I realize I’m sometimes a little behind the times on these sorts of things, but I finally got around to picking up Feist’s Let It Die and have been grooving to it since. To say that Feist has one of the best voices I’ve heard all year would be an understatement, and a very obvious one at that. Smooth, sultry, sexy, heartbreaking, poignant, delicate… it’s all of these things and more. She has a “phonebook” voice — she could record an album of her just singing through the yellow pages and I would still be sorely tempted to buy it.
Musically, the album runs the gamut from stark acoustic ballads (“Gatekeeper”) to whimsical, electic folk-esque pieces (“Mushaboom”), from ultra-slick late-night mood-funk singles that take every 80s music cliché and completely redeem them (“One Evening” — the greatest song Stevie Nicks never sang) to gorgeous, swaggering French torchsongs (“Tout Doucement”) and aching piano odes to the album’s common theme of heartbreak and lost romance (“Now At Last”). The one thing all the songs share, though, besides the the excellent musicianship and production values, is Feist’s rich voice, which ties everything together in a magnificent manner.
As much as I love “One Evening,” the highlight of the album is, without a doubt, Feist’s cover of The Bee Gees’ “Inside And Out.” Imagine, for a second, an alternate world where disco hadn’t been so reviled and ridiculed but instead, came into its own, becoming the most greatest music genre ever known. That’s the sort of magical world contained within this track, which begins with some funky slap bass and a rolling piano line, gradually adds Feist’s honey-filled voice, throws in some classy faux strings, and tops it off with a cheesy-yet-oh so fulfilling analog synth-fuelled chorus.
I first heard this track whilst driving home around 11:30, and for those four minutes and seventeen seconds, my life was transformed into something absolutely cinematic. Empty “O” Street in Lincoln, Nebraska became as glamorous as Times Square; I half-expected flocks of people to come together in parking lots and start dance parties and musical numbers the way they do in Spike Jonze videos. Not exactly transcendental I suppose, but it’s been a long time since a song has left me grinning from ear to ear like that.