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4.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully, Feb. 25 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Begin to Hope (Audio CD)
In her previous three albums, Regina Spektor specialized in quirky anti-folk. Piano, odd melodies and poetic lyrics.

But Spektor tries a new sound in her long-awaited fourth album, "Begin to Hope." Instead of anti-folk, her music here is more polished and poppier... or perhaps it's anti-pop. Either way, while this album has its middling moments, most of the songs are still Regina Spektor at her best.

It kicks off with the oddball "Fidelity," a trilling little song with the piano edged in synth. Spektor doesn't fare quite as well in the second one, which sounds too generic for her talents -- guitar pop with only a dash of piano, and only a few of her vocal flourishes.

But then the album changes, as if Spektor feels she's done enough "typical" pop. Instead she switches to the soft-edged piano melody of "Samson" ("You are my sweetest downfall"), followed by a strong string of songs that stick to her strengths: piano anti-folk (or anti-pop), and songs that don't sound like anything "On the Radio."

Instead she leans on soft piano ballads, silky piano folk and jagged little rock songs. Songs like "Edit" and "20 Years of Snow" are pure Spektor, with the cascading piano melody and the quirky singing, while "That Time" is a strange, mocking little rocker about reading Shakespeare and burying bits of a cat's body. The finale is a quiet, meditative song about loneliness in the city, and missing the one you love. For anyone who misses a lover, this will be a heart-tugger.

And the special edition has a bonus EP, perhaps for fans who adore her quirkier side. There are the bittersweet piano ballads like "Another Town" ("my soul feels so old!"), the bittersweet "Baobabs" and "Dusseldorf." And then there is quirk supreme: "Uhmerica," which has her uttering an explosive grunt through the chorus, and the kinetic weirdness of "Music Box."

Yes, the cry is that Spektor has gone commercial -- there's more guitar on this album, and little washes of synth. But the heart of her music has always been the piano, odd melodies and unusual singing -- and though this is a bit more polished than her prior work, the brilliance is still there.

And remember, the music is what we came here to hear. Once you get past the lackluster second song, Spektor's piano music is back -- she can do it slow and soft, or fast and jagged. And she's backed by some solid enough drums that get to go wild in "Hotel Song." And what about the synth? It bobbles along in the background... and actually enhances the piano.

Spektor's offbeat voice is just as versatile as her piano -- she sounds sweet in the ballads, quirky in the faster songs. She rattles off the strangely written songs ("the words float out like holograms") as she sings of loneliness, love and eating tangerines. "Be afraid of the cold/They'll inherit your blood/Apres moi, le deluge/After me comes the flood..." she croons.

Regina Spektor had a lot to live up to after the brilliance of "Soviet Kitsch," and for the most part she does. A bittersweet gem of anti-folk... and anti-pop.
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4.0 out of 5 stars After her comes the flood, Feb. 22 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Begin to Hope (Audio CD)
In her previous three albums, Regina Spektor specialized in quirky anti-folk. Piano, odd melodies and poetic lyrics.

But Spektor tries a new sound in her long-awaited fourth album, "Begin to Hope." Instead of anti-folk, her music here is more polished and poppier... or perhaps it's anti-pop. Either way, while this album has its middling moments, most of the songs are still Regina Spektor at her best.

It kicks off with the oddball "Fidelity," a trilling little song with the piano edged in synth. Spektor doesn't fare quite as well in the second one, which sounds too generic for her talents -- guitar pop with only a dash of piano, and only a few of her vocal flourishes.

But then the album changes, as if Spektor feels she's done enough "typical" pop. Instead she switches to the soft-edged piano melody of "Samson" ("You are my sweetest downfall"), followed by a strong string of songs that stick to her strengths: piano anti-folk (or anti-pop), and songs that don't sound like anything "On the Radio."

Instead she leans on soft piano ballads, silky piano folk and jagged little rock songs. Songs like "Edit" and "20 Years of Snow" are pure Spektor, with the cascading piano melody and the quirky singing, while "That Time" is a strange, mocking little rocker about reading Shakespeare and burying bits of a cat's body. The finale is a quiet, meditative song about loneliness in the city, and missing the one you love. For anyone who misses a lover, this will be a heart-tugger.

