NPR logo First Listen: Regina Spektor, 'Far'

First Listen: Regina Spektor, 'Far'

Audio for this feature is no longer available. The album was released on June 23, 2009.

Regina Spektor's Far feels simple on its surface, but the secrets and fun lie just underneath. hide caption

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Regina Spektor writes music just for me. Well, okay, maybe for you, too. But when I listen to her music, it sure seems as if she's singing in my ear and telling me stories filled with poetic twists and turns that are provocative, and that hang in my thoughts like a good melody.

No one laughs at God / When their airplane starts to uncontrollably shake / No one's laughing at God / When they see the one they love, hand in hand with someone else / And they hope that they're mistaken — "Laughing With"

Those are lines from Spektor's new record, Far, which uses four different producers in multiple locations. That sort of thing can make a record a mess, but that didn't happen with Far. Her work with Jeff Lynne (ELO, The Traveling Wilburys), David Kahne (Paul McCartney, The Strokes), Garret "Jacknife" Lee (R.E.M., Weezer) and Mike Elizondo (Dr. Dre, Eminem) is cohesive and sharp. And, though there are different production styles on the record, they never overwhelm the melodies or the delightful lilt and phrasing that makes a Regina Spektor song what it is. These are songs that can feel as much akin to Ella Fitzgerald as they do to Bjork, and as much akin to Paul McCartney as they do to Edith Piaf.

This is a record worth putting on repeat. Far feels simple on its surface, but the secrets and the fun lie just underneath. I'd love to hear your thoughts in our comments section below.