Tasty TV Morsel: Regina Spektor on THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O’BRIEN

Isn't she lovely?
Isn't she lovely?

In case you haven’t heard, living in LA involves a lot of commuting. Everybody has different ways of coping with the driving. I tend to listen to music or “This American Life” podcasts. I also like to talk on the phone. (Don’t worry, those of you who are versed in California driving laws– I have a Bluetooth hands-free thingamagig.) Lately, I spend most of my driving-time singing along with Regina Spektor.

I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon Regina Spektor’s music, but I remember when: During the particularly melancholy winter/spring of my freshman year of college (so…approximately 2005), “Love Affair” and “The Flowers” were on a playlist that I would listen to on my iPod every night as I fell asleep.

After my sad spring passed and my iPod died, Regina went off my radar for a while. She came back into my life with a WOW when “Begin to Hope” came out in 2006. (PS ALWAYS buy the bonus tracks versions of her albums.) Then my computer died and took my iTunes with it (technology is really good at parting me from my favorite music), and once again Regina and I were on hiatus. (I have since rectified this problem and I’m listening to “Begin to Hope” AS I TYPE THIS.) (It’s coming from inside the computer!)

And now it’s 2009, and “Far” just came out, and I saw (500) DAYS OF SUMMER last night, which was rife with choice Regina songs. Special thumbs-up to the song “Hero” (500 DAYS… has a great soundtrack, but I didn’t love the movie… sorry!). The thing about most of her songs is that they start out sounding one way, and by the end they’ve progressed into something totally different (I don’t know the musical terms for all this, but I wish I did– I took music theory in high school, so I SHOULD know). And throughout, they’re LOVELY.

Right now I’m a little bit obsessed with “Dance Anthem of the 80’s,” which starts out really fun and pop-y (in a Regina way) and turns into something much more emotional. Actually, I’m obsessed with the whole album. A lot of the songs are infused with melancholy ideas and minor chords, which I guess hearkens back to Regina’s Russian roots. I grew up singing minor-chord songs in temple (you know, us Jews and our sadnesses), and I love sad music in general (my sister calls most of the music that I love “suicide music”), so I am all about her saddest songs. But there are also a lot catchy, fun songs.

Anyway… how am I supposed to describe music to you? This isn’t a music website! This is a website about TV and snacks, and I’m unfairly using a loophole to talk about music. What I really wanted to say was that Regina Spektor was on Conan O’Brien last night, and she was AMAZING and ADORABLE. I never realized how tiny she is! Her gray eyeshadow was really beautiful, and her eyes looked HUGE (in a good way). She was sitting at a GIANT piano (that’s the technical term)–seriously, it was at least ten feet long, maybe fifteen. Also, from one curly-haired person to another: Great hair!

Most notably, Regina is pint-sized. She looks like a Polly Pocket compared to Conan! (Which means she’s probably about my height, maybe taller.) (Polly Pocket was one of my favorite childhood toys.) I guess I was surprised because Regina comes off as such a big personality in so many of her songs. But as we all know (I hope) good things come in little packages.

I didn’t think I could love Regina any more, but I was wrong. I expect her to be soulful and edgy, and she was. What surprised me was the bubbly charm she emitted when Conan thanked her at the end. I have a feeling that she’s a really sweet person. (I don’t have any anecdotal evidence to support my theory. If you do, by all means chime in.) I recommend that you hit up the Hulu to see this performance. (And look up her music on the YouTubes or the iTunes. I’m not always a fan of her videos, but they’re artsy and unique– I can’t fault her for that.)

And also: Her lyrics are lyrical, as lyrics ought to be. Seriously, go listen to “Blue Lips,” or “Machine.” Any of them, really.

“It’s been a long time since before I’ve been touched/Now I’m getting touched all the time/And it’s only a matter of who/And it’s only a matter of when.”

(You know what’s been touching me? Your blog comments! Thanks, guys.) (Now I’m putting down this corndog.) (I don’t even eat corndogs!)

I really want to see Regina Spektor in concert. She was just here, and I knew about it but didn’t buy tickets, because I am dumb.

I’m sure I’ll be writing a similar post about Imogen Heap in August, when her new album is released and she (hopefully) hits the talk show circuit.


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