And the special edition has a bonus EP, perhaps for fans who adore her quirkier side. There are the bittersweet piano ballads like "Another Town" ("my soul feels so old!"), the bittersweet "Baobabs" and "Dusseldorf." And then there is quirk supreme: "Uhmerica," which has her uttering an explosive grunt through the chorus, and the kinetic weirdness of "Music Box."

Yes, the cry is that Spektor has gone commercial -- there's more guitar on this album, and little washes of synth. But the heart of her music has always been the piano, odd melodies and unusual singing -- and though this is a bit more polished than her prior work, the brilliance is still there.

And remember, the music is what we came here to hear. Once you get past the lackluster second song, Spektor's piano music is back -- she can do it slow and soft, or fast and jagged. And she's backed by some solid enough drums that get to go wild in "Hotel Song." And what about the synth? It bobbles along in the background... and actually enhances the piano.

Spektor's offbeat voice is just as versatile as her piano -- she sounds sweet in the ballads, quirky in the faster songs. She rattles off the strangely written songs ("the words float out like holograms") as she sings of loneliness, love and eating tangerines. "Be afraid of the cold/They'll inherit your blood/Apres moi, le deluge/After me comes the flood..." she croons.

Regina Spektor had a lot to live up to after the brilliance of "Soviet Kitsch," and for the most part she does. A bittersweet gem of anti-folk... and anti-pop.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Distinctive., Jan. 29 2008
This review is from: Begin to Hope (Audio CD)
Russian-born Regina Spektor is a truly refreshing voice in the world of female singer-songwriterdom.
She's often been compared with Tori Amos, but really, her sound is entirely her own, mixing a wide variety of musical influences and flavors - everything from jazz and classical (she's a classically-trained pianist) to traditional Russian and Jewish music.
Her voice is distinctive and unique, as are her lyrics and songwriting: unconventional song structures and vocal techniques abound, making this CD both involving and rewarding.
Spektor might be something of an acquired taste for some, but believe me, it's a taste worth acquiring.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Great New Voice, May 20 2008
By 
Peter Cantelon (Morden, Manitoba, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Begin to Hope (Audio CD)
Such a powerfully creative talent in Regina Spektor! This album contains some very memorable and imaginative songs.

Spektor's song writing abilities remind one of Leonard Cohen and her playful voice has similarities to Yael Naim. Despite these similarities Spektor is a talent unto her own, unique in style and content.

Songs on this album worth listening to on a regular basis include Samson, Fidelity, Apres Moi, Hotel Song and Summer in the City (although they are all good).

It is rare to find such a complete album in terms of quality and listenability. Highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant., Sept. 12 2006
This review is from: Begin to Hope (Audio CD)
This record is an amazing set of enchanting songwriting manifested into warm, pleasant pop music. And to top it off, her voice is one of the best I know. Every track is beautifully produced and sounds clean, crisp, and natural. The piano playing is stellar, and again, her voice is simply astounding. To me, this record deserves 5 stars. It drew me in immediately when I heard it for the first time, and still gives me goosebumps every time, even having heard it a couple dozen times now. Definitely pick this one up.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Unique!, Feb. 2 2009
By 
Amy VG (Southern Ontario) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Begin to Hope (Audio CD)
What an amazing voice! And a unique songwriter! Regina Spektor is kind of folksy, but in a funky pop sort of way. Some of her songs are a bit odd...but definitely fun. I absolutely love the first track called Fidelity. Second track Better is lovely. Same with the third track Samson. And I just love the forth track On The Radio. Highly recommend if you like lovely jazz/folk style music!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it: you won't be disapointed!!, Sept. 26 2009
By 
Lydz "Lydz" (Quebec, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Begin to Hope (Audio CD)
I discover this artist this year 2009, and I fall for her. she has an amazing voice and nice rythmic. I bought other cd's of Regina... cause she is JUST WONDERFULL!!!
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Begin to Hope (2lp) by Regina Spektor (LP Record - 2009)
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