Sailor Song - Regina Spektor
she will kiss you till your lips bleed,
but she will not take her dress off,
1. REGINA SPEKTOR – “What We Saw from the Cheap Seats”
Given the high quality of output this year, “What We Saw from the Cheap Seats” may be seen by some as an anti-climactic pick for the best album of 2012. It only clocks in at 37 minutes and it finds Spektor continuing the work she has done on her previous albums. The thing is, here, she has perfected her craft. She brilliantly re-casts museums as prisons for timeless masterpieces on “All The Rowboats,” artfully compares politicians to strippers on “Ballad of a Politician,” breaks her listeners’ hearts on the break-up ballad, “How,” and ends with a brief Wes Anderson-soundtrack-ready, guitar-strummed reverie, “Jessica.” Spektor has a unique way of fusing words with melody. On “How,” when she sings to a soon-to-be ex, “You are a guest here, now,” the soul-crushing pain is felt. The idea of holding someone close and having that person ripped away suddenly and being reduced to a “guest” is painful for anyone who has ever experienced a broken heart. On “Ballad of a Politician,” when she suddenly raises her voice and powerfully declares, “I am not a number, not a name,” you are ready to follow her into a protest rally. At its core, “What We Saw from the Cheap Seats” is a deceptively straightforward singer-songwriter record. Upon repeated listens, if you are open to it, it will plant itself deep into your soul and beautifully haunt your dreams. Spektor has been attempting this kind of subtle masterpiece to some extent since her earliest self-released albums. Here, she has resoundingly achieved her goal.