Feist
The Reminder


4.0
excellent

Review

by Lewis P. STAFF
April 23rd, 2007 | 75 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Fearlessly mellow and just as catchy, The Reminder is Feist’s best and most assured release to date.

Leslie Feist merely helped the kids out of their coats (…but wait, the babies haven’t been born!), and she was a hit.

Well, sort of. While far from reaching commercial success, Feist has become some sort of success, selling 400,000 albums of her sophomore effort, Let It Die, worldwide, a little over 100,000 being in the US (though she’s probably more likely to be remembered for being in indie favorite Broken Social Scene). This small fortune for Feist has caused some considerable feedback to the release of her latest album, and for good reason. She’s a persistent force that is gaining momentum in her set genre and has always remained assured and confident, blending the comfortable sounds of other great artists (among them the likes of Bjork, Fiona Apple and Jenny Lewis, respectively) while creating her own sound. Like Rilo Kiley before her, Feist merely expands upon her past albums without trying to make her sound bigger (but in actuality, that’s what she does) or trying to bring in a new crowd. This is what has made her always appealing, and what ultimately drives The Reminder, Feist’s most pop-oriented and focused album to date, following on the heels and blending in parts of debut album Monarch and Let It Die.

Like Let It Die before it, The Reminder begins on a quiet, warming note: ‘So Sorry,’ an acoustic but vocally driven track that settles the album in comfortably. Mostly unappealing (in placement than in actual musicianship) to those expecting a pick-up, ‘So Sorry’ merely chugs along as patient as its protagonist who finds herself the fault of a failed relationship. This is pure Feist, comfortable in her element and toying with the idea of pulling her listeners through a retread of her sophomore album. And in pure Feist form, she follows this simple introduction with one of the catchiest songs off the album, but this time, she spins this simple execution on its head: where her past albums were thoroughly mellow efforts, The Reminder picks up the pace quickly and doesn’t dare let go, even when the music slows.

‘I Feel It All’ is Feist’s first purely pop endeavor, soft around the edges and just as intangibly catchy, much like the dance-track claps of ‘Sea Lion Woman,’ or ‘1234’ that blends her prominent acoustic and affected vocals with rising violins and intermingled group vocals that add depth to an otherwise breezy reminder of how striking Feist can get. Her vocals, here most of all, is largely understated and usually sounds a bit muted, breaking through amongst inflections and powerful high notes while her vibrato mingles lovingly with the folk-rock, electronica and ballads. All of this, of course, wouldn’t be so touching if it weren’t for Feist’s thoughtful poetic imagery, and it’s here that Feist digs deeper than she has on previous albums. On the pulsating ‘My Moon My Man,’ she simply makes allusions to her 'man as a moon' in a single, effortless bound (“My moon, my man's a changeable land; such a loveable land to me”). But usually she goes for a more subtle approach, from serene metaphors (“The harbor becomes the sea, and light in the house keeps it collision free”) or blisteringly catchy (“It’s a volcano! It’s a volcano!”). This craft for storytelling is what keeps The Reminder firmly planted to the floor, growing amongst the shaded pianos of ‘Brandy Alexander’ (Feist lends some of her best vocals here) and the stripped bare acoustics of ‘Intuition.’

