Regina Spektor exemplifies not only her amazing skill playing the ivory keys, but also her adorably unique personality that has set her apart from other one-person acts with “Soviet Kitsch.”
Spektor’s music cannot be defined by a single genre, nor can one point out a solid narrative within her music. She literally changes her singing voice with every character portrayed in her songs.
Spektor writes her songs as if they were short stories. Though it may throw the listener off at first when she begins jumping from personality to personality a few times during the same song, you really grow to love her style after listening through “Soviet Kitsch” a few times.
The inspiration for Spektor’s unique coffee shop cabaret-style approach to classical music seems to have originated from her influences as a youth, spanning across the globe and the international and generational spectrum of music, which may have played a large role in forging a path in the modern music industry.
The Moscow-born artist’s influences as the daughter of a music teacher and a violinist are obvious in her piano-dominated arrangements.
Detail-packed songs of great intensity and passion reflect the singer’s life experiences, such as her family’s migration to the Bronx in 1989. Unfortunately, the Petrof piano given to Spektor by her grandfather would have to stay behind, as it was considered Soviet property.
From then on, she polished her skills primarily by fingering the notes on windowsills and tables, in effect truly living the early life of a rock star.
Now Spektor is finishing that tale, finding fans all over the world, primarily in the United States and Europe.
The music is powerful because it presents many different perspectives. It’s as if there’s an entirely different person behind every song.
And the moods change, as well. In “The Flowers,” the tone is very calm, while “Your Honor” on the other hand, is a full-out punk song.
“Chemo Limo” really touches the soul in a deep way. After quickly listening to this song once, I thought it was going to be a satirical tune about somebody choosing luxury and guilty pleasures over the necessary treatment to save her life.
That analysis could not have been further from the truth though. Once I listened more intently to the lyrics in “Chemo Limo,” I was crushed with an irrepressible sentiment and empathy for those who can never see the silver lining among life’s darkest clouds.
Hearing Spektor become such a heavily afflicted individual, intentionally detached from reality out of fear and pain, affected me on a level beyond that which I’m familiar. Cancer has not affected me, or any of the people close to me, and yet for a moment, Spektor made me feel all the emotions of a person not yet ready to leave this world behind.
The music that pulsates from Spektor is unlike anything in the world today. Listening to “Soviet Kitsch” was more than just entertainment: it was a perspective-altering experience.