Regina Spektor: Far
I was apprehensive about buying this album because of the hefty pr-order price tag, and because sometimes Regina Spektor sounds too much like a Top 40 to make a very good first impression. Sure, I LOVED Begin to Hope, but it took me awhile and a lot of listens.
Far is a well-crafted album. Every song is perfectly balanced, subtly beautiful, and with enough whimsy to stand alone. The thing I really admired about Begin to Hope was that each track had a strong (and different) sense of identity. That isn't really the case on Far. It will take me a few listens to decide how important this actually is, but so far my initial impression is that this album is a more coherent whole than its predecessor. Considerations of gestalt aside, though, Far is also a great deal more narratological, creating characters in a Will Sheff-ian way, rather than serving as bold declarations of self-identity in the way that a lot of Regina Spektor's earlier work did. We have thus far discovered who she is--now she is showing us the worlds she can create.
Buy it here.