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on May 29, 2012
Regina Spektor's last album, 2009's Far, found the singer-songwriter at her most accessible. This move seemed to put off long-time fans; Spektor's appeal before finding her way to VH1 was her offkilter songwriting. With WHAT WE SAW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS, Spektor has returned to the fun, strange songwriting that initially brought her into the spotlight. This album was produced by Mike Elizondo (who also worked on FAR): perhaps most well known for taking Fiona Apple's EXTRAORDINARY MACHINE and giving it a streamlined and focused spin.

WHAT WE SAW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS is hard to predict. Not only do songs range in tempo, tone, and mood from one song to the next, these shifts can happen mid-song (notably in the album opener "Small Town Moon.") Listeners can, however, expect the impulse-driven piano pop that mixes blends of genre, nonsense, and convention. The changes in style never feel like Spektor is aping a genre or playing the chameleon; instead, it feels as if Spektor's imagination is running wild in the studio. The result is an interesting, fun album.

The opening "Small Town Moon" begins as a conventional piano pop song, but it soon gives way to typical Spektor mannerisms (starts, stops, repetition, etc...) before ultimately opening up into a stomping chant of "Everybody not so nice, nice." It's hard to really describe it, but it's great fun to experience. "Oh Marcello" is similar in its unpredictability, ranging from wild falsettos to beatboxing from Spektor. This is followed by "Don't Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)," a song that incorporates hints of tropical music with horns and a Russian chorus. Not all of the songs on the album are quite so wild; "Firewood" is a simple, soulful song composed Spektor's piano and a drumset -- it makes for one of the most inspired passes of Spektor's lyricism. The only real problem I have with CHEAP SEATS is that it feels scattershot. Some of the songs feel less developed than others (compare "All the Rowboats" to "Ballad of a Politician," for example). While the album gets a strong start, the Beatles-esque closer, "Jessica" doesn't quite feel like a good way to wrap up the album.

Recommended sampling: "Small Town Moon," "All the Rowboats," and "Oh Marcello". Fans of Fiona Apple and Feist will probably find a lot to like here. If you like any of Spektor's previous releases, this album is worth you time and money.

ADDITIONAL RELEASE INFO: A deluxe edition of WHAT WE SAW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS was released. If contains three songs that didn't make it onto the album. These songs are: Call Them Brothers (feat. Only Son),Old Jacket (Stariy Pidjak), and The Prayer Of François Villon (Molitva). These songs are good, but "Call Them Brothers" rises above the rest and is definitely worth seeking out. The other two are covers of Russian songs; they feature Spektor alone with her piano.
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on June 28, 2016
I've been blessed to be able to listen to Regina Spektor for about a decade now. I really got into her music the past 5 years. This album is great from start to finish. I think she is one of the most underrated artists of all time! And definitely one of my favorites, if not my most favorite female artist I've ever had the pleasure of listening to.

This album has everything you need from an album. Happy songs, sad, nostalgic, love, regret, pain, gratefulness, success, defeat. It will take you on an emotional journey and though it may not be for everyone, I think EVERYONE should respect her talent. This album is life all rolled up in one, with a little bit of Beatles influence!

How can you go wrong with that?
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on January 17, 2013
I love Regina Spektor's music. I have probably everything she's published... I love how she plays with her voice, treating it as various musical instruments. I absolutely love her voice and piano! Fantastic lyrics of the songs. The way she paints images and feelings is so beautiful. Her music not only reaches into the deepest parts of your soul but it takes you on a journey through the Universe(s). Truly multidimensional! It transforms the 'ordinary' into something new and wonderful. It expands!

My favorite is 'How' ~ what a beautiful description of the feelings after a break-up, without judgment or blame... pure appreciation from the neutral place of real love. Simply AMAZING! I must be on the way to the Guinness Book at numbers of listen to one song. LOL. I absolutely love 'Firewood' ("Love what you have and you'll have more love..."). Thank You!

The whole album is amazing, actually. From more than cute 'Small Town Moon' through funny 'Oh Marcello' (where Regina plays with her voice so cool ~ from an Italian accent to her voice-drums), playful and vibrant 'Don't Leave Me (Me Ne Quitte Pas), fantastic 'All The Rowboats' (which makes me think of Chagall for some reason), unlike anything else 'Ballad of A Politician', etc., to a simple & tender 'Jessica'. The whole album is another triumph of originality. I am so happy to see that Regina Spektor stays loyal to herself. BRAVO! Thank you for another masterpiece, Ms. Spektor!
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on November 23, 2012
Some of the songs on here are the kind of thing that's deep and thoughtful and just experimental enough that you don't put it on a playlist but are still glad you heard it ("Open"). Some are a little too slow for me, which I realize is personal taste ("Jessica"). But others are pure magic. I love "Ne Me Quitte Pas," which is fun and perky and full of beautiful imagery, like an an animated tapestry, if that makes any sense...vivid and colorful (animated) and full of detail (like a tableau on a tapestry). "All the Rowboats" is an amazing song about art, very unusual and deep, and I've forced many people to listen to it (and they've liked it). "Ballad of a Politician" is also one of my favorites. It takes the cliche of politicians as ladies of the night and makes it fresh and real. After the recent election cycle, I have to say, every word is truth! I'm glad I got the album, and many of the songs on it will be on my playlists for a long time to come.
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on September 2, 2013
When I first got this album, I was disappointed. I loved "Far" and "Begin to Hope," and this definitely isn't as great. Of course, every album can't be perfect. While it grew on me a little the more I listened to it, it has its hits and misses. "Small Town Moon," "Firewood," and "How" are my favorite tracks. I felt that "Don't Leave Me" and "Oh Marcello" were real flops. Spektor has a unique style that may be off-putting to those who have not heard her previous work. She does include some harsher songs in this album. They certainly have a purpose and story, but require one to be in the mood to listen to them. It's hard to rate this album, since there are about five songs on the album that I'm never in the mood to listen to, but the rest I do enjoy on varying levels. I would recommend getting this if you like her previous work. If you're new to Regina Spektor, I would recommend starting with "Begin to Hope."
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on April 3, 2017
not my favorite album of hers
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on August 2, 2017
item arrived as advertised and in good time. thanks.
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on May 8, 2017
The music is fun and quirky, her voice is amazing, definitely out of the same pop music you hear on the radio everyday.
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on December 31, 2012
Nowadays it seems like music sounds too refined, there's just not enough emotion which is what makes great music great. Most of the music I hear on the radio sounds like the same song over and over. That might be good enough for the casual listener, but not for me. I crave sustenance with my music and with Regina Spektor you get it! She has a unique sound and a beautiful voice. Her earlier music is mostly just her and her piano, which is fantastic, but now she seems to be taking it to the next level. She is including more instruments and even other singers. Some people don't like the change, but I for one love it!
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on July 7, 2012
I am always excited yet nervous everytime a favorite artist of mine (in which i love every one of their albums) comes out with a new album. Because, as in the past, they always end up so weird and different or worse, more 'pop' like. I am happy to say that this album did NOT disappoint! There was just a couple songs that i haven't really got on board with, but the rest are all great. Absolute favorite song: "How", so sad and so sweet!!
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