Regina Spektor – “Genius Next Door”.

Hey guys! 🙂

Recently I’ve shared with you Obsolete by Regina Spektor, and I thought I’d share one more song by her, one that I really like musically and that I think has quite interesting lyrics, which, just like with Obsolete and I believe most of Regina’s songs, can be interpreted in many ways.

The way I understand it is, that it’s more symbolic than literal. I think the lake is some kind of serious life problem that people are experiencing and deal with it in different ways. Some – the neighbours – sweep it under the carpet and prefer to pretend that it doesn’t exist or at least it’s very much a taboo thing. Others – the kids – take it very lightly, make fun of it and don’t really care even if the problem gets worse, because of some fun aspect to it that they can see, so maybe this problem is drugs or something like that. – And then we have the genius, who I think represents anyone who is intelligent but also quite sensitive, who seeks some meaning in life but all he does is “wipingclean the ketchup bottle labels” instead. He actually wants to confront the problem head on and I guess also be somehow acknowledged for doing so, but overestimates his capabilities and ends up drowning under the weight of it because he can’t cope – commits suicide in the “lake”, I think. Perhaps he’s somehow too immature for that or something hence the “foolish child”? But has some feeling of fulfillment before he actually dies – the “orgasm”. Or maybe he actually doesn’t confront it but simply uses it as some sort of counter-weight to his dull and uninspiring life, which would make even more sense if we’re indeed talking about drugs or some other addictions.

I could be totally off with that, but since I don’t think we know officially what the song was meant to be about, I don’t really care, and I’ve seen both similar and different interpretations of it.

What do YOU think it is about?

Regina Spektor – “Obsolete”.

Hey people! 🙂

Even though I don’t listen to Regina Spektor’s music very regularly, I like a lot of her songs, or simply find them interesting. I like her approach to music. It’s also thanks to her that I learned years ago about the existence of such a music genre as antifolk, and, later on, that I really liked it. I was quite amused by the name anti-folk, as well as the fact that, being a huge folk enthusiast, I also like a lot of anti-folk, although I don’t think that you have to either like one or the other.

I don’t think I need to introduce this artist, since she’s very successful and famous. I first came into contact with her music via Polish Radio Programme 3, and later on Last.fm recommended it to me, back in the day when I used it. For those whom her name doesn’t say anything, I’ll just say that she is a singer-songwriter who was born in the Soviet Union and emigrated to the US at the age of 9. She is classically trained in piano, which instrument she uses extensively in her music, and has a very strong connection to NYC.

The song I want to share with you comes from her latest album – “Remember Us To Life”. – I like the metaphor in this song of comparing oneself and the way one feels to an obsolete manuscript, and I think it could be a very relatable song for people in all sorts of difficult life situations.

I myself have found it very relatable, and have always thought that she’s referring to some kind of a general identity crisis or being kind of mismatched with your surroundings because of the manuscript just not being readable to them. I once decided to see though if I could find if there was something specific she had in mind when writing it. I didn’t find anything like that, but I found a comment about it on one website that really struck me and changed my view on this song dramatically. This person wrote that to them, this song is about something like Alzheimer’s or some other neurodegenerative disease. And it seriously makes sense! I’m creeped out by all things neurodegenerative because I value my brain very highly, yet at the same time I’m kind of interested in what it feels like for people who suffer with such things, what their lives are like. So while I don’t know if this was actually what Regina Spektor had in mind writing this, looking at this song from this angle makes it even more interesting.

Perhaps you have some other theory as for what it could be about? 🙂 I’m curious to hear about it.