An excellent Regina Spektor track unfurls like a brief story with the boring components excised. Like “Chemo Limo,” “Samson,” and different iPod-era bangers, “Turning into All Alone” matches the invoice. It’s a wry ballad that imagines what it may be prefer to seize a beer with God, and its lonesome refrain has that Spektorian high quality of creating sincerity appear to be a superpower. Watching Spektor, alone on the piano, debut the track at a profit live performance again in 2014, I bear in mind feeling like I used to be being let in on a secret. Somebody uploaded an novice recording to YouTube, and followers handed it round like a treasure, questioning when she would possibly document the track.
Now, almost eight years later, that want has been granted. “Turning into All Alone” is the opening track on Spektor’s eighth album, Dwelling, earlier than and after. However the observe’s quiet vulnerability has been misplaced. The studio model is ornamented with huge, Technicolor strings and a beefy, “Torn”-adjacent drum loop that has the odd process of imposing a cool backbeat onto a observe that isn’t significantly funky in any respect. There’s a terrific track hiding there, however the association is so slick it makes “Constancy” sound like a demo.
I do know, I do know: Don’t get too connected to the early stay model. It’s an unstated rule of pop fandom. But the track’s evolution displays the guiding impulse on Spektor’s first album since 2016. Working remotely for the primary time, Spektor recorded her components in a transformed church in upstate New York, whereas John Congleton produced the document from California. The songs are amongst her most memorable because the Start to Hope/Far period, but there’s an occasional disconnect between the songwriting and the preparations, that are pitched in direction of bombastic, widescreen gestures.
Take “What Would possibly Have Been,” which begins as a whimsical recounting of contrasts (“Illness and flowers go collectively/Bombing and shelters go collectively”) earlier than swelling right into a windswept refrain caked in Broadway glitter. It sounds majestic, and definitely costly, however the manufacturing flattens the songwriter’s nervy eccentricities.
Spektor’s childlike whimsy remains to be intact—“Loveology” culminates along with her taking the guise of a schoolteacher, itemizing made-up phrases ending in “-ology”—nevertheless it’s set in opposition to a sure solemnity, a heaviness. The document is stuffed with cosmic ruminations; almost each tune builds to some grand, italicized proclamation about love or loss or dislocation: “Love is sufficient of a cause to keep” (“Coin”), “House is the place the gentle’s on!” (“By way of a Door”), and so forth. Weightiest of all is “Spacetime Fairytale,” a nine-minute epic that flits between grave orchestral brooding and playful piano interludes. Its ambition is staggering and its topic, the immensity of time, compelling, nevertheless it’s undermined by a gather-round-m’little one tone, replete with hokey rhymes like “The story should go on/So preserve listening, my son.”