Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Regina Spektor Locks Down A Single

There has always been something both fresh and forbidding about Regina Spektor, the Moscow-born singer-songwriter-pianist-guitarist who is unafraid to explore the full range of her unorthodox vocal talents. Falling somewhere between alternative pop, anti-folk, and whatever happens to strike her, it is nearly impossible not to get caught up in her unexpected, impassioned, and eclectic music.

With her newest album set to be released this spring by Sire (possibly May), it's great to hear one of her most lyrically powerful songs will not only be making the cut, but also leading off as the single to introduce it.

All The Rowboats is a classic Spektor.

All The Rowboats isn't new. Spektor has played it countless times during live performances but never took the time to add it to her discography.

It might have been written before her breakthrough in 2004 with Soviet Kitsch (or earlier), but it's hard to say. Spektor has dozens of songs that she performs but never writes down. But this one being set to a studio album is especially poignant because much like the masterpieces she sings about, music sometimes becomes a prisoner until the time it is finally produced.

They keep trying to row away. And the captain's worried faces stay contorted and staring at the waves. They'll keep hanging, in their gold frames for forever, forever and a day. All the rowboats, in the oil paintings. They keep trying to row away, row away.

Ironically, she said that she had forgotten all about the song until she came across one of her older live performances of it on YouTube. It conveys the image of a nightmarish museum, with paintings that have become prisoners of their own beauty and passion — locked away and helpless after closing time.

When she performed it recently at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, at a benefit for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, she added a disclaimer, saying how much she loves museums. But regardless of her feelings, All The Rowboats beautifully applies emotion to art, conjuring up images of figures, settings, and scenes that are frozen in time and perhaps lonely after hours.

The new studio single with a full instrumental backing is even stronger than the beat-box fills compared to one of the oldest postings of the songs. But we thought it would be fun to include a live fan clip above, which also shows how personable and real her live performances can be. Here is the studio version.

The single has certainly caught some well-deserved attention in advance of the album, What We Saw From The Cheap Seats. The album also marks a reuniting with producer Mike Elizondo (Eminem, Fiona Apple), who reportedly helped flesh out the instrumental to make each song stand out sonically.

That fact isn't a foreshadow to an overworked production. On the contrary, like many of her albums, Spektor recorded most songs live in front of the piano. Only the accompanying instrumentation was added later. If this is an indication of things to come, expect ten more tense and emotional tracks ahead.

All The Rowboats By Regina Spektor Locks Down 9.5 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

Spektor is also a first-rate performer in that she is diverse enough to tour with just about anyone. This time around, she will be going with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as a special guest. The eclectic mix of towns includes Broomfield, Colorado; Little Rock, Arkansas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Wichita, Kansas; and Alpharetta, Georgia, in April.

All The Rowboats by Regina Spektor is available on iTunes. You can find her last album, Far, on Amazon (best song, Laughing With). If you need some help finding her on Facebook, you can follow this link too.
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