The album Begin to Hope, released in 2006, was our first mainstream introduction to the Russian-born pianist Regina Spektor. It remains among her best-known work, especially the song “Fidelity.” It’s this bouncy little tune that’s engaging in its simplicity: “Fidelity” is essentially just Spektor and the piano. When this song came out, I loved it for just that reason. Her voice is also beautiful: it’s clear and soft and gives me Norah Jones vibes.
The lyrics are also intriguing to me, and were the first time I heard it as well. The song is titled “Fidelity,” but the lyrics don’t really seem to describe that concept. It’s a story about meeting someone and falling in love, wondering all the while about some alternate universe where that never happened.
The music video for the song is also kind of bizarre. The aesthetic isn’t quite hipster, exactly (despite the kitten heels and the quirky, vintage outfit she’s wearing), but it’s sparse; all black and white. She seems to be talking to herself: there’s an empty person sitting at the little table with her – literally. It’s a mannequin without a person inside, just the clothes hanging in the air, arranged to mimic a person sitting. Suddenly a man appears inside those clothes and they start throwing color at each other. It has to be seen to be believed.
In all honesty, despite – or, more likely, because of – its charming weirdness, this song is just a fun little escape for me. And it brings back strong memories of early high school; the clothes I wore, the classes I took. I hadn’t heard the song in quite some time before writing this post, but it was an immediate time capsule as soon as I did.