Regina Spektor
Remember Us To Life


4.0
excellent

Review

by jeremologyy USER (41 Reviews)
September 30th, 2016 | 76 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: you will always start to cry

When Regina Spektor’s fifth album, Far, was released in 2009, a few reviews mentioned that she sounded like someone much younger than her age. Now, personally, I found the production on Far to be a little too flat and clean. It was her first record since Begin to Hope brought her into the mainstream, but even that record, despite its more expensive production, had a second half that indulged in Spektor’s stranger tendencies without veering too wildly into either ironing out all her quirks, or exaggerating them into outright silliness.

That all being said, the comments about her age seemed more than a little condescending – this is a woman who has always, always been willing to dip her toes into obscure and weird character studies (“Daniel Cowman,” “Mary Ann”) and belt out odd melodies and vocalizations (“Lounge”, “Back of a Truck”). Spektor was following the lien of breadcrumbs she’d been laying for years, and the idea that she should be “acting her age” struck me as out of place and rude.

Seven years – and one much better record, 2012’s What We Saw From the Cheap Seats – later, we’ve got Spektor’s lovely seventh record, Remember Us to Life. The high-end production is still here, and in fact this record almost sounds even more shiny and expensive than the ones that preceded it. However, on this LP, Spektor has struck what is arguably the finest balance between quirkiness and tastefulness, accessible and theatrical; the perfect distillation of her skills, ideas, and integrity to her song craft.

It begins with “Bleeding Heart,” a single I at first dismissed as being too run-of-the-mill, with its plinking keyboards and programmed beats. But it slowly unfurls, adding more piano, real drums, and eventually, a beautiful string section. That last ingredient is this record’s secret (or not-so-secret, as its presence is felt palpably on almost every song) weapon. Some of Spektor’s songs in the past have had strings, but they’ve never been so integral to the songs as they are here. It doesn’t hurt that they are produced with such full lushness. They provide the end of “Bleeding Heart” with a gorgeous bed to fall on, after it winds through a few melodic shifts and bridges.

At times, this record actually feels like the most direct continuation from her early days. Strip many of these songs down to just voice and piano and they could appear on any of her first few records. “The Trapper and the Furrier” starts off tantalizingly a’capella, calling to mind old gems like “Aching to Pupate,” and its dramatic tale would be right at home on 11:11. “Sellers of Flowers," which tells a wintery tale from her childhood, would’ve been right at home on Soviet Kistch, and “Small Bill$,” which would be nothing but a jarring sore thumb if it wasn’t so damn smart and enjoyable, recalls past near-hip-hop jams like “Consequence of Sounds.” But since this isn’t a piano-and-voice record, it feels fresh, and every song has at least a handful of ear-catching ideas – so many that you might miss some on the first go.

Spektor hasn’t written so many surprising and indelible melodies as this in a while. Perhaps it’s because this is the first record of hers that has all entirely new songs and not repurposed oldies. “Tornadoland” has a folky melody, which sounds incredibly close to something Nina Nastasia might sing (check her song “Our Day Trip” for Exhibit A), and “The Light” has one of the record’s prettiest arrangements. “Obsolete” is darkly dramatic, fully justifying its length. And one of her sharpest songs to date, “Older and Taller,” has some cleverly rhymed lyrics about youth, memory, and the past.

Much of this record concerns itself with memory and the past and the act of storytelling, which I think is where the title comes from. Almost all these songs mention remembering, or dreaming, and so the title can almost be taken a plea from the songs themselves: Don’t forget us. And with her strongest material since Begin to Hope, Spektor has done a pretty good job at making sure we remember these songs for a long time.

Key tracks: Older and Taller, Small Bill$, Obsolete, Sellers of Flowers
Final Rating: 8.4



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user ratings (188)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Atari STAFF (4.7)
One hell of an indulgence...

Aris (4.5)
Regina's back, bitches....

Brendan Schroer (4.5)
Likely the best pop album of the entire year, Remember Us to Life continues Regina Spektor's phenome...



Comments:Add a Comment 
theacademy
Staff Reviewer
September 30th 2016


31347 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

u crazy for this one, j

FullOfSounds
September 30th 2016


15764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh man this album is gonna be so good

FreddieDelaney31
September 30th 2016


4804 Comments


SO excited to check this, love the singles

Digging: Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want

jeremologyy
September 30th 2016


293 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

am i crazy? haha - i was surprised at how much i enjoyed it

Sinternet
September 30th 2016


17225 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

good score pos



will probably be posting a 5 review tomorrow

AsleepInTheBack
September 30th 2016


5868 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

so psyched to get into her music

Flugmorph
September 30th 2016


19113 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

im on a mission [2]

danielcardoso
September 30th 2016


11759 Comments


oh man this album is gonna be so good [2]

Flugmorph
September 30th 2016


19113 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

im feeling the aoty feelz

sncold
October 1st 2016


85 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This album is killer. I really hope it doesn't fly under everyone's radar. Bon Iver is distracting everybody!

neekafat
October 1st 2016


12488 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You mean I actually like somebody that everyone else on Sputnik likes too??

kascetcadettt
October 1st 2016


1602 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the trapper and the furrier is essential

Atari
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2016


23788 Comments


AOTY

Digging: Outer Heaven - Realms Of Eternal Decay

SowingSeason
Moderator
October 1st 2016


28118 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

If I thought Cheap Seats was a borderline classic would I love this or just sorta like it



I have not yet heard a song from this believe it or not

Digging: mewithoutYou - [Untitled]

Atari
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2016


23788 Comments


I'm sure you'd at least like it but it kinda depends what you think of her other albums as well. I loved cheap seats too when it came out, but now it's not even in my top 3 Regina Spektor albums. This album feels kinda like a blend of everything she's done though, so whether your favorite album is Soviet Kitsch or Cheap Seats, I think there's something for everyone to enjoy here. And I'm still convinced obsolete is easily in the top 5 songs she's ever written

wwf
October 1st 2016


6141 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

cheap seats isn't even top five to me



but still her sound hasn't changed much since begin to hope so you'll probably like it quite a bit



this is better than cheap seats in most ways imoimo

sncold
October 1st 2016


85 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This serously deserves more attention.



This has a lot better songwriting all over it than Cheap Seats did, and it's a lot less happy sounding which means it's the best type of Regina music!

elcrawfodor
October 1st 2016


1264 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Tornadoland" wrecks me. Honestly digging this over Bon Iver right now

ABjordanMM
October 2nd 2016


1709 Comments


"obsolete is easily in the top 5 songs she's ever written"

agreed

Digging: mewithoutYou - [Untitled]

calmrose
October 2nd 2016


3730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

just checked this out and it rules, really loving The Trapper and The Furrier, Tornadoland, and Sellers of Flowers



this was my first introduction to her and i'm excited to check out the rest of her discography

Digging: Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want



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