REVIEW BY: David Bowling
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/14/2008
So how does an independent Canadian modern folk artist sell over a million copies of her latest album? Simply by having her song “1-2-3-4” becomes the centerpiece for the iPod Nano’s long-running television commercial.
The commercial ran for months and ingrained “1-2-3-4” in the consciousness of millions of TV watchers. Downloads of “1-2-3-4” and its album The Reminder soared. Feist became the rare independent artist to reach international star status.
Call Feist’s rise to stardom luck, being in the right place at the right time or whatever, but it is well deserved. Leslie Feist is a very talented songwriter, singer and musician. She was a member of several Canadian rock bands for a number of years and The Reminder is her fourth solo release.
Feist shows the musical maturity of playing and creating music for the past 15 years. She avoids the pitfalls of many independent artists. There is no sameness to her music; she constantly changes rhythms and song structures and matches them to her well crafted, passionate and personal lyrics. She is also smart enough to include the lyrics in the CD packaging.
The Reminder begins with a three-song suite that is as good as any music released in 2007. “So Sorry” puts the emphasis squarely on Feist’s clear yet subtle vocal approach. There is minimal backing to this modern day folk song. “I Feel It All” provides a good counterpoint as it lays down a rock beat to Feist’s introspective lyrics. This allows her the freedom to take her vocals in a different direction and establish the fact that her music will not be easily categorized. “My Moon, My Man” has a thumping bass and percussion as its musical foundation with Feist’s voice floating in and out.
The song “Sealion” is an inventive highlight. Handclapping is used as a substitute for percussion and then is interrupted with a classic guitar break.
Then, of course, we have the signature song “1-2-3-4.” This song has been constantly overplayed yet remains a pleasurable listening experience. It is all that a lasting and memorable pop song should be.
The Reminder has not only established Feist as a platinum artist but has also set her bar very high. Her creativity and not knowing which direction she will follow hopefully will allow many delights to follow.