Her skills as a composer shine on “The Light,” a beautiful, melancholy ballad about escaping in dreams, and on the touching album finale, “The Visit."
Remember Us To Life is produced by Leo Abrahams, with assistance from Spektor. Abrahams also played guitar, bass, synths and percussion on the album. Spektor's many collaborators on the album include veteran drummer Joey Waronker, percussionist Jay Bellerose, bassist Mike Elizondo, and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Spektor plays piano, synths and some celeste throughout.
Regina Spektor’s Remember Us To Life is charmingly warm and deceivingly intense. Each song borrows from her past accomplishments and expands upon those ideas with maturity and depth — a powerful reminder of Spektor's impressive talent and scope.