website_header_art_march_2017.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Please support the music you love with your new or renewing membership donation today!
Arts and Culture News

A Star Turn Spawns 'Samson'

As a fiercely independent and idiosyncratic singer/songwriter who plays the piano, Regina Spektor draws easy comparisons to Tori Amos. But her work feels less remote and more versatile, thanks in large part to a singular songwriting voice that spans genres and personas with grace and apparent ease.

Her first album recorded for widespread distribution -- its three predecessors were self-released, though the marvelous Soviet Kitsch received a high-profile reissue last year -- the new Begin to Hope finds the Russian-born performer in the midst of a full-blown star turn. On "Samson," the album's most elegantly lovely song, Spektor uses the story of Samson as a jumping-off point for a poignant rumination on disappointment, aging and obsolescence.

For all its thematic ambition and Biblical allusions, "Samson" functions best as a subtle character sketch, but it also makes a grand showcase for Spektor's knockout arrangement. When a wave of minor-key synths rolls in during the sweetly melancholy chorus -- just as she hits the words, "Your hair was long when we first met" -- the resulting sound is moving to a degree that's practically paralyzing.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.