As December rapidly approaches I've been mulling over the idea of doing a list. You know the kind. One of those best albums of '06 or best songs of the year. Why should I mull you wonder? The thing is everybody and their mother does a list. I'm not entirely sure that I could bring anything new to the table, thus, I will probably abstain. If lists are your thing though, just pick up any magazine's December or January issue or check any blogsite around the same time and you're sure to be placated.
Off the top of my head If I were to offer my favourite albums of the year I'm sure Regina Spektor's Begin To Hope would be there. Released this past summer, most notable is the maturation from 2004's Soviet Kitsch. While her previous efforts fell in line with the quirky stylings of anti-folk, Begin To Hope contains a more polished Spektor. As the title hints, we also see a more optimistic side of her songwriting.
I first came across Ms. Spektor when The Strokes took her along for their Room on Fire tour in 2003. Although complications prevented her from performing that night, she was soon on the tips of many a music fans tongue. She also traded vocals with head stroke Julian Casablancas on the b-side of the "Reptilia" single, "Modern Girls & Old Fashioned Men."
Since then it's been an upward trajectory. Trained classically at piano, you find yourself falling in love with the awkward chamber pop of her earlier albums, or the heir to the piano poet crown of her latest. Sincerity is what keeps you around and listening.
Regina Spektor & Julian Casablancas - Modern Girls & Old Fashioned Men
Regina Spektor - Poor Little Rich Boy (From Soviet Kitsch)
Regina Spektor - Us (Ibid)
Regina Spektor - Fidelity (from Begin To Hope)
Regina Spektor - Apres Moi (Ibid)
Update: Over at The Late Greats Regina is getting some love. Lots of links to some great live Spektor sessions so check it out. I am also in love with this video. It really accents the song and brings it on home. See it here, fall in love.