Music for a Darkened Room: (Leslie) Feist’s Let It Die
Here’s another entry in the things I missed in 2004 category: Leslie Feist’s Let It Die. It’s precisely the kind of album that some of my more snobbish indie-rock pals might discount as being a shade too poppy. That embrace of pop, though, is just the thing I love. Songs like “Inside and Out” or “Now at Last” might just be the ones that provide evidence for nixing the recording. The former might be criticized for its un-ironic take on the disco-influenced pop song, while the latter might be denigrated for showing its Tin Pan Alley roots. For me, though, they are two standout tracks on a recording that shows a performer who is totally comfortable letting everything she loves hang out.
As I’ve noted elsewhere on these pages, Feist has made a name for herself, in part, through her collaborations with other groups—most notably Broken Social Scene (Toronto) and Kings of Convenience (Norway). Hearing her on an album in which she’s not a special guest is illuminating. Her fondness for classic pop, R&B, bossa nova, French chanson and folk, among other styles, is unmistakeable. What’s even more remarkable, though, is that the resulting album doesn’t sound like a hodgepodge exercise in eclecticism. Instead, it’s a satisfying listen from beginning to end, back to beginning and through the end again. I’m especially fond of the title track and the two that precede it: “Gatekeeper” and “Mushaboom.” The whole CD will put you in the mind of having dinner with someone special or listening in a darkened room with candles and wine … maybe even with that same someone special.
The album hasn’t been officially released in the U.S., at least not yet. I guarantee that it’s worth the extra cash you might spend on the import—if you, like me, care about having the whole package. Perhaps at some point, you’ll be able to get it from iTunes, but why deprive yourself…?