Regina Spektor
Mary Ann Meets the Gravediggers


4.5
superb

Review

by Lewis P. STAFF
July 1st, 2007 | 26 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 32 is still a goddamn number.

The cover of Mary Ann Meets the Gravediggers and Other Short Stories is vacant of a Spektor album staple: her face. There is no smug Regina (Soviet Kitsch), innocent Regina (Begin to Hope), wishful Regina (11:11), or attentive Regina (Songs). There is just that bitch, Mary Ann, and those pesky gravediggers, cloaked in harsh shades of grey, black, and a splash of red. This reluctance to place her face in the forefront of Gravediggers gives it the air of indisposition; where is Regina if not planted firmly in the middle? So it’s with this foreboding sense of missing soul that the compilation of past Regina albums presents itself as a storybook, a simple, timeless story that grows and swirls into a poignant and touching tale. It may not be new, but it shows Regina at her most intricate.

It’s a bold statement, but Gravediggers thrives and suspires because of its attention to detail, here found in placement; Soviet Kitsch’s ‘Sailor Song’ rolls into ‘Mary Ann,’ called out for her bitchiness in the former and brought to life in the latter. It’s taking the antagonist and fleshing her out; in the poppy piano cynicism of ‘Sailor Song,’ Regina paints Mary Ann in wide, broad strokes. “Do not date her! Do not love her!” Regina seems to say of the prude flirt. “She will kiss until your lips bleed, but she will not take her dress off,” Regina does say of the prude flirt. But the underground chic of ‘Mary Ann’ (you can almost smell the coffee and hear the fingers snap as the upright bass shakes in the background) makes this girly villain a caricature of her own emotions.

And Regina is an aspiring master of wordplay, letting ‘Oedipus,’ an intricately woven track, bare and simplistic with its infrequent resonating pianos, break out from a history lesson into a metaphor (some say isolation, but it's ambiguous!), Regina varies in intensity like a storybook actor, making the blistering bang of notes in ‘Love Affair’ contrast her flowing, characteristic vocals. ‘Consequence of Sounds’ drives on its day-to-day feel, paved in realism by the R&B influenced rhyme scheme. Regina uses what she has for an optimum effect, her instruments always a necessity to get her point across (‘Poor Little Rich Boy’’s percussion instrument is a chair), but she is as much a character as the ones in the stories she’s weaving. When she stumbles over her words in the dreamlike piano of ‘Daniel Cowman,’ it’s more effective because of it. “And he was screaming and everybody was, like, ‘What're you screaming as if it's the end of the world?’ And he was, like, ‘Well it is.’”

The heart of Gravediggers, like all the other Spektor albums, is its capitalization on Regina's imperfections; unpolished and left to float on their own self-concious production, songs like 'Prisoners' (you can hear Regina's lips part and smack) grow from their close to home feel. Much in the way 'Poor Little Rich Boy' sets it tempo to a piece of furniture, Gravediggers sets its own heart and ear to Regina's innovations; she's not taking leaps and bounds around in her pop genre, but she's not by any means conventional. If her voice cracks, her voice cracks; she can very well become breathless, banging on the piano until it has caught up to where she wants it to, ala 'Chemo Limo' or 'Lacrimosa.'

Gravediggers ends on its best foot, letting the tilted piano and building violins of ‘Us’ spell out the eloquent “The End.” The period on the fictional autobiography, a tainted, emotional story to tell; it’s not always eloquent, but there’s part of its charm. It’s Regina herself that says, “My brain and tongue just met, and they ain’t friends so far.” For her sake, let’s hope they keep their distance.



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user ratings (40)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
radianteclipse
July 1st 2007


397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love this album...almost as much I love her.


blackmilk
July 1st 2007


584 Comments


more effective for it.


I think this should say "more effective because of it".

plane
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2007


6094 Comments


yeah, it was the victim of splicing sentences together. thanks.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2007


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah son!

Fort23
July 1st 2007


2475 Comments


Nice review. Pretty alright album, begin to Hope is great.This Message Edited On 07.01.07

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2007


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dude

you have not heard half the shit that you say that for


and its BEGIN to hope

you fucking retard

MeowMeow
July 1st 2007


662 Comments


I don't have this one
I have Begin To Hope and Soviet Kitsch (sp?), and I love them both. So I totally should get this one.

plane
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2007


6094 Comments


Yeah, it's my personal favorite, because it has all my favorite songs from those albums.

Phil
July 1st 2007


1473 Comments


Yeah, I've only got Soviet Kitsch, I will now look into this. About the review I think it could have bee a bit longer, like explain a few more songs but its still good as it is. She kinda reminds me of Fiona Apple a lot, not quite sure why either.

EDIT: Didn't realise it had songs from other albums. I only realised when I looked at the tracklist.This Message Edited On 07.01.07

plane
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2007


6094 Comments


[quote=review]So it’s with this foreboding sense of missing soul that the compilation of past Regina albums presents itself[/quote]
thanks for reading philly

Phil
July 1st 2007


1473 Comments


I thought it meant that the songs have similar themes as to previous songs on her other albums.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2007


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah thats exactly what "compilation" means

slep
July 1st 2007


1604 Comments


I want some Regina Spektor. Might start with this album. Good review too.

Fort23
July 1st 2007


2475 Comments


Songs is the place to start. It's the most balanced. This isn't to bad either.This Message Edited On 07.01.07

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2007


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I want some Regina Spektor. Might start with this album. Good review too.

Get Soviet Kitsch. Songs isn't really balanced at all.

Fort23
July 1st 2007


2475 Comments


Its easier to swallow, I think. But Soviet isn't a bad place either.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2007


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What. Songs is a lot more out there and weird.

Fort23
July 1st 2007


2475 Comments


Realy? I should listen to it again...
I listened to it at my friends house, I was pretty tired. It sounded nice.This Message Edited On 07.01.07

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2007


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Or maybe listen to it for the first time.

Fort23
July 1st 2007


2475 Comments


I just said I did listen to it.
Forget it where spamming.This Message Edited On 07.01.07



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