Regina Spektor – Home, before and after (2022) [FLAC 24bit/48kHz]

Regina Spektor – Home, before and after (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 47:20 minutes | 524 MB | Genre: Indie Pop
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Sire

The album is Spektor at her most inspired and opens with single ‘Becoming All Alone’, a surrealist ballad with a majestically swelling arrangement that comes alive. The album possesses her most palpable New York atmosphere in years, which is fitting as it was recorded in upstate New York, where it was produced by John Congleton and co-produced by Spektor.

Listening to Regina Spektor’s music is like having a one-on-one conversation with someone who not only knows her own mind but is constantly reexamining her feelings while connecting with larger overarching truths through the smallest, most intimate details of everyday life. Six years have passed since Spektor’s last album, and given that she was also pregnant while recording this new one, it was almost a sure thing that her pandemic album was going to be a powerful ringer. Even measured against her previous catalog of uniformly appealing, inventive albums, Home, before and after is bursting with creative energies. Opening with alternating notes on piano, “Loveology” is Spektor at her playful, melodic best. The same holds true for the rhythmic echo pop of “SugarMan” where she coos the wonderful second couplet: “I’m not your doll/ I’m not your pet/ But I’m not my own/ Ever since we met.” The Bronx, New York-raised Spektor salutes her hometown in the album’s first single, “Becoming All Alone,” which settles into an engaging mid-tempo groove, swinging between unadorned piano and voice and sweeping string/horn/synth orchestrations with backing vocals from her husband Jack Dishel. The urgent “Up the Mountain” gallops along over undulating strings, slowing near the middle, before revealing the key verse: “On the mountain there’s a forest/ In the forest there’s a garden/ In the garden there’s a flower/ In the flower there’s a nectar/ In the nectar there’s an answer /In that answer there’s another.” Three lines in “Raindrops” sum up her powers of observation: “Round each corner there’s a chance/ People searching glance to glance/ Moving about real fast like insects and fish when they’re scared.” It’s clear that Spektor’s songwriting has been super-charged in the years since her last record, nowhere more evident than in the 8-minute plus mini-symphony-opera-performance piece, “Spacetime Fairytale.” Backed by a lush, momentous orchestral arrangement from Jherek Bischoff, Spektor plays piano and sings that while there’s no such thing as time “This world began outside of time/ Some days it’s yours, some days it’s mine/ Some days it’s cruel, some days it’s kind/ It just can’t stay the same.” Before a percussive tap dance interlude by Caleb Teicher, she returns to a more intimate reflection on time, “My mind is full of melodies/ They search for homes inside of me/ Like begging, pleading refugees/ But I can’t find the time.” Producer John Congleton, who is making a specialty of working with talented female singer-songwriters (Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, St. Vincent), adds structure, tempos and a weighty synth presence to everything. He also functions as the band playing bass, synths, keyboards, drums, percussion, and drum programming. With Congleton and Ariel Shafir engineering, the album has a spacious feel while retaining Spektor’s sonic signature of a close-miked voice. String and horn arrangements, played by FAME’S Skopje Studio Orchestra, are handled by the hugely talented Bischoff, who has written commissions for Kronos Quartet as well as original compositions for film, TV, and the stage. Distinct and original, carefully groomed and sonically precise, Home, before and after is Regina Spektor at the very top of her game. – Robert Baird

01. Regina Spektor – Becoming All Alone (04:18)
02. Regina Spektor – Up the Mountain (04:40)
03. Regina Spektor – One Man’s Prayer (04:05)
04. Regina Spektor – Raindrops (03:09)
05. Regina Spektor – SugarMan (04:35)
06. Regina Spektor – What Might’ve Been (02:44)
07. Regina Spektor – Spacetime Fairytale (08:47)
08. Regina Spektor – Coin (05:23)
09. Regina Spektor – Loveology (05:16)
10. Regina Spektor – Through a Door (04:19)


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