What We Saw from the Cheap Seats Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 61 Ratings

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  • Summary: The sixth studio album for singer-songwriter Regina Spektor was produced with Mike Elizondo and includes songs she had until now, only sung live.
  • Record Label: Sire
  • Genre(s): Folk, Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Anti-Folk
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. May 24, 2012
    Her best effort yet.
  2. 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.
  3. 80
    It might be coming from the cheap seats, but for the most part, this is classy stuff.
  4. May 29, 2012
    Even tighter and more flamboyant than 2009's Far, [What We Saw From the Cheap Seats] may be her best.
  5. Jul 9, 2012
    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]
  6. May 31, 2012
    Unfortunately, What We Saw is heavy on overlong ballads, and when she adds that trademark whimsy to the mix, it's nearly unbearable.
  7. Oct 12, 2012
    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]

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 9
  2. Negative: 1 out of 9
  1. May 30, 2012
    Absolutely amazing album from one of the most talented and unique pop singers out there. She channels the quirkiness we all love brilliantly in this album, and if you're a new listener you may want to start somewhere else; however, for those already-established fans, this is the best thing Regina could have done for us. Not a bad song on the album. Expand
  2. May 29, 2012
    Regina Spektor is one of those artists hardly anyone likes at first. Like liquor. She's a lyrically puzzling, piano thumping storytelling with vocal arrangements as dramatic as a theater major... but also much like liquor, once you really get into the music, it becomes an uncontrollable addiction. What We Saw From the Cheap Seats is like a delicious fruity drink with deadly amounts of mixed vodkas and gins. It will knock you on your ass when you're done with it. It's definitely Spektor's most down-to-Earth, calm album yet, with productions quality at an all-time high, but her identity as a humbly strange anti-folk legend remains.

    Spektor seems to be more aware of herself and her talents on this album, using more accents ("Oh Marcello"), beat boxing ("All The Rowboats") and hand-and-feet instrumentation ("Small Town Moon") than seen on any of her previous albums. She even steps out from behind the piano to play the trumpet in "The Party," with only her mouth and no trumpet of course.

    Before the album is even halfway over she gives us one of her most beautifully depressing ballads in years with "Firewood," which rivals Begin to Hope track "Samson" both musically and vocally. A couple tracks later and again she ups the ante with "How," a song about heartbreak so jarring that it could make even Duffy or Adele seem as cheerful as Ke$ha. Still, Spektor isn't all about depressing hidden meanings and quirky, cutesy air instruments. She has, over the years, been uncovering a more pop side of herself that seems to shine on each album like "Folding Chair" from Far or "Better" from Begin to Hope. This album offers up "The Party" which compares a swain to a lively parade that leaves you messily frazzled and smiling. "Ballad of a Politician" is the most nostalgic record, reminiscent of tracks like "Chemo Limo" that chronicle corruption, a favorite topic of mine. It's hard to put Spektor is to one category or another. Her music bounces from between different genres and themes. She's an explorer. An acquired taste, yes, but she definitely knows exactly who she is and what she wants her music to sound like. Now that she has a bigger budget and production team behind her, moreso than her first 5 albums, she can bring that huge imagination out of her head and into our ears.
  3. May 29, 2012
    a fantastic display of everyone's favorite Regina that perfectly shows her skill from boppy strange pop songs to her classic instantly recognizable beautiful piano melody's! her voice floats from song to song making it an absolute delight to just sight there and try to take everything in ( which there is a lot of!). If you are a fan like me of Regina's work before then this is an absolute must have! Expand
  4. May 29, 2012
    Really 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. Expand
  5. May 31, 2012
    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 Expand
  6. Aug 19, 2012
    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 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 :(
  7. May 31, 2012
    You Come Out Being A Great Artist.. And Attempt 110% To Do Your Best..
    Sadly This Wasen't Anything Special For Me Regina Has A Amazing Voice
    But This Album Seemed Shallow And Bland...
    I Know What We Saw From The Cheap Seats.. Some Dreadful Music

See all 9 User Reviews