Regina Spektor, known for her amazing piano techniques and her narrative lyrics, returns to us with Remember Us to Life, which includes her classic, imaginative and whimsical songs, along with a few twists and turns. As a literary studies major and a general fan of literature, an artist who makes allusions to writers such as Atwood and Hemingway really pleases me.
The natural progression of her albums flows quite nicely. At the beginning of Spektor’s career, she released 11:11 as a 20-year-old college student, a similar position many of us are in. Back then, she sang about being confused and scared, akin to many college students. Now, married and with kids, Remember Us to Life remains uniquely a product of Spektor – still confused and scared about the complexities of adulthood. How relatable.
Spektor’s fifth album is energetic, but also incredibly thoughtful. Opening with “Bleeding Heart,” she utilizes a full-band sound rather than just her piano. Definitely eclectic and lyrically dynamic, the track honestly sounded like a pop song. Somehow, the album got even better, and more emotional.
In the past, Spektor explored woes regarding her own personal life. Now, she branches out and laments for society, particularly addressing corporate greed (“Grand Hotel”) and other societal ills (“The Trapper and the Furrier”). Her fear and confusion no longer solely revolves around her own, but around what she worries for the sake of humanity.
At times, Remember Us to Life can feel jarring. “Bleeding Heart” and “Small Bill$” stray from the traditional Regina Spektor-sound, not necessarily in a bad way, but definitely unorthodox. Transitions from her energetic piano tracks to her more pop tracks are almost non-existence and left me a bit frayed.
The final track “The Visit” serves as a perfect finale to the album, however, leaving the listeners on a bittersweet note. “Life is always raging/Beyond the walls and cages/Everybody changes/Til tomorrow’s yesterday,” Spektor sings, creating an aura of longing. As her final “La la la…” plays out album, I was left feeling complete.