IT’S BEEN FOUR YEARS.
Backstory: my friends and I are crazy about Regina Spektor. We’d probably die on a battlefield for her. That’s because her songs are so quirky, fun, yet expressive at the same time. Within her opaque lyrics — which can just be plain weird — there is something so comprehensible and emotional. She’s just perfect for a group of misfit teen girls who like to fool around on the living room piano and belt about broken hearts. Not to say that her songs fit the pandering pop genre at all — if anything, Spektor writes honestly and deeply.
Though several of her oldies are essential — “Us,” “Samson,” “Fidelity” — I appreciate her newer songs from What We Saw from the Cheap Seats the most. That came out in 2012, and we’ve been waiting for new jams ever since. Now a new album, Remember Us to Life, is en route to September 30th, announced with the release of this single “Bleeding Heart.”
For me, I know a song is good if my head keeps running through the tune and I’m itching to replay it — even (especially) if I don’t technically “like” it. That exact nagging feeling has dragged me back to unfamiliar genres and sounds that I initially turned my nose up to, and now love. And it’s my main reaction to this song: to be honest, the chorus isn’t great, and I don’t really get it. The transitions between parts are rather sudden. But what keeps me coming is the lead-up to the chorus and the very end of the song.
How long must I wait?
‘Till you learn that it’s not too late
How long must I cry?
‘Till you know that you really tried
How long must I try?
‘Till you learn that dreaming’s hard
How long must I dream?
‘Till you heal your bleeding heart
Never mind your bleeding heart
Like, what does it mean??? What does any of it mean? Maybe years from now, on the casual umpteenth listen, the meaning will finally strike me (to be fair, I never knew that “Jessica” was about death until my friend shouted it at me). But that’s also kind of the beauty of Regina Spektor’s songs. They don’t really make sense — they’re that personal — yet the emotion and feeling still comes through. A trademark of all her material.
Another compelling aspect is the mixture of acoustic piano — a Regina Spektor staple — with synth and many other new sounds. That’s a step to the future for Regina! This seems to indicate that the upcoming album will be more like What We Saw from the Cheap Seats than her older, raw stuff. I, personally, am always a slut for cool synth noises, so this excites me. But for the sake of more traditional fans, I still feel glimmers of her raw stuff, especially in the bizarre bridge. It is still Definitely Regina.
You should never trust the first single from an album, anyway. I haven’t been alive for long, but I can say that “Midnight” by Coldplay does not sound like anything else on Ghost Stories, and neither does Lana del Rey’s “Honeymoon” for the rest of that album. I think first singles are supposed to be an important clue to the mood of an album, but not necessarily for its general sound. If that makes sense?
Give it a listen and let me know your thoughts! And if you’ve never heard Regina Spektor’s music before, definitely give her a try and let me know, too!