There’s something about Regina Spektor that I can never quite put my finger on. Hers is a voice that could stop me completely dead whenever or wherever I hear it. Could be a grocery store, a restaurant, or even just listening on my iPod but she always commands my full attention. And yet I feel like for as much as I know and love her songs, I don’t know much about her as a person. I don’t see her lighting up the cover of Glamour magazine or talking to US Weekly about her favorite hair products. In some ways, I like this about her. In others I don’t.
It seems to me that whenever life is getting difficult to deal with, I always get “saved” in the form of a good song or musician. There’s always a song that knows exactly what I’m going through and for a moment, for a couple of minutes, I can listen to it and feel the world I’m in slip away from me. ‘Human of the Year’ was a track on Regina’s Far album that I used to skip over to get to ‘Dance Anthems of the ’80s’ but for whatever reason a couple of weeks ago I put it on and listened to it once through. Then I put it on repeat and repeat and repeat some more. A funny thing happened. Somewhere along the 2:30 point, the tempo changed, the piano keys got stronger, and Regina’s voice got higher but stayed steady all at once. And then it breaks off into her whisper singing “hallelujah” after that tremendous forty seconds and it is all I can do not to cry. In fact, I didn’t even try to keep the tears away. They just poured down my face and I had to clap my hand to my mouth to be as quiet as possible so my roommates didn’t hear me weeping over a song. I wouldn’t be ashamed. It’s just been a very long time since I last cried over music and for that moment in my life when everything was changing it was the perfect accompaniment.
When I listen to Regina, both new and old albums of hers, I experience every emotion in the human emotional range you can think of. I smile to myself and laugh quietly. I take whatever upset I have and let it fall away with her voice like something I might have dreamed of once come to life. I try to analyze the lyrics and get confused. I get very philosophical, sometimes in that unnerving way that post-college students can get when they think they’ve figured out the world if they’ve done well or feel already lost even though they aren’t but really they don’t realize that all they had was just dumb luck guiding them along life. And also philosophical in a future tense, where I think about work and life and how none of it matters but then it does and it feels important to a point and that point is usually the moment that you quit caring.
Sometimes I get hungry too when I listen to Regina. Food hungry. ‘Eet’ is my ultimate dinner party song that I hope to play in the future when I have my very own apartment in a city like San Francisco or London. I have an entire fantasy sequence mapped out around ‘Eet’. Her songs do that to you. They make you see some sort of invisible future for yourself as well as a visible past and present. There’s just so much feeling packed in every chord, every note and every word. She keeps me sane, even when I’m just fine. And even though I do have many female artists I hold dear to my heart, Regina is in a category of her own.
And I’m happy to have her there. I’ll always keep her as close as possible.