One More Time With Feeling


With feeling indeed. I was thunderstruck the first time I heard Regina Spektor; I remember thinking I hand’t heard piano pop so perfect since the 70’s. And mind you, piano pop usually doesn’t impress me very much. (You know there’s hardly anything worse than a bad piano ballad.) Spektor’s chosen niche is kind of a crowded one; singer-songwriters with pianos are as common as city pigeons and generally about as exciting. I do, of course, have a soft spot for Spektor because of her background, but it’s not entirely empty solidarity. I think her soulfulness is very Russian, and her romanticism. But then so is her lack of cheap self-aggrandizing. Russians never whine about their feelings; it’s trashy and a sign of weakness. Excessive over-sharing, relentless emotionalism, and corny sentimentality are the worst things singer-songwriter types tend to lean towards, and Spektor doesn’t do any of those things. Confessional songwriting has its place, but very few people do it well, and a smart songwriter knows you don’t need to parade  out all of your own intimate details in order to convey feelings that others can understand.

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