With Regina Spektor’s new UK tour dates going on sale today, we decided it was the perfect time to create a playlist to get you in the mood.
Spektor first burst onto the scene in the early noughties, and since then has brought her American anti-folk sound to the masses via seven studio albums and countless live appearances. Her return to the UK this summer comes following her sold-out run last November. In anticipation, we’ve gathered some of her best tracks into a perfectly formed playlist so you can get better acquainted with the Russian-born star.
On The Radio
Not to be confused with the Donna Summer disco anthem of the same name, Spektor’s On The Radio is a lilting ballad about childhood innocence and figuring out what life is all about – and all that encompasses: anger, carelessness, carefreeness, confusion. Plus, it’s a bit of a love letter to Guns N’ Roses’ November Rain – what’s not to love?
“If I kiss you where it’s sore, will you feel better, better, better?” Who doesn’t love that sentiment and still clings to the idea that a bit of affection from a loved one can do wonders for the soul? Of course, as with all of Spektor’s lyrics, the idea is subverted here; does it really help? And how can we truly help each other to feel better, happier and more rounded in our lives?
This is an utterly joyful song about someone opening their heart up for love, despite being heartbroken. Falling in love hurts, OK? Deal with it. Also, Spektor’s voice on this record are just gorgeous, and the way she plays vocal gymnastics during the “just to break my fall” bridge is just something else.
You’ve Got Time
Mostly known as the theme song to Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, this is an up-tempo bullet of a song, full of dirty rifts, licks and flicks. It’s unexpectedly sexy. Lyrically, it’s about enjoying the moment you’re in and understanding that life is long and arduous – and that there’s still time to get things right.
Strange name for a track this, but when you consider “eet” is the backspace on a typewriter, it starts to make sense in the context of the record. Rather than erasing, eet pushes the page back a letter, allowing the author to write over what they’ve previously written, and this song is about exactly that: starting over, making amends, trying again. Musically, it’s stunning, with the beat almost mimicking the sound of keys being rhythmically bashed on a word processor.
Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Broadway smash hit Hamilton has transcended the musical theatre domain, thanks, in part, to the release of The Hamilton Mixtape: an album featuring assorted songs from the show performed by various artists. Spektor’s version of the wonderful Dear Theodosia (alongside Ben Folds) is magic, and almost, almost, tops the original…
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Another cover, this version of The Beatles’ classic is taken from Oscar-nominated animated movie Kubo and the Two Strings. Musically, it displaces the original rhythms with a distinctly more Eastern vibe, where wind pipes, ouds and Taiko sounds evoke the spirit of ancient Japan. The relaxed reworking suits Spektor’s soft vocals, and it’s a stunning cover.
You can’t really talk about Regina Spektor without mentioning this monster hit. Probably her best known work, Us is a stunning ballad which, even a decade later, still gives us goose-bumps. Goodness knows what she’s singing about – lyrical interpretations range from biblical prophecies to the perception of America (Us really meaning U.S.), to, of course, lost love – but when it sounds this good, who cares? It’s just perfect.
Regina Spektor returns to the UK from July. Tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.