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'.
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”.
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.
on 10 September 2014
I bought this for my husband as he really liked Regina's voice on the Orange is the New Black theme tune and I chose this album because of the good reviews. Ironically, we both found that this album has too much voice and not enough accompaniment. Some of the lyrics are very repetitive and we had to switch off the CD after flicking between tracks to try to find less annoying music. Sorry Spektor fans but this really wasn't for us.
on 10 August 2006
As has already been said Regina Spektor's lyrics and music are original, fresh and unpredictable - but it manages to be all of these things whilst still being accessible and easy to listen to.
The album isn't life changing; but its a refreshing change of direction from the other cd's in my collection and I'm sure it will be for you too.
on 10 August 2004
Soviet Kitsch by Regina Spektor is the best thing I have heard this year so far. ( August 2004 )
And there has been quite a few very good records so far in all diiferent genres; Devendra Banhart's, Franz Ferdinand, Scisor Sisters, Dogs Die in Hot Cars, the Concretes and so many more; it seems that there's a lot of quality these days in Indie, Pop, Punk..( you name it );
Regina's album has a stronger appeal to me, it's a perfect blend of quality songwriting, an unusual voice full of emotions; ( we all have different views on who does she sounds like so basically means like no-one... or everyone; i'm not ruling out the Bjork comparisons... but I think it's more related to the intensity and sensitivity delivered when she sings ) and I really do hope that her musical journey will continue for a while!
I can only compare this album to Adam Green's Friends of Mine; (...) you know from the first or second time listening that you will enjoy this album for years to come; they don't sound the same at all... Can't make any sense of why and how i could compare them? There's no point.. I just want to say that I find both of them more than brilliant;
Yet it is very much down to personal taste anyway.. but that's what matters the most for these sort of things;
Now, i'm looking forward to see her live; according to the other reviewers it sounds brilliant... But even from listening to the album get the idea;
If you like proper original songs; look no further, buy it with your eyes closed and enjoy every bit of it; again. and again again...
on 23 August 2005
I've had this cd for a few months now, and had just assumed this was her debut album. It's fantastic, but I'm not sure about the Bjork comparisons, I'd say she sounds like PJ Harvey would if you forced her to use a piano. Carbon Monoxide is the best track here, it's an incredible song. If you like this and want to try something similar, perhaps a bit lighter and jazzier, I'd recommend Hanne Hukkelberg's 'Little Things', another recent album that's unlikely to get the recognition it deserves.
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!
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.
on 11 April 2009
Whilst her quirky, observational lyrics and generally fun attitude to her songs already set her apart from 99% of chart music today, the icing on the cake as far as Regina Spektor is concerned is that, underneath all this, the girl has talent by the bucketload! Consequently, Soviet Kitsch, itself an incredibly funky title for an album, can be enjoyed on so many levels.
As she has shown before on 11:11, and more recently Begin To Hope, Regina can sing at almost operatic levels before dropping right down the scale seemingly effortlessly. This might sound a bit too much like a classical or jazz singer, but because of the individualism and style clearly portrayed here, it makes the album far more accessible than that.
I think however that this is my favourite of Regina's albums simply because it has that individual, low-budget feel (there is barely any music at all on some tracks), meaning her voice and meaning behind the lyrics are clear, but doesn't sound too commericialised, as in my opinion Begin To Hope is in danger of doing.