“They’re just public mausoleums / The living dead fill every room”
Have you ever heard art galleries referred to as “public mausoleums?” In “All The Rowboats,” Regina Spektor likens art galleries to coffins that have trapped timeless and meaningful art. She personifies oil paintings, violins, and sculptures and presents the idea that they are living things trying to escape the frames and glass cases they are kept in.
I think there’s a larger commentary in this song about the way we treat art we’ve deemed as “masterpieces.” We tend to lock it away in a museum and make it untouchable instead of allowing it to thrive and breathe in the world where most people can access it, not just those who purchase tickets to the museum. That’s some way to treat a masterpiece, isn’t it?
“All The Rowboats” appears on Spektor’s 2012 album, What We Saw From The Cheap Seats, which I feel is a pretty great and underrated album. And yes, that’s her beatboxing at the beginning and end.
Listen to “All the Rowboats” and (almost) every song featured on Tuesday Tunes on my new Spotify playlist: