Regina Spektor, "What We Saw from the Cheap Seats" (Sire/Warner)
From the opening moment of "What We Saw from the Cheap Seats," Regina Spektor enchants. On the first song, "Small Town Moon," her beautiful vocal range is buoyed by rock-heavy interludes and coupled with uplifting lyrics that give the song a surprising amount of depth.
But there are a couple of missteps that momentarily detract from the album, on which she mines emotional territory covering love, loss and more.
"Oh Marcello" mixes beat-boxing and piano rather uncomfortably as Spektor borrows a line from "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," made famous Nina Simone; it's interesting but it doesn't really work. She regains her stride with "Don't Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)," where she shows she can sing as beautifully in French as in English.
The only weird moment is on "Open," where the listener is subjected to a noise that sounds like Spektor being strangled; it's odd and offputting, and misplaced here.
CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: "Firewood" is a piano-based, love-soaked ballad where Regina really shows her strength, pulling at the heartstrings.