Regina Spektor “Remember Us to Life” Review

The first few bars of the quirky, nostalgic anti-folk icon’s latest opus mark a pop-oriented deviation from the emotional carnival realized in previous albums. Hardly an unwelcome shift, the inclusion of digital blips and surging synths in the opening track “Bleeding Heart” lends a large-scale feel to this incarnation of Spektor’s sound. Mainly, however, “Remember Us to Life” comes brimming with the jaunty piano leads and highly theatrical song structures the Russian-American singer-songwriter has led listeners to expect. Not to mention darkly charming quotables like “Enjoy your youth/sounds like a threat” on “Older and Taller”.

Illustrator: Jaye Jungmin Ahn

Illustrator: Jaye Jungmin Ahn

Violins and upright bass elevate the drama of the stories Spektor weaves, which are often allegorical in nature, while precise applications of reverb on her vocals make narrations distant and ethereal. In contrast to the wryly melancholy lounge singer aesthetic she’s cultivated in the past, the versatile-voiced daughter of the East Village plays sincerer on this record, as time’s passage takes with it some—but certainly not all—of the wit and whimsy that was once a staple of Spektor’s style.

“Small Bill$” is another song from the album that would have seemed out of place on any other, potentially influenced by artists like FKA Twigs, Sia, and Kacy Hill. However, Spektor’s lyrics, ripe with metaphor and insight, are what keep her personal brand most consistent. With punctuated restraint, she sings, “He had spent it all on chocolate and vanilla/he had spent it on ‘didn’t even feel it’.” Perfect for drinking wine alone and staring out a window while taking stock of your remaining years and purpose, “Remember Us to Life” is just the touch of sensitivity this crazy world needs right now.