What We Saw from the Cheap Seats

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What We Saw from the Cheap Seats
Regina Spektor - What We Saw from the Cheap Seats.png
Studio album by Regina Spektor
Released May 29, 2012 (2012-05-29)
Recorded Summer 2011 in Los Angeles
Length 37:18
Label Sire Records
Producer Mike Elizondo, Regina Spektor
Regina Spektor chronology
Live in London
What We Saw from the Cheap Seats
Remember Us to Life
Singles from What We Saw from the Cheap Seats
  1. "All the Rowboats"
    Released: February 27, 2012
  2. "Don't Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)"
    Released: March 26, 2012
  3. "How"
    Released: October 16, 2012

What We Saw from the Cheap Seats is the sixth studio album by American alternative singer-songwriter Regina Spektor. On November 21, 2011, Spektor posted on her Facebook page that the album had been recorded with Mike Elizondo in Los Angeles during the summer of 2011. It was released on May 29, 2012.[1] The album is a collection of new material along with the very first studio recordings of several of Spektor's older live songs.

At the time of the album's release, "Jessica" was the only entirely new song. "How" and "The Party" had been debuted only weeks before during Spektor's headlining tour, "Don't Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)" had been released in an alternate version on a previous album, Songs, and all others had been performed in past performances.

Singles and promotion[edit]

The album's first single, "All the Rowboats", was released for streaming on February 27, 2012, and for digital download the following day.[2] It was featured on a prime spot on the CW's Ringer on March 13, 2012, making her the "Artist Spotlight" of the week.[3]

The album's second single, "Don't Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)" is a new version of "Ne Me Quitte Pas", a song originally from Spektor's 2002 album Songs. Both of these singles have accompanying music videos.

On October 16, 2012, "How" was released as the third single.

The album was promoted through two tours. The first was a southern US tour on which Spektor opened for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for eight shows in April and May 2012. The second was an international show that opened with three sold-out shows in New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia. Only Son, a band led by her husband Jack Dishel, was the opening act for all three shows. The tour, which extended to several European countries (including Russia, to which Spektor has never traveled since emigrating from it as a child), ran through the summer of 2012.

Appearances to promote the album include the Late Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America, The Colbert Report, a New York Times interview, a Vh1 performance, and special "Live on YouTube" engagement.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 73/100[4]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[5]
The A.V. Club (A-)[6]
Consequence of Sound 3.5/5 stars[7]
Entertainment Weekly (B)[8]
NME (8/10)[9]
Ology (A−)[10]
Pitchfork Media (6.3/10)[11]
Paste Magazine (6/10)[12]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[13]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[14]
Sputnikmusic 5/5 stars[15]

Similarly to Spektor's previous studio albums, What We Saw from the Cheap Seats received generally favorable reviews upon its release. On the Metacritic review-aggregating site it accrued a 75 score out of 100 over 28 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". Several critics praised its unique quirk, with Rolling Stone reviewer, who gave the album 3.5 out of 5 stars, claiming that the album "may be her best," and made Spektor "her generation's Joni Mitchell."[16] A staff reviewer for Sputnikmusic gave the album the maximum 5 out of 5 stars, writing that it is Spektor's "best effort yet," and that "an artist who could already seemingly do no wrong went and became even more perfect."[17] American Songwriter writes that "Cheap Seats as a whole...points toward ever unfolding new directions for an artist whose sense of whimsy never excludes the possibility of real-world despair."[18]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Spektor except where noted.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Small Town Moon"     3:02
2. "Oh Marcello"   Spektor w/ interpolation by Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus, and Gloria Caldwell ("Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood") 2:38
3. "Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)"     3:39
4. "Firewood"     4:55
5. "Patron Saint"     3:40
6. "How"     4:48
7. "All the Rowboats"     3:34
8. "Ballad of a Politician"     2:13
9. "Open"     4:30
10. "The Party"     2:28
11. "Jessica"     1:44
Total length:
Deluxe edition bonus tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Length
12. "Call Them Brothers" (featuring Only Son) Jack Dishel, Regina Spektor 3:07
13. "The Prayer of François Villon (Molitva)"   Bulat Okudzhava 3:33
14. "Old Jacket (Stariy Pidjak)"   Bulat Okudzhava 2:04
Total length:


All credits for tracks one through eleven are listed in the album's booklet.

