I sat down to write about this record not really knowing what I thought of Feist. I've actually seen her live twice. The first time I saw her, she was playing solo, and I was bored and aggravated. The second time might not count, but I saw her as part of Broken Social Scene at Lollapalooza and that performance was nothing short of perfect. So it's fair to say I'm conflicted. Let It Die had its moments and it was cool that she covered Ron Sexmith's "Secret Heart." "Mushaboom" was pretty undeniably catchy and her new video for The Reminder's "1 2 3 4" was, well, annoying, but I'd be lying to myself if I said I didn't like it. If there is going to be anything viral on the internet, I'd rather it be Feist than the headline I saw on Yahoo yesterday afternoon while checking my email:
Otter-ly Adorable: See the hand-holding critters who have taken the Web by storm.
Anyway, I guess the fact that I'm torn as to whether or not I like Feist says that part of me cares about her. So on my 10th or so listen to The Reminder I realized that it's a pretty darn good album. There are a bunch of boring songs here and of course it's way too adult-contemporary sounding for its own good, but there are a few moments on the record that definitely make it worth listening to. "So Sorry," the albums opener is not one of these moments. It's a drab lament that goes nowhere and Feist, true to form, couldn't be monotone. "I Feel It All," the album's second and perhaps best song on the record, is recorded beautifully, and sounds more like her work in Broken Social Scene than anything. Another highlight is Feist's cover of Nina Simone's "See Line Woman." That song can't really sound bad but it's a perfect choice for Feist who kills the vocal line. It's a percussion-based song that cooks up a lot of energy without overdoing anything. We've all heard "1 2 3 4" and well, um, it's pretty good. It's great. It's wonderful. That's one of those songs that on first playback in the studio everyone looked at each other and smiled their biggest smiles. It works. "Brandy Alexander" is a snore but the lyrics are great just because a Brandy Alexander was Lennon's favorite drink while he was away from Yoko for those few months.
The Reminder isn't going to change lives; it's not going to change the scope of music. But it's a real nice listen. Real nice. Feist's voice is beautiful and I know that people are going to fuckin' die for this record. Doesn't hurt that she's easy on the eyes.
Listen to "1 2 3 4"