It marks Spektor’s first return since the release of slow-burning “Begin to Hope” – not slow-building in its likeability, but in sales. The album stayed on The Billboard 200 chart for a good, long time and has since gone on to move enough to make the album go gold. Her songs have since appeared in TV shows and commercials, from JCPenney to “Grey’s Anatomy.”
“Far” was divvied up amongst three producers, all with a different touch: Mike Elizondo (Dr Dre, Eminem), Jeff Lynne (Tom Petty, George Harrison, Traveling Wilburys) and Garrett “Jackknife” Lee (R.E.M., Weezer). However, as evident by “Laughing With,” this New Yorker (by way of Russia) isn’t straying too far from her quirky pop-folk roots. She accompanied on piano, with lyrics front and center.
While Spektor’s previous efforts can be a bit precious at times, “Laughing With” is a sincere, poignant song on one of the oldest topics in history: God. She coyly attacks a dismissive, post-modern approach to an entity that many pray to “in a hospital… in a war… when’s gotten real late and their kids haven’t gotten home from that party yet… when they’re saying their goodbyes.”
“But God can be funny/at a cocktail party when listening to a good God-themed joke… when told he’ll give you money if you just pray the right way,” she adds in the chorus, which wobbles around like a rickety mine car. Spektor proves herself a savant of diction and delivery, with words that would otherwise sound awkward trickling from her mouth at the perfect pace.
The video itself toys with the concepts of perception and illusion, crafting many fine metaphors for the song’s central theme. What do you think she’s saying?
Spektor plays a one-off tonight at New York’s Beacon Theatre and will be back in mid-September for a few tour dates.