To call Regina Spektor "quirky" is to do her a disservice. Spektor proves to be an artist that has evolved, even in a musical climate past her prime, in her sixth album, "What We Saw from the Cheap Seats." It focuses on the weight of maturity in a slanted light of bittersweet optimism and hopeless nostalgia.
Spektor gained mainstream attention for her pop hit, "Fidelity," and has been recognized as a success based on her listeners' tolerance for eccentric melodies and flowering ballads. Spektor accomplishes a darker stance in her latest album, tackling the trivialities of life in a warped manner with a combination of fake accents and insistent ballads. Starting with "Small Town Moon," Spektor reverts to her comforting piano-based ballad that is evenly balanced with her strong, hypnotic vocals and can evolve into a steady beat of "Everybody not so nice, nice."
"Oh Marcello" is surprisingly interesting as Spektor shifts between a glorified Italian accent and a justification of her character. "Don't ?Leave Me" pays tribute to the success of "Fidelity" calling on its gentle, smile-evoking nature that the anti-folk movement once respected. The album continues in a prolonged ballad with its leader, "Firewood," where Spektor combats mortal illness with sweet pleading because "Everyone knows you're going to live."
From a vocal standpoint, Spektor is at her strongest, with a rich sound that has improved tremendously since her 2009 album, "Far." The album ultimately proves that yet again, although slightly missing her own commentary in lyrics that seem to lose some of her original essence. This is seen in "Jessica," which really tries to be a sweet acoustic reminder of age but ends leaving you with a bitter aftertaste of dullness. "All the Rowboats" is haunting in nature and sound, as Spektor transforms museums into grotesque "public mausoleums/The living dead fill every room." "Open" calls forth the ?same bombarding emotion as "Hero," her centerpiece for the indie movie "(500) Days of Summer," creating an epic ballad of human worth highlighted by loud gasps for breath only the experimental Spektor could pull off.
The album proves Spektor to be the "pop" idol society should hold in a greater light. Spektor deserves praise for her unmatched musical attributes, other artists wouldn't dare try.
Spektor is a genuine musical artist, who writes her own music and lyrics and expresses her opinion through her music. Her fans value her not only for her music, but for her insight, a vocal point of music absent from most modern works.