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4.5 out of 5 stars
42
4.5 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 8 April 2010
The first album I ever got by Regina Spektor was Begin to Hope, which was lovely and quirky. Then Far came out and it was more mainstream but still amazing and unique.
This one is before Begin to Hope and slides that way on the quirkiness scale. It is not mainstream at all and is totally Regina. I find it hard saying who she sounds like because there is no one. Perhaps if you like Laura Marling, or The Dresden Dolls, or Patti Smith, or Dory Previn, you may like her, as I do.

This album is more... rough and uncut than her latest one. It experiments with her voice and keeps you listening for the next strange encounter. I really recommend this for someone wanting to try something new, but warning, it's not for everyone.
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on 8 July 2009
I'd heard her name mentioned on the radio, but not heard any of her songs. Looking through all the other reviews of this CD I decided to give it try. I wasn't disappointed.

For the benefit of others I'll try to say who she reminds me of - REM (imaginative lyrics) Joni Mithchell (beautiful piano playing)and Sandy Denny (check out the opening of "Somedays").

But then again she's like none of those! You can't pigeonhole her.

If you want to expand your musical horizons far beyond the stuff that gets played on the radio, buy this CD and listen to it with an open mind. I think you'll like it.
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on 19 July 2017
fine
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on 30 June 2006
I bought this album after being bowled over by the single 'Us'. At first I thought it was a bit of a let-down as the other tracks (apart from one) are much quieter and don't have the same 'wow' factor. But listening to it more I became quite addicted to it. She has a wonderful voice and the songs go off in unexpected directions. Also lots of lovely piano.

You couldn't really say she is like anyone else (which is a good thing) but to me she has elements of Bjork and Joni Mitchell - strange combination. My favourite tracks are - 'ode to divorce' ,'flowers', 'us' and 'somedays'.
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on 15 January 2006
If you like your vocals fresh and alluring, your lyrics unusual and slightly twisted and your singers the splitting image of Snow White then Regina Spektor is for you. She’s thrilled us before with 11:11 and Songs and her latest album of original material is no let down. It tells tales of life and romance and looks at things from every angle. Never missing a beat and never too predictable this album is the perfect soundtrack for anyone who’s tired of all things mainstream hasn’t forgot the meaning of “unique”.
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on 11 July 2004
I have heard most of the songs on this CD (tho not yet released here in UK) and I want to urge people to discover Ms Spektor for themselves. Completely fresh, original, kooky, haunting, funny. How to describe her? Hm. Mix a bit of Bjork, plenty of Berlin-Paris chanson, sprinkle with Eels faux-naif piano songs, lightly slice some Tom Waitts, chuck in a dollop of Kim Deal attitude - and ensure there is not a drop of Alanis Morisette.
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Singer-songwriters are a dime a dozen. And even among the good ones, it takes something special to stand out.

And Regina Spektor stands far above your typical singer/musician, with her quirky antifolk and her eccentric songwriting. In her third album, "Soviet Kitsch," Spektor does it all her own way, as if there had never been music before, and she's just inventing her own styles.

Unlike a lot of albums, it doesn't start off with the catchiest song. Instead, it's the melancholy violin and piano of "Ode to Divorce," with Spektor singing meditatively, "So break me to small parts/Let go in small doses/But spare some for spare parts/You might make a dollar..." She sounds like the indie cousin of Fiona Apple in such songs, as well as in the cancer-themed "Chemo Limo."

But it doesn't stay bittersweet all the time. She dabbles in punk rock in the colourful "Your Honour," commiserates with a literate "poor little rich boy" who doesn't love his mom or his girlfriend, and finishes with a quiet little song about love, loneliness and sorrow. The highlight of it all is "Us," a fast-paced, rippling piano tune that is just catchy enough to catch your notice, but not enough to be annoying or poppy.

Listening to Regina Spektor is a bit like listening to a kaleidoscope -- every time you hear her, her music sounds a little different. That's not something that can be said of many artists, and it only underscores the oddball, quirky sound. You definitely won't be able to forget this, once you've got "Us" stuck in your head.

Spektor is often compared to Tori Amos and Fiona Apple, for her use of piano and some violins. Honestly, she sounds too weird to be either. But she puts that piano and those violins to good use, creating everything from jagged folksongs to shimmering ballads. The piano tinkles along unpredictably, in a manner that simply follows the song, rather than the other way around.

And Spektor's singing is even better, since she uses her voice the same way she does her music. She even changes tempo in mid-line: "You don't love your giiiirlfriend/And you think... that you should... but shethinksthatshe'sfat/Butsheisn'tbutyoudon'tloveheranyway!" She does little jabbers, snarls, trills and squawks, as well as the more typical soaring and crooning.

