Since being “discovered” by the Strokes in the early 2000s, Regina
Spektor’s been polishing her act for the mainstream. The end result is far, a surprisingly dull record featuring almost none of the playfully whacked, creative gusto that was, up until now, her trademark. The rough edges Spektor once proudly flaunted have been sanded down by no less than four (!) producers, and while there’s an occasional bright spot (the moody “Genius Next Door,” the bouyant “The Calculation”), much of the record resorts to the kind of preachy pop treacle she used to be the antithesis of. (She does mimic a dolphin during “Folding Chair,” but it just doesn’t feel the same. Sigh.)
Music bloggers roasted Spektor when her Begin to Hope track “Fidelity” made an appearance on scrubs-opera Grey’s Anatomy, but at the time I wrote it off as a happy convergence of art and commerce. But far sounds too much like rom-com fishing. Note to ReSpekt: if you don’t want people to think you’re writing songs for Grey’s, don’t start one with “No one laughs at God in a hospital.”
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