What really makes The Reminder standout is that, while more focused than her past albums, Feist seems to be at her most diverse here. ‘Honey Honey,’ electronically, resembles The Knife’s line-up, a persistent electronic beat penetrating the flowing melodies, while her use of pianos here is decidedly more bare and flavored than the cabaret styling of Let It Die. And the aforementioned ‘I Feel It All’ and ‘1234’ stand out as Feist at her peppiest, strutting along in the stylized melodies set for radio-play. Some may call this conforming (this certainly sounds more mainstream than Let It Die or the rugged, amateurish Monarch), but Feist lets it slide with unabashed ease; really, she’s just maturing, building upon her sound while exploring others, never daring to step outside of a range she knows she can’t reach. This doesn’t mean she doesn’t dare to experiment: album closer ‘How My Heart Behaves’ stands as The Reminder’s (and possibly Feist’s) best track, a layered ballad that tinkles and bounds around in determined vocals, layered amongst a male harmony and Feist’s own, as heartbroken as Feist has sounded since ‘Lonely Lonely’ (“A cold heart will burst if mistrusted first; a calm heart will break when given a shake,” she sings, wavering), and ends the album as best she possibly could, as opposed to the calm cabaret ballad of Let It Die. This change in Feist musically offsets her matured imagery in an album that permeates with her used stories of love, heartbreak, betrayal and forgiveness, but hell if she doesn’t make it sound fresh.

If the album stops short of being more than excellent, it’s the forgivable containment most of it feels; although Feist has obviously expanded, she still pulls her punches. This doesn’t detract from the album’s satisfaction, and it might even be part of its charm. A possible grower by year’s end, The Reminder is easily Feist’s most assured work to date, and a charmingly assured one at that.



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user ratings (359)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
plane
Staff Reviewer
April 24th 2007


6094 Comments


So, uh, true story. This is good.

Neoteric
April 24th 2007


3243 Comments


Are you sure this is your third review? Extremely well done if it is.

Two-Headed Boy
April 24th 2007


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's trustxdialect, silly!

Feist is good, but I have to be in a mood. Good job with the review.

scallahan06
April 24th 2007


124 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i cant wait until i get this. niice review

Slaapkamers
April 24th 2007


596 Comments


Album rules hard.

plane
Staff Reviewer
April 24th 2007


6094 Comments


Are you sure this is your third review? Extremely well done if it is.

trustxdialect
Album rules hard.

Agreed.This Message Edited On 04.30.07

plane
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2007


6094 Comments


hey guys this comes out tomorrow so i'm passing the good word.

Two-Headed Boy
April 30th 2007


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Way to whore your review

plane
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2007


6094 Comments


no ur stooped

ok go get this also

mx
Moderator
May 3rd 2007


733 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

A few outstanding tracks on here, but the rest is filler to me. This Message Edited On 05.04.07

Zebra
Moderator
May 3rd 2007


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

At first I was skeptical but after listening to it for a couple of times it proved me wrong, this album is great.

La Revolucion
May 5th 2007


1060 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is a good album. Better than Let It Die.

plane
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2007


6094 Comments


Yeah, better than Let It Die. I was watching Grey's Anatomy and 'Sea Lion Woman' played before the opening credits (soooo hip). Maybe this'll be the equivalent of Imogen Heap on the OC.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2007


15737 Comments


what happened to your old account, trust?

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

iarescientists
May 5th 2007


5863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

He got banned for watching Grey's Anatomy.

plane
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2007


6094 Comments


He got banned for watching Grey's Anatomy.

This.

Also, I just wanted a clean slate with less reviews, unapproved, new name, etc. (especially the new name thing. I would have asked for a new one but I didn't want to double post everything like zepdude).This Message Edited On 05.05.07

La Revolucion
May 6th 2007


1060 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[quote=TrustxDialect]I was watching Grey's Anatomy and 'Sea Lion Woman' played before the opening credits (soooo hip).[/quote]
That's definitely the least Grey's Anatomiest song on the whole album. I would have expected something like The Park to be on there.

thunderzstruck
June 23rd 2007


148 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

bought this yesterday and so far im impressed.
i like the slower songs more, i think

handsomerob2
June 23rd 2007


58 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Holy shit, I can't believe how much of an improvement this is on Let It Die. And Feist writing her own material? What? I definitely agreed with your review. She still holds back but has improved very much. Her next release should be interesting.

jeremologyy
June 30th 2007


269 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

very nice review. i think this is her best album, and her vibrato is just insane. i'd kill for it. my track pix would be: so sorry, the park, 1234, limit to your love. thats just me.



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