I first discovered Leslie Feist when I heard her song “Mushaboom”, a modest indie hit from her second solo album, Let it Die. In the song, she waxes melodic about her desire for a simple life: a husband, a home, kids, and…some mushaboom, whatever that is. It was that mixture of sincerity, simplicity and whimsy that pushed me into finding and listening to everything of hers I could find.
In 2007 Feist released The Reminder, which has since been canonized on VH1 and in advertisements. I’m glad that she has found some commercial success and all, but I hate that I can’t listen to “My Moon, My Man” without wanting a Chocolate by LG phone. But that’s another post.
Anyway, The Reminder is more than just an endless font from which advertisers like Apple can buy songs. It’s an exquisite, heartfelt album and every track is produced to perfection. Her music is lovely as a whole, but the standout aspect on The Reminder, and indeed, in Feist’s whole oeurve, is her voice–there isn’t another one quite like it.
I’ve had The Reminder in rotation with Dusty Springfield’s Dusty in Memphis and I’ve played the two of them together somewhat subconsciously, but Dusty’s soulful husk is what I can most liken Feist’s sound to. This doesn’t quite to it enough justice, though, because Feist’s voice has a delicate quality to it that is completely singular and fairly heartbreaking. Especially in the song “How my Heart Behaves” which, coincidentally, is my pick for best song of 2007.
The combination of her voice and artful instrumental arrangements–she can utilize a single guitar like few of her female contemporaries–makes for powerfully good music. She sings about the usual things: love, loss, regret and forgiveness, but does so in the most delightfully unusual way. The Reminder is perfect for a laid back night spent curled up with a good book and a glass of wine.
Other standout tracks on the album include “Brandy Alexander”, “I Feel it All”, and “I’m Sorry”.