Regina Spektor – What We Saw From the Cheap Seats (review)

Regina Spektor – What We Saw From the Cheap Seats (Sire /WEA) review by J Hamrick

After three years, fans were thrilled to see a new album from Regina Spektor out May 29, called What We Saw From the Cheap Seats.  With a combination of new songs and a few old, the release debuted at three on the Billboard Album chart. Despite her classical training and sometimes odd vocal “drum” or other beat sounds, Spektor’s whimsical storytelling is just as accessible and refreshing as it was on her self-releases in the early 2000s. With the piano mimicking the rise and fall of waves, “All the Rowboats” is a perfect example of the type of narrative the 32-year-old creates. “All the rowboats in the oil paintings / they keep trying to row away / row away . . . And the captains’ worried faces / stay contorted and staring at the waves.”

Despite her knack for writing her own songs, Spektor also takes time to pay tribute to a poet and musician from Russia (where she was born). Bulat Okudzhava’s “The Prayer of Francois Villon” is shared to a new audience – who may not be familiar with the French poet Villon or Okudzhava who puts this story into song-form. Translation can be found at:

A little over a month into sales, sadly most of Spektor’s U.S tour was completed before the release of What We Saw From the Cheap Seats. On the other side of the Atlantic, the musician is currently touring. A list of dates and locations can be found at: