Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. May 29, 2012
    80
    What We Saw from the Cheap Seats succeeds more often than it frustrates.
  2. May 24, 2012
    70
    At times, Spektor can be too cutesy... More often though, her little idiosyncrasies are charming.
  3. Jun 7, 2012
    60
    At its most affecting What We Saw from the Cheap Seats is a sad and touching record, filled with love and the memory of .... Parts of [the album] feel either disposable or a revisiting of old ground.
  4. May 30, 2012
    50
    Most of the songs are so flat that the singer sounds constrained.
  5. 70
    What We Saw From The Cheap Seats could've been Spektor's magnum opus, but the flashes of brilliance here are enough to keep us hoping for her next release.
  6. May 25, 2012
    60
    Parts of ...Cheap Seats feel either disposable or a revisiting of old ground.
  7. 75
    Spektor still lets her theater-kid id run free, with affected accents ("Oh Marcello") and self-conscious heavy-breathing tricks ("Open").
  8. Many of these songs are merely bemused, and when she revises "I'm just a soul whose intentions are good," all she achieves is a different singalong from the one you expected.
  9. May 31, 2012
    72
    Much like Begin to Hope and Far, this record generally continues to juggle the same genres Spektor has inhabited up to this point.
  10. May 29, 2012
    75
    Beyond her playing, Spektor holds together the music on Cheap Seats with her singing, which even at its most intricately melodic (as in "Oh Marcello") retains an improvisatory feel.
  11. Jun 19, 2012
    90
    The songs on WWSFTC all hint at loss, limitation and aging, with Spektor's poetic sensibility and passionate singing giving the LP a wrenching sense of vulnerability. [No.88 p.59]
  12. Jul 18, 2012
    80
    Spektor delivers everything with such guileless brio that you never notice the join [between troubadour style to chrome-clean hip hop].
  13. May 24, 2012
    80
    She probably remains a bit of an acquired taste for some, but What We Saw From The Cheap Seats pulls off the impressive trick of stylistically bouncing about all over the place while retaining a very identifiable vision all of its own.
  14. 80
    It might be coming from the cheap seats, but for the most part, this is classy stuff.
  15. Jun 28, 2012
    60
    It's the near-painful purity she conveys in the high notes that surprises most, especially on the mellower tunes.
  16. May 31, 2012
    60
    Unfortunately, What We Saw is heavy on overlong ballads, and when she adds that trademark whimsy to the mix, it's nearly unbearable.
  17. May 30, 2012
    63
    Though it rarely makes good on the promise of her earlier songs, Cheap Seats is polarizing, and by now most listeners will have already decided whether or not they can stomach Spektor's peculiar kind of verite, glass-half-full optimism.
  18. Jul 2, 2012
    70
    [Cheap Seats] will please the masses by doing what she does best. That is, have fun, play games, and make beautiful music.
  19. Oct 12, 2012
    40
    The occasional glimmer of pop genius seen in the albums past is mostly absent, with plodding piano ballads in place instead. [Jul 2012, p.112]
  20. May 29, 2012
    70
    Even tighter and more flamboyant than 2009's Far, [What We Saw From the Cheap Seats] may be her best.
  21. May 29, 2012
    80
    At her best, Spektor tempers her theatrics with a deep-seated empathy. Beneath the yelps, gasps, and exaggerated accents, she's a romantic, and What We Saw is her most deeply felt, resonant work to date.
  22. May 24, 2012
    100
    Her best effort yet.
  23. May 29, 2012
    91
    There's not a weak track on the record, and there's something arresting in each song.
  24. May 24, 2012
    60
    In fine voice and piano, Spektor skips down the yellow-brick road, offering new diversions at every turn. Fun – but the whimsy can be exhausting.
  25. 60
    Here, the abrupt shifts between ballad placidity and animated angst underscore the theme of changing course.
  26. What We Saw..., then, is the usual Spektorish mixed bag of literate genius and "look at me" showboating.
  27. May 29, 2012
    60
    She's still a pop maverick worth cherishing, but you wish she'd tone down the quirkiness just a little.
  28. Jul 9, 2012
    60
    There is much here to be thankful for, but there is nothing as immediately thrilling as some of her past pop gems. [Jun 2012, p.150]
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 63 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 9
  2. Negative: 1 out of 9
  1. Aug 19, 2012
    5
    Don't get me wrong: I absolutely love Regina Spektor. She is an amazing artist who I found one day and who I have been obsessed with everDon't get me wrong: I absolutely love Regina Spektor. She is an amazing artist who I found one day and who I have been obsessed with ever since. I delved deeper into her older albums and found simply amazing music, pure and not clouded with unnecessary bells and whistles.

    I love the songs on this album, but they all seem like filler songs. Not to mention 3 or 4 of these songs have already been on youtube for years, they're just redone with special sound effects. I had been looking forward to this album for years and it just fell short. The lyrics do seem much more shallow than they were in Far, Soviet Kitsch, and ESPECIALLY Begin to Hope. Some of them just didn't seem like Spektor at all! How isn't original at all, something I would never expect from my favorite musician. I hope she makes another album, but I also hope it's more spektor-tastic! I still have so much ReSpekt for her though :) She's still amazing! The album just sadly fell short :(
    Full Review »
  2. May 29, 2012
    9
    Really interesting new album. A bit darker than last album. Great melodies, quirky voice that is totally infectious. Hard not to like herReally interesting new album. A bit darker than last album. Great melodies, quirky voice that is totally infectious. Hard not to like her after hearing several tracks. A real story teller. Full Review »
  3. May 31, 2012
    8
    Full review available at http://www.manikmusic.net/reviews/regina-spektor-what-we-saw-from-the-cheap-seats/#

    When you play a Regina Spektor
    Full review available at http://www.manikmusic.net/reviews/regina-spektor-what-we-saw-from-the-cheap-seats/#

    When you play a Regina Spektor album for the first time, you never really know what you are going to get, which is the appeal of this now-32-year-old singer-songwriter. Since her first major album, Soviet Kitsch, was released in 2004, Spektor has entertained listeners not only with her impressively broad vocals but with beatboxing, dolphin noises, mesmerizing French and Russian lyrics, and many other interesting stylistic choices. Her songs tell stories rather than list emotions (she told Rolling Stone in 2009 that â
    Full Review »