  • Regina Spektor: vocals, piano (1-10), keyboards (2-10), marimba (3), co-producer, songwriter
  • Mike Elizondo: producer, bass (1, 3, 5, 7-10), upright bass (2, 4, 6), electric guitar (1, 6, 7), acoustic guitars (11), programming (3, 5, 7)
  • Aaron Sterling: drums (1, 3-7, 9), percussion (1, 5, 7), marimba (3)
  • Jay Bellerose: drums (2, 7, 10), percussion (2, 10), bongos (10)
  • Danny T. Levin: trumpet (3)
  • David Moyer: baritone and tenor saxophone (3)
  • Jack Dishel: vocals (3, 5)
  • John Daversa: trumpet (10)
Additional personnel
  • Art Direction, Design – Stephen Walker (6)
  • Co-producer – Regina Spektor
  • Engineer – Adam Hawkins
  • Engineer [Assistant] – Brent Arrowood
  • Management – Ron Shapiro
  • Management [Business] – Errol Wander
  • Mastered By – Bob Ludwig
  • Photography By – Shervin Lainez
  • Producer – Mike Elizondo
  • Written-By – Regina Spektor [19]



What We Saw from the Cheap Seats has thus far debuted on at least nine national album charts. In the United States, the album debuted at #3, with sales of 42,000, a slight decrease from the opening of her previous album.

Chart Peak Position [20]
Austrian Albums 26
Australian Albums 9
Belgian Albums 34
US Billboard 200 3
US (Billboard Alternative Albums) 1
Dutch Albums 53
French Albums 88
German Albums 46
Ireland Albums 26
Mexican Albums 89
Norwegian Albums 31
Swedish Albums 23
Swiss Albums 24
UK Albums 24


Single Chart Position
All the Rowboats Australia 91
All the Rowboats U.S. Rock Digital Songs[21] 38


  1. ^ "Exclusive: Regina Spektor Premieres Cover Art". Rolling Stone. 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  2. ^ "Regina Spektor- All The Rowboats". Indie Shuffle. 2012-02-27. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  3. ^ "Ringer Music - Artist Spotlight". The CW. Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  4. ^ "What We Saw from the Cheap Seats - Regina Spektor". Metacritic. Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "Allmusic review". 
  6. ^ Murray, Noel. "Regina Spektor: What We Saw From The Cheap Seats | Music | Review". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  7. ^ "Regina Spektor - Album review: Regina Spektor - 'What We Saw From The Cheap Seats' - Album Reviews". ConsequenceofSound.net. 2012-05-31. Retrieved 2012-05-32.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  8. ^ Kyle Anderson (2012-05-23). "What We Saw From The Cheap Seats | Music". EW.com. Retrieved 2012-05-28. 
  9. ^ "Regina Spektor - Album review: Regina Spektor - 'What We Saw From The Cheap Seats' - Album Reviews". Nme.Com. 2012-05-29. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  10. ^ Brett Warner (2012-05-22). "Album review: Regina Spektor - 'What We Saw From The Cheap Seats'". ology.com. Retrieved 2012-05-28. 
  11. ^ Lindsay Zoladz (May 30, 2012). http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/16670-what-we-saw-from-the-cheap-seats/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Ryan Reed (May 31, 2012). http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2012/05/regina-spektor-what-we-saw-from-the-cheap-seats.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ Will Hermes (May 29, 2012). http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/what-we-saw-from-the-cheap-seats-20120529.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ "Slant review". 
  15. ^ "Regina Spektor: What We Saw from the Cheap Seats". Sputnik Music. 2012-05-21. Retrieved 2012-05-24. 
  16. ^ Hermes, Will. Review: What We Saw from the Cheap Seats. Rolling Stone. May 29, 2012. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/what-we-saw-from-the-cheap-seats-20120529
  17. ^ "Review: Regina Spektor - What We Saw from the Cheap Seats - Sputnikmusic". Retrieved 5 October 2016. 
  18. ^ "Regina Spektor: High Fidelity". Regina Spektor: High Fidelity. American Songwriter. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  19. ^ "Regina Spektor - What We Saw From The Cheap Seats". Retrieved 5 October 2016. 
  20. ^ aCharts database http://acharts.us/album/71117
  21. ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/364825/regina+spektor/chart?f=1085

External links[edit]