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October 6, 2011

That I’ve had a longstanding reverence for Feist is no secret. Let It Die and The Reminder redefined what was possible in pop music for me, or at least gave unconventional pop music a new heroine at a time when it  badly needed one. “Unconventional” is a little abstract, but essentially what I mean is that there is an incredible depth in Feist’s music. Effortless, easy, insanely catchy tunes are bolstered with unusual orchestration (Feist, like Fiona Apple, appreciates the underestimated vibraphone in pop music), smart arrangements, and seriously surprising songwriting chops.

All of what I admire about Feist is present on her most recent, Metals, but in a more understated way. This record has more of a living room feel than her previous ones, with slow and subtle songs making up the bulk. Metals strikes me as very much a part of the history of female singer songwriters–Feist alone with an acoustic guitar, as opposed to Feist with a crazy orchestra and light paintings. It is this quality that at first made me balk; after all, what I have come to expect from Feist is revolution, that “new” quality her first two records possessed that destroyed everything in their wake. Metals is not revolutionary, but in the proud tradition of folk records, it stands near the top. It took a rainy day in LA for me to appreciate this album for what it is. It didn’t blow my mind open like The Reminder, but its subtle charms are already like an old friend. Worth owning, possibly on vinyl. 

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