Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Regina Spektor: Home, Before and After [Sire, 2022]
"My mind is full of melodies/They search for homes inside of me," and although rhythm players are credited along with the strings and occasional fancy-pants brass that swell up quietly here and there, the dominant instrument on Spektor's first album since 2016 is her classically trained piano, which even so plays second fiddle to her sweet, modest, precise voice as crafted song follows crafted song and thoughtful lyric enriches thoughtful lyric. At 42 she's not getting any happier, her humanity touched with the kind of disquiet sure to make biographical fallacy fans nervous. So I guess I'm relieved to report that the finale brings her back to a home where the light is always on. And I also note that the standout "One Man's Prayer" sketches a guy who's timid till a gal shores up his confidence and what happens next is not pretty. I dare any male to cover it. A-