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robertaxel

The Dreaded 'Quirky' Label

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Wasn't sure where else to put this:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/...ean-gets-erotic.html

While the article was not about Regina specifically, she was mentioned as a 'quirky' artist.. That is a misleading and frankly misogynistic term ... male rock stars are praised for the 'individuality' while females are quirky.. Perhaps these labelers will feel more comfortable listening to one of the flavor of the work starlets autotune some generic garbage... ah well...

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i thought the article was condemning the "crazy" label. They were saying that regina, toni amos, and bjork are labeled as "crazy" whenever they break out with some eccentricity or other.

quote:
That accusation of eccentricity is lobbed at many female rock singers who show a little individualism

they're saying that these artists, along with Alanis Morisette, are actually individualistic and not quirky or crazy, if i'm reading it right?

Confused

on-topic, though, i think that regina has done a good job of combating the quirky thing. She calls herself weird, and is gracious when others call her quirky, but when the occasion allows, she distances herself from it. I think that's a good way to handle such an annoying trend. Of course people who dislike her music will always call her that, but at least within the fandom/on the parts of those who give a crap about actually understanding what her music has to offer, this term will probably be stomped out sooner or later, imho Smiler

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I guess the verbiage 'lobbed at many female rock singers who show a little individualism' is a criticism of the 'quirky' label.. a half-hearted one but a criticism nonetheless.

I think Regina does a spectacular of combating that nonsense. One indication is the incredible feedback from people who have never heard of Regina when she gives an interview or is featured on some TV or radio show. The recent NPR interview is an example. (My first exposure to Regina was on an NPR interview, circa 2005).

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I think when some article writer chooses the word quirky it's because he/she probably saw it written from other sources while doing a little research and so they decide to use the same word since it's "what she's known for". It just seems lazy. It's hard to use words to describe Regina so they just use quirky.

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quote:
Originally posted by MusicLover_2007:

When Lady Gaga is considered mainstream, how is Regina quirky? She's downright normal compared to that freak.

Lady Gaga is mainstream because her image is deliberately calculated (I always considered her 'Madonna Lite'.. Regina is uniquely honestly herself..

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I don't consider the label of being "quirky" negative. I've always described most of my favorite people as quirky, hence when describing her music to people who have never heard of her i use that exact. I've never considered it negative, I even described myslef as quirky at my latest job interview and got the job!

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The word in itself is neutral as defined, I think:

a: "Characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits"

What is annoying to me is that is generally demonstrates laziness or lack of understanding on the part of critics who apply that adjective to Regina's work. I think that critics just use that word to avoid any detailed analysis of her work, I know they don't arrive at that conclusion by independent thought. It is not the fact that Regina's work is 'quirky', it is the fact that today's mainstream artists are banal and soulless.

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i agree that regina's genuine originality is unique these days-- it's hard to put my finger on just what it is that makes me believe her. I mean, her speaking voice is impossibly soft as compared to the runs and the belting we all know she's capable of. She's always super-sweet and very classy--no matter how stupid, impossible, cliched, or annoying the question, but everyone has days where they're just not up to that. Even when she's sick, she's perfectly kind and patient--an all-around pleasant person, even though no one is pleasant all the time! And knowing what she puts into the world- (through both her image and her music) regina is a passionate person who thinks deeply, and has an extremely sharp mind. All of that might make for a pistol of a personality, don't you think? Top that off with her background and undeniably strong character, and we find that she's really more like a bulldog than like a kitten.

Yet her huge, contagious (and it's contagiou-uh-UH-oh us... Sorry, had to. Razzer) grin, her sweet soft voice, her tactful word choice, and often P.C. opinions charm everyone and convince us of her sincerity, to the point that a skeptic would likely be accused of being out of touch or simply trying to stir up trouble.

So, yeah, i agree with robertaxel that the word "quirky" is a bit underwhelming when describing Regina, especially since we hear it alllll the timmmeee.. That said, i don't know that we should be surprised at seeing it so often. There will be a uniformity to the writing/portrayal about regina, because all of that writing comes about through a uniform process: research, retell the information, portray regina in the desired light, and do it all in your own writing style. So certain buzzwords/phrases will resurface every time, from her name to her Moscow accent to the label of "quirky."

HOWEVER! i want to come back to robertaxel's point about the inefficiency of "quirky" in describing regina! What a lame word... she is, indeed, hard to describe, which is likely why quirky caught on. Maybe these journalists sit at their computers for hours, flipping through dictionaries and thesauruses, just trying to find the right combination of words to describe her. Nothing too sweet, nothing condescending. It's a tough balance to strike. But that doesn't mean it's not a worthwhile venture. So even if we give these guys the benefit of the doubt and say they're trying to forego using the "quirky" label, it's still possible that either these writers can't find a better word for her, or they don't even want to give it a shot--after all, it's a tough task to tackle. I mean, even when we Stixers go on our crazy rants about Regina's awesomeness, we look at specific details of what she does, rather than attempting to describe all of her music in an adjective or two. We are content to say, "she's so hard to describe in one sweeping statement." That works for fans, but the journalists need to communicate the existence of traits, rather than the absence of a ready description of them. Hence, we live with "quirky," because what the heck else can you use as a tagline for the likes of Regina Spektor?

Nonetheless, i hope her name becomes enough that she can move away from the need for the tagline/buzzword "quirky," as though people needed hints as to her identity. It's regina, what more do you people need to know?!?! Razzer Jk, obviously.

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