Regina Spektor: Twenty Years of Snow

Written by Annie Rosen

Mezzo-soprano

October 25, 2017

Singer-songwriter-pianist Regina Spektor is a force of nature. I am not cool enough to have heard of her before she was cool—I encountered her when I saw her music video for “Fidelity,” like everybody else. Remember that song where they were in a totally white room throwing colorful paint or Holi powder or something on each other? And she did that “hea-ah-ah-art” riff with all the glottals? Yeah, I liked that song.

So I bought the album it was on, and as much as I liked that song and the others like it, the song I fell most in love with (probably) is one of the most bizarre. She’s quoted discussing her songwriting as follows:

“It doesn’t feel natural for me to write some diary type song. I want to write a classic like Yesterday but weird songs about meatballs in refrigerators come into my head—I can’t help it.”

Like this one, for example. It’s just so strange! It starts off with this psychedelic keyboard patch (I think), then she kind of growls this line about some guy being a wounded animal who lives in a matchbox, and then goes on to talk about his daughter and gets into a grumpy riff about “navigators with their mappy maps and moldy heads,” which sounds like something my brain would think when it’s irritated and confused by something, like the character in the song is. What is it about? A girl raised by her crazy dad in the woods for twenty years, who goes to the big city and is overwhelmed by everything? Or is that just what I think it’s about?

Maybe it’s not about anything. But I love it unconditionally. Also, Regina Spektor is a great pianist.

He’s a wounded animal
He lives in a matchbox
He’s a wounded animal
And he’s been coming around here

He’s a dying breed

His daughter is twenty years of snow falling
She’s twenty years of strangers looking into each other’s eyes
She’s twenty years of clean
She never truly hated anyone or anything

She’s a dying breed

She says I’d prefer the moss
I’d prefer the mouth
A baby of the swamps
A baby of the south
I’m twenty years of clean
And I never truly hated anyone or anything

But I got to get me out of here
This place is full of dirty old men
And the navigators with their mappy maps
And moldy heads and pissing on sugar cubes

While you stare at your boots
And the words float out like holograms
They say, feel the waltz, feel the waltz
Come on, baby, baby, now feel the waltz

Annie Rosen

Annie Rosen, a mezzo-soprano of “bright promise” (Chicago Tribune), is a 2017 graduate of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center Ensembleof the Lyric Opera of Chicago; her performance in the Ensemble’s 2017 showcase was recognized as “the evening’s tour-de-force” by the Chicago Tribune.  Annie returns to NYFOS in Take Care of This House on Nov 5 in Washington DC and Nov 7 in NYC.

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