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Regina Spektor Shows Her Range On ‘Bleeding Heart’

The singer melds a career’s worth of varied sounds on one track

Regina Spektor’s career has been fairly quiet over the last few years, save recording Orange Is the New Black theme “You’ve Got Time.” Her silence makes sense — in her time away, she married former Moldy Peaches guitarist Jack Dishel and had a child.

Spektor’s last album before the break, 2012’s What We Saw From the Cheap Seats, skewed more electronic and production-heavy than her previous work, a departure from both her early piano-focused songs (2006’s Begin to Hope) and her later orchestral-based songs (2009’s Far) that left an open question of where she’d go next after returning to the studio. Her recent single “Bleeding Heart,” released last month, suggests at first that her upcoming seventh album, Remember Us to Life (out September 30), will pick up where Cheap Seats left off. It seems like a fun summer song, maybe a bit repetitive and simplistic, with lyrics that are shallower than we know Spektor to be capable of: “When they see you around / You look down at the ground / But when they walk away / You wish they’d stay,” she sings.

By the time the four-minute song ends, however, “Bleeding Heart” has revealed itself as a witty marriage of all of the styles Spektor has previously mastered. She progresses from the song’s quirky pop beginning into a rapid, aggressive crescendo and then into a just-as-rapid decrescendo into her trademark croon. The ardent emotion that typifies her best work comes through in the way she reprises her best work — from the funky electronic sounds reminiscent of her 2012 version of “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)” to her soft falsetto as on 2006’s “Samson,” to a sense of fun that recalls her 2006 breakthrough “Fidelity” and flashes of the aggressive rawness heard on 2004’s “Your Honor.” In her newest effort, Spektor has finally united the style variations across her albums in one place, combining different tones effectively and seamlessly. “Bleeding Heart” suggests that her hiatus from performance over the past few years may have granted Spektor the ability to reflect over the expanse of her career, satisfying longtime fans and opening her creative possibilities.


VMAs 2017