The first time I went to a concert, I almost didn’t.
The friend I was going to go with canceled on me the week of the concert. The replacement friend I was going to go with canceled on me the day of the concert. I didn’t want to go alone–I was 16 and the concert was in Milwaukee–but I desperately wanted to go to the concert. So I called my brother, Matt.
He drove the two hours home from college to pick me up in Stoughton, and then drove the two hours to Milwaukee. He also paid for dinner. We went to Noodles and Company, and we both got the spicy spaghetti and meatballs (when they still had that) and lime coke. He let me control the aux cord the entire drive.
He’s kind of awesome.
The concert we went to was Regina Spektor. If you don’t know who she is, I’m sorry. During the concert, the forty-something woman directly behind my brother screamed “sing Samson” continually, so, lest anyone sit behind you and start screaming, here’s “Samson.”
When Spektor was just a kid, she immigrated from the Soviet Union to the United States with her family. She had started taking classical piano lessons in Moscow, but they had to leave the piano behind.
She found another teacher and another piano in New York City, where her family settled, and became the musician she is today.
And what, you might ask, is that musician like?
Spektor is a storyteller. Each song is a glimpse into a different moment. “Wallet” is a perfect example of that, as is “Music Box.” She’s soft spoken–when she first spoke at the concert, my jaw dropped–but when she sings, she’s incredibly powerful. Her piano playing is powerful, too. Apparently, she plays so loud, she sometimes gets into arguments with her piano tuners.
Still, she’s more than that, too. She transcends genres, and makes her own distinct footprint in music. She has a simple formula, her voice and her piano, maybe some light percussion, but that simple formula has produced eight beautifully unique albums. Even when she’s angry and swearing, like she is in “Sailor Song,” her music sounds so good that I got away playing it in my dad’s car. (It was the first song that swore that I dared to listen to out loud with him.)
Regina Spektor was the soundtrack to my adolescence. I grew up listening to her, I grew up treasuring her. I know I’m biased in this.
So, I asked some of my twitter followers what their favorite Regina Spektor songs were (because if you know who she is, you have a favorite song).
Kyle Marks said “Us.” Olivia Verdick said “Samson.” Tonya Olson Ferrell claimed “Fidelity,” and Khiah Levan said “Small Town Moon.” A couple of my friends from camp, Laura Jossund and Jennifer Johnson, threw in “Laughing With,” and “Eet.”
Warning: “Laughing With” might make you cry.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that Regina Spektor is a goddess among musicians. She’s so crazy talented, and she deserves all the attention and adoration she receives. She’s worked her entire life to get where she is, and just the unadulterated, pure talent she has is awe-inducing.
If you haven’t listened to her, you should. And honestly, start with any song, they’re all so incredibly amazing.
If, after reading this, you need to mainline some Regina Spektor, have no fear! I’ve compiled a Spotify playlist of all her music.