Begin To Hope - Regina Spektor

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Even in its darkest moments, a humane glow envelops the album, which takes her already-arresting sound and expands it to widescreen.
  2. If naysayers can't get past the sheen of spiced-up production, it's their loss.
  3. With a new album of expertly-crafted, touching, and refreshingly honest odes to life, Regina Spektor has grown without growing away from what makes her so special.
  4. She displays a range fans old and new will find intoxicating. [16 Jun 2006, p.75]
  5. Her vocal quirks can take some getting used to, but the oblique melodies and cosmic lyrics in songs such as "On the Radio" and "20 Years of Snow" demonstrate what a remarkable talent is mixed in with all the idiosyncrasies.
  6. 'Begin To Hope' is the sound of [Spektor] blossoming into the most talented female artist around--and one with edge. [8 Jul 2006, p.43]
  7. It's an easier listen than its wildly imaginative predecessor.
  8. 80
    Spektor has lept from black and white into joyous colour. [Aug 2006, p.88]
  9. 80
    Spektor's biggest-hearted, clearest-minded effort yet--achieved, thankfully, without sacrificing any of her wonderful weirdness. [Aug 2006, p.111]
  10. 80
    Tighter and freakier than her debut. [Jul 2006, p.102]
  11. The album feels like getting to really know someone: at first, it's polite and a little restrained, but then its real personality, with all of its charming idiosyncrasies, finally reveals itself.
  12. 80
    As addictive as ice-cream dots. [Jul 2006, p.88]
  13. Did we say "hard to resist?" Make that "impossible." [Aug 2006, p.224]
  14. Spektor's first major-label release sets her up as a serious rival for [Tori] Amos's queen-of-whimsy title.
  15. There's a fearless, uninhibited confidence to Spektor's voice, not to mention a delightful whimsy to her music, that sets her apart from artists like [Fiona] Apple.
  16. It's a consistently intelligent and daring record, yet remains enormously listenable.
  17. On the whole her performance throughout Begin to Hope exhibits new levels of control and direction, reaching a point where the song and the singing are inseparable.
  18. A little bit of kitsch is important... Begin to Hope has enough of it to stand out, and enough ethics to keep the whole thing grounded.
  19. Always ambitious, occasionally experimental, and sometimes even radio-friendly.
  20. If the elitist few who hold Regina almost too close to their bosom can get past the shiny fa├žade of the first few tracks, they'll find a whole new Regina to love.
  21. Less miserable than Fiona Apple, less wacky than Nellie McKay and less hippieish than Tori Amos, Spektor shows off her gorgeous, fluttery voice, her burgeoning writer chops and her God-given quirks on [Begin to Hope].
  22. As elegant as it is addictive. [Jun/Jul 2006, p.131]
  23. Begin to Hope has its highs and lows, but it is a journey worth taking.
  24. A complex yet controlled fourth album of astonishing beauty and perfect strangeness.
  25. The songs are pretty on first listening, and some of Ms. Spektor's straightforward love songs, like "Fidelity" and "Field Below," reveal a gorgeously unguarded yearning. But she doesn't hide her quirks elsewhere.
  26. The album's substance is obscured by the distracting presence of its production.
  27. The problems are not Spektor's songwriting or singing or playing... but they are equally underemphasized and poorly recorded. [#13, p.88]
  28. [She] remains comically kooky. [Aug 2006, p.116]
  29. As if the synthesized strings and electronic dabbling weren't sad enough, [Spektor's] ascerbic voice has been all but lost in squishy couplets about making things better and needing to "know you."
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 68 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 33
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 33
  3. Negative: 2 out of 33
  1. Jan 19, 2013
    A positive, bubbly, almost childish personality coupled with a great voice and spectacular song-writing skills make Regina Spektor one of the greatest musicians of our generation. Full Review »
  2. Jan 23, 2013
    Begin to Hope is easily Spektor's best album. In it she covers all that is classically influenced, using her own odd vocal techniques and oral sounds to make a completely abnormal, yet entrancing piece of music. Full Review »
  3. Oct 2, 2010
    The Mellow sounds of Regina Spektor are enough for anyone to instantaneously fall in love with, beware, once you've heard it you wouldn't dare listen to anything else from the same genre Full Review »