Regina Spektor first gained some notice when she made a guest appearance on a forgettable Ben Folds song. She had a striking voice, but she made no great impact. What has propelled her to much greater attention has been her song “Laughing With.” It is a powerful song about God, and it led me to buy her new album, Far. What becomes clear from even a quick listen that she is blessed with a great voice and a sensibility that is as comfortable poking fun at 80’s music (the obvious “Dance Anthem of the 80’s”) as she is talking about the deep questions. Her fun stuff is everything you might want: catchy, engaging, and bubbly. But I want to pick apart two of her deepest songs to expose some of what I think is going on.
The first lines of “Laughing With” reflect the old saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” She twists the thought around laughter:
No one laughs at God in a hospital, / no one laughs at God in a war, / no one’s laughing at God when they’re starving or freezing or so very poor.