Regina Spektor's "Soviet Kitsch" breaks all the pop rules, and makes beautiful little songs that are as alluring as they are disturbing. It's contagious!
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on 24 September 2007
Upon my first listen, I found this album musically simplistic and somewhat plain, but as I listened to it again and again, I realised that this trait was, in fact, one of Spektor's charms. The album is quirky, quaint and wonderful.
Her lyrics are dark, honest and meaningful - one track that showcases Spektor's lyrical talent is "Chemo Limo", a melancholy yet uplifting track about a single mother of four with cancer (and is, for the record, one of my personal favourites). The lyrics are just fantastic.
The piano accompaniment has a simple, almost child-like charm (particularly prominent on the track "Ghost of Corporate future") that takes on a variety of styles, from sassy ("Mary Anne"), to melancholic ("Carbon Monoxide"), to uplifting (the well known track "Us"), to playful ("Poor little rich boy"), to nationalistic ("The Flowers"). Her Russian influences are prominent in the latter track.
And of course, her vocal work is great. Very quirky and individual. Some Bjork-like influences are heard in a few tracks, but Regina has a very unique style that seems to fit in with her kooky lyrics and piano accompaniment perfectly.
This album covers a lot of different styles in a relatively short space of time, yet it doesn't sound incoherent or "wrong" - but in fact comes across as a satisfying, distinctive, completed work of ART (if I can be bold enough to say so). This was one of the album's strengths against her most recent album "Begin to Hope" - the production here is somewhat minimal, which gives "Soviet Kitsch" a raw, distinctive sound that is very likeable.
In conclusion, this album is GORGEOUS. My only complaint about this album was the rather insipid track "***" where a child whispers about its anticipation for the next track. I didn't like this. However, it's a flaw small enough to give a 5-star rating anyway. I just skip that track when I'm listening.
Long live Regina!
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on 6 June 2007
It's funny to think I really didn't really like this album when I first heard it. I'd only bought it because it was in a special offer and I'd liked the cover. Not sure what I was expecting on that first listen. But it wasn't what sounded like Phoebe from Friends playing endless variations of her smelly cat song. Oh dear! Luckily, the album proved to be something of a grower. And even on that first listen, I couldn't deny that Regina had a pretty remarkable talent for tinkling piano and singing. I just wasn't sure about the songs. I kept with it though, and almost despite myself liked it a bit more with every listen. There's more depth and variation to the album the more you listen.

The album's not perfect though, not for me at least. The whispery intro where the child pleads for the next song to be played is far to cutesy-pie. And sometimes the vocal twitterings, odd pauses and accentuations at unlikely points stall me even now. The best tracks are definitely the ones where Regina doesn't let her vocal virtuosity get the better of her. That said, I'm glad I bought it. It offers something a bit different from all my other cds, which is always a good thing. Best not to play it when the lads are round though...
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on 27 May 2007
There's not much I can say that other reviews haven't already mentioned, but I'd just like to add my praise for this wonderful album. After being bowled over by 'Us' which a friend played for me, I decided to buy Soviet Kitsch. On first listen I liked it but didn't quite 'get' it. However, after several more listens it suddenly dawned on me the genius of it. Regina Spektor combines incredible musical talent with an unusual voice and quirky lyrics into a near-perfect creation.

The album opens with 'Ode to Divorce'- exemplary of her unusual choices of subject- an earnest and emotional reflection on separation and loneliness. The dreamy piano and heart-beat sound effects quickly give way to the sharp rhythm-tapping, almost satirical 'Poor Little Rich Boy'. Bright melodies with dark lyrics continue into 'Carbon Monoxide', and turn flowing and minor in the stunning Russian-inspired 'Flowers'.

The hit single 'Us' marks the half-way point of this album but by no means does this soaring, uplifting masterpiece climax or overshadow what comes after- no, then we get the joyful outbursts of 'Sailor Song', and the mischievious intro to and punk-rock style of 'Your Honour'.

Just when you think this album couldn't get more eclectic, Spektor drops in a delightfully strange little song 'Ghost of Corporate Future', which although seemingly frivolous actually makes a very poignant social statement on modern society.

I was moved to tears by the beautifully observed 'Chemo Limo'- without a doubt one of the standout moments of the album. It follows the story of a (single?) mother living with cancer, but Spektor refuses to make even this melancholy subject devastating. Instead she employs determined lyrics with the sweetness of a mother's pride in her children that would strike a chord in the heart of the hardest listener.

Finally she sweeps in with the devastatingly emotional 'Somedays'- a breathtaking finale to an album which by now has built up optimism and hope, yet struck home the message of how fragile life really is.

My advice is, if you buy this album listen very carefully. There is a message here somewhere, and I am convinced that everyone can find a song that seems to relate directly to them.
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