Style: quirky piano alternative, compare to Fiona Apple, St. Vincent, Tori Amos
Top tracks: "Firewood," "All the Rowboats," "Small Town Moon"
Regina Spektor's fifth album is an endearing, unpredictable show. The collection juxtaposes slick singles ("All the Rowboats,") with sparse ballads ("How") and operatic in-character experimentation ("Oh Marcello"). Spektor's not afraid to use her emotive voice in unusual ways, from mimicking trumpet to uttering visceral grunts. Her piano sprinkles classical flourishes, and her witty lyrics hint at Broadway-worthy storylines ("Open," "Ballad of a Politician," which uses the a-word). The Russian Jewish immigrant doesn't tackle God or the Bible as directly as she has in past work, but her poetic perspectives carry a universal intimacy that reaches the soul. Careful listeners will feel the tension between humanity and spirituality in the heartbreaking optimism of "Firewood."
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