Reviewed by Allyssia
When Feist was nominated for Best New Artist at the 2008 Grammys, indie music fans all over the world must have been scoffing in their seats (not that they were actually watching a mainstream award show…). To call Feist a “new artist” in 2008 was like calling Methuselah middle-aged because, as is common knowledge to her fans, Feist has been recording solo since 1999, almost a full decade before she was acknowledged by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
Though her 1999 debut, the impossible to find Monarch (Lay Your Jeweled Head Down) (even I, a CD fiend, cannot get my hands on a copy of this out-of-print album), was good, Let It Die was the album that made a her a pulsing red point on the radar of indie music fans all over the world.
The album, a collection of originals and covers first released in 2004, has a distinctly foreign feel to it. The music, which is a tasty cocktail of folk, jazz, and mellow bossa nova, seems as though it wouldn’t be out of place in a smoky Parisian café, an upscale New York lounge, or a sandy beach somewhere tropical…or in an elevator. That’s the one fault that comes with this album: though it makes for brilliant listening when you’re in a mellow mood, some of the songs are so mellow that, after repeat listening they start to sound as bland as water on toast.
The CD’s high points are Feist’s original works which are both thoughtful and charming. Feist even gets a little sexy on “Leisure Suite” where she suggestively coos “In my leisure suite/Just a place to meet/We can press repeat/And do what we do when we’re there…” After listening to that one you’ll be blushing like the first time you heard the moans on Donna Summers’ “Love to Love You, Baby”. Another standout is the bouncy “Mushaboom”, on which she airily sings about the simple pleasures of small-town life.
Feist’s covers are good but, for the most part, nothing to write home about. Her cover of the Bee Gees’ “Love You Inside Out” (her rendition is called “Inside and Out”) is a notable exception. The song, which was nominated for Single of the Year at the 2006 Junos, sounds original, fresh, and memorable. But it’s her rendition of Françoise Hardy’s French ballad “L’amour Ne Dure Pas Toujours” that is the albums low point. Her French accent sounds a little awkward to anyone who knows what French sounds like coming from a native speaker. But don’t get me wrong: she’s by no means horrible. Think better that Emily Haines on “Poster of a Girl” but worse than April March on “Laisse Tombez Les Filles” – sort of like Jane Birkin on “La Décadanse”. But it’s not the accent that makes the track forgettable. The song’s just boring.
Now that Steve Jobs has turned Feist into a household (albeit difficult to pronounce) name, it’s easy to think that this Nova Scotia-born songbird just got into the swing of things recently. Let It Die proves that that couldn’t be farther than the truth. She’s been around for a while, and has been producing great music the whole time.
Top Tracks: Mushaboom, Leisure Suite, When I Was a Young Girl, One Evening
3.5 Hoots + *swoop*