When Feist first came on the scene in 2004 with Let It Die featuring the adorable video for “Mushaboom,” I was
enraptured. I proverbially wore down the Mp3s in my colorless-screened first generation iPod. The balance of soul, femininity and melody was like an optimistic Cat Power with the same swirling soundtrack riffs characteristic of Broken Social Scene (which she is also a part of.) Feist definitely had a hand in ushering in a lot of the cutsie indie waves that dominated those days.
Unfortunately, 2007’s The Reminder lost its way. It was a disappointing hodge podge of music videos, endorsements and was devoid of the same soul that made the kitschy tracks of Let It Die genuine and beautiful.
I had almost given up on Feist, almost. With Metals, Feist has reclaimed her sound with a more powerful soul than even Let It Die. Its more mature, reflective and orchestrated.
In the album opener “The Bad in Each Other,” Feist manipulates a sense of urgency on reflection of a situation a long time in the making. “And a good man, and a good woman/ Can’t find the good in each other/ and a good man, and a good woman/ Will bring out the worst in each other/The bad in each other,” she swirls in a folksy-country bridge that is punctuated with an orchestral finale.
“Anti-Pioneer,” starts with a seductive beat reminiscent of Tom Waits, of course with Feist’s smooth manipulations rather than Waits’ signature guttery gravel. I can’t help but think the track is semi-autobiographical: “And for a year/ she was anti-pioneer/ singing sappy songs/ about what went wrong,” which of course may be my own prejudice. As the track progresses, the lyrics lead the music into dramatic Nirvana-style soft then quiet string alternations that build up and then recede perfectly with the track.
In “Graveyard,” Feist relies on the lyrics “Bring ‘em all back to life,” to carry this Autumn appropriate track. It’s beautiful simplicity is powerful.
I would argue that Metals overpowers Let It Die, its unique listenability feels like a new Broken Social Scene album. It doesn’t get old or repetitive, it simply grows new meaning with every listen.
Download Mp3: Feist “The Bad in Each Other” (Removed due to request)