Regina Spektor
11:11


4.0
excellent

Review

by FlawedPerfection EMERITUS
February 13th, 2007 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Simple, slightly jazzy, and a perfect showcase for Regina's voice, 11:11 lays the groundwork for the rest of her career

It’s pretty amazing how many people don’t know who Regina Spektor is. She is currently resting in the high top 5 of the VH1 Video Countdown for her biggest hit to date, Fidelity, and CBS ran an entire special on her. Still, she has not received the pop music glory so many want to see her achieve. No matter how good she is, there is a clear reason why she hasn’t received insane amounts of fame. She never compromises her own personal integrity in her music for pop sensibilities. Her sensitive, spasmodic piano-based music trolls the musicality of most pop singers and her voice is spot on to sing over her brilliant compositions. Although classically trained, her music really does not show it, as her compositional roots lie much closer to jazz. No album showcases that better than her debut 11:11.

11:11 could signify this being Regina's wish to create music, no matter how simple or self-indulgent. The entire album takes 4 things, Regina’s voice, her piano, an upright bass, and occasionally some light percussion. 11:11 is Regina’s most intimate album, an album with all the time in the world for her to show off her vocal talent and poetic skills, as well as her sheer originality. Despite writing clever lyrical hooks, both serious and humorous, she resorts to strange vocal noises on this album more than ever. Pavlov’s Daughter, the longest song on the album, is the biggest provider of these noises. Her vocal accents, sometimes highly suggestive, are so strange but it gives her own unique style for sure. Even when she sings normal words, her voice oscillates between octaves often and for most singers, this would just be a proof of inadequacy. However, she oscillates with such intent that it is so clearly what she heard in her head. Musically, Pavlov’s Daughter switches between a dark piano ballad and a barebones rap, which allows the song to stretch to its 7:45 length without getting old.

Music for late night clubs often draws thoughts of laid back jazz, and Regina brings in the most jazz influence on this album. Rejazz, as the title might suggest, brings the jazz influence to full form. Rejazz is one of the simplest songs on the album, just Regina’s voice and a fantastic upright bass walking a bassline. The bass takes plenty of liberties with the bassline, filling all over the place to give some musical interest as if Regina’s voice wasn’t enough. She sings all through her range, reaching her high notes that people fell in love with in Samson, but she starts the song much more calm in her lower range. Rejazz showcases some her best singing, but the best is certainly the aptly titled I Want to Sing. It has to be, because the entire song is just Regina singing. Her pitch is perfect throughout, singing excellent color tones to make things slightly jazzy. Her vibrato is superb as well, taken from her idols of the time Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald. Meanwhile, the lyrics of I Want to Sing are much simpler than Regina’s standards. That isn’t necessarily bad, because the point and purpose of the song is a true love song, not any witty comment on the idea of love or society. As her sound has progressed, it seems there may be no more of Regina just singing without more grandiose arrangements, but I Want to Sing will always call back to her earlier days.

Still, most of the album is standard Regina fare, what one can expect from a live performance of hers. Love Affair, Sunshine, and many others put Regina where she is most comfortable, at a piano. Her piano music often derives from simple grooves but she throws in her own unique fills to make it her own. The compositional skill for piano on 11:11 is not fully matured as compared to her later work, and sometimes the music feels a bit too bare. The album finds it’s only major flaw there, and the album bores for a bit, with some tracks really standing out and some extremely forgettable. Regina Spektor proved her potential with her debut and laid the groundwork for her best music. 11:11 also shows other influences that she later abandoned, especially a strong influence from Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday, both of which she said were heavy influences while she was in college. Take a listen, it is certainly worthwhile, but her later work is a much better place to start.

Recommended Tracks:
Love Affair
Rejazz
Marry Ann
Pavlov’s Daughter
I Want to Sing



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Kyle
February 13th 2007


667 Comments


I like how Regina has got lots more love on Sputnik recently.

She's one of my favoroite artists and I she blew me away when I saw her live on saturday.

Great review.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
February 13th 2007


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is only (legally) available on iTunes, just so everyone knows.



lol Amazon thinks this is Kidz Bop 11.This Message Edited On 02.13.07

Kyle
February 13th 2007


667 Comments


Get Soviet Kitsch before this Chan, that's pretty much her best release.

Hatshepsut
February 13th 2007


1997 Comments


I have a lot of her stuff, and a lot of girls I know looove her. Damn I should get around to listening to her more.

cometuesday
August 27th 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Really, more people should know this.

withintention
December 22nd 2008


297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

11:11>Songs>Soviet Kitsch>Begin To Hope

Swingfinger
March 3rd 2009


100 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

She has so many songs written its ridiculous. She needs to sit down and record some of them as B sides...



This is definitely my favorite album of hers but my favorite songs from her are probably Consequence of Sounds, and Buildings. Also... if you can get a recording of her song Dance Anthem of the 80s its pretty fun.This Message Edited On 03.03.09

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 11th 2010


16295 Comments


when pavlov's daughter get so good? fuck

dylantheairplane
November 4th 2010


2181 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love me some Regina.





I Want To Sing is awesome.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2011


16295 Comments


regina's voice is super fantastic on this but overall very boring

Ishysez
December 2nd 2011


90 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

was not aware babylon was known for its whisky. thanks for the rec regina!

Spec
September 6th 2012


35510 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Probably my favourite.

wwf
December 25th 2014


6143 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ok Pavlov's Daughter might be the best song ever

Veldin
December 25th 2014


3582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agreed.

Veldin
December 25th 2014


3582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh, I thought you said HER best song...

wwf
December 25th 2014


6143 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Either way really

wwf
December 25th 2014


6143 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

plus some hyperbole may have been involved

Veldin
December 25th 2014


3582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I just heard the entirety of "Songs" yesterday and I was floored. Regina is d@ b33'5 kn335

wwf
December 25th 2014


6143 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Songs is her only album I haven't heard as of yet actually

Veldin
December 25th 2014


3582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Do itttt



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