Regina Spektor – Begin to Hope
Regina Spektor comes from the New York City antifolk scene, that curious bisection of painfully earnest singer-songwriting and hipster cool. After an unexpected tidal wave of popularity with her eponymous debut album, this—her major label debut—is a weird and kind of cool ground between the ethereal weirdness of Kate Bush and the put-you-to-sleep laziness of, I don’t know, Paula Cole? The opening track (and first single), “Fidelity,” is a soft, dreamy orchestral sample that’s trip-hop and electronica-ish and catchy as hell. There’s a definite line that Spektor could step over and cross into boring-girl-soft-rock territory, but, for the most part, she manages to sidestep it. After all, she puts lines like “I went to a protest/just to rub against strangers” together with “Summer in the city means/cleavage cleavage cleavage,” and starts singing in French and then falls into Russian. She’s tricky and playful and, as an indie-folk secret, Regina Spektor totally held it together without being trite. Will the big time kill her? So far, it hasn’t—and here’s hoping it won’t.