By Al Kaufman
Regina Spektor is a poet. As such, she has license to be nonsensical and downright weird if she so desires. She can talk about making a "computer out of macaroni pieces," or boldly state that "blue is the most human color." But she can also utilize beautiful metaphor. When she says, "It's like forgetting the words to your favorite song," like she does on "Eet," she creates an extremely relatable line. But Spektor continues to delve into the subject deeper and deeper, making it feel more and more personal.
Far is Spektor's third major label release, and with each one she has become more and more commercial, but only in the best of ways. Her piano melodies have grown less harsh. They still playfully skip and dance and occasionally swirl into a tornado, but never lead to so much cacophony. Her voice still hiccups at times, such as the opening to the otherwise incredible "Dance Anthem of the 80's," in which she intones "You-u-u-u-u-u are-r-r-r-r-r-r-r so swee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-t." But the techno beat and story of meat markets perfectly encapsulates the '80s.
"Machine," in which she expounds both personally and objectively on modern technology, resembles Kate Bush at her finest. But it is "Folding Chair" that really stands out. A jaunty little summertime tune, the narrator asks a man to pull his folding chair next to hers, and quickly moves on to why they should buy a Silver Bullet motor home together and how the impending father can then graffiti up their child's toys. It is Spektor at her incomprehensible best.
There are still moments on here when Spektor falls into psycho-babble. Finding a stranger's wallet ("Wallet") does not lead most people into deep life contemplation, but otherwise Spektor keeps her platitudes and emotional crises to a minimum, letting the listener rejoice to her swirling melodies, gorgeous voice, and poetic lines.