Thursday, May 03, 2007

Feist - The Reminder

Download: Feist- "I Feel It All"
Download: Feist- "Sea Lion Woman"

The Reminder (Cherrytree/Interscope, 2007)
Grade: A

Earlier this week, our fearless leader Ian wrote the following about Charlotte Gainsbourg:

"(She) possesses a softness and gentle grace that I cannot even begin to understand. I find myself repeatedly fascinated by these magical women who make a form of music all their own."

I haven't heard note one of Ms. Gainsbourg's new album (but I very much want to, as I am a fan of hers because of The Science of Sleep). With that said, though, I would be willing to bet that if you took Ian's statement and multiplied it by a thousand, you would only vaguely approach my feelings about Feist's new record, The Reminder. It's the best thing I've heard all year, save for The Arcade Fire and of Montreal.

Where to begin the discussion? First off, The Reminder is a huge, huge leap forward from her previous effort, Let It Die. That record itself had numerous highlights, but it doesn't approach the sheer joy of listening to this record. The leap forward comes in the form of Ms. Leslie Feist writing all but one of the songs on the new record - and the song she didn't write, the traditional "See-line Woman" (here as "Sea Lion Woman" - did you see what she did there?) is arranged so that it becomes a uniquely Feistian pop jam.

Some of the more upbeat songs on The Reminder are like an reinterpretation of The Cure's early catalog as cabaret music - "My Moon My Man" and "I Feel It All," in particular, are strong examples of that musical styling.

What makes this record great is that Feist manages to incorporate so many different styles and none of it seems gratuitous for even a second. Every musical aspect of this record - whether its the wistful guitars and keyboards of essential 80s New Wave, the smoky sensuality of jazz, the devestatingly quiet heartbreak of folk - is essential. There is not a single note here that is superfluous, or misplaced, or otherwise wasted.

I'm not sure how much longer I can go on without sounding like an idiot gushing praise like a hyperbole geyser (on second thought, it's probably way too late). So I will just mention the fact that the album is streaming in full on her MySpace Page, and that you can also buy it through InSound.

It will be time and money well spent to hear 50 glorious minutes of an artist showcasing her perfected musical self.

(Jonathan Graef)

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