Thursday, July 5, 2012

I have a huge crush on Leslie Feist. I have since I first discovered her a few years ago, probably through that Mac commercial. This isn't it, it's the original music video which is better. I'm not going to lie, at first I just saw a pretty girl in a sparkly outfit I didn't care for singing a bit of a girly song. After about the third time this commercial aired, though, I stared to like the song. Truth be told, I even now appreciate the getup. I bought The Reminder and it was indeed quite good. I wouldn't put it up there as one of my favourite albums but it is certainly a good one and one that I listen to a fair amount.

For a quick idea of what this album is like, take a quick look at the cover there to the left. Just a quick look then close your eyes. Think about what you see. Then take a little longer look and again think about what you see. Finally give it a good examination. There's a lot going on there and it's quite pretty. Did you notice Feist lying on that branch? It took me a long time to realize she was there. That's how the album sounds.

I got Metals last year for Christmas. I was surprised. I should say here, also, that my expectations were already high but this is not what I was expecting. It was a different experience. I don't know how to explain it. For whatever reason, though, I didn't listen to it a whole lot. I'd throw it on in the background but I wouldn't notice it. I'd make a point to listen to it, but frankly despite being impressed with it I couldn't get into it. It could not make it past the point of good ambient music.

Fast forward to Last week I was sitting at my computer trying to shut out the noise around me and I put it on, thinking it'd be good ambient music. For whatever reason, my socks were knocked off. Holy. Crap. Amazing. Judging by my iTunes play counter I've made it through the entire album about 10 times and started the thing 17 times. I should be used to the album by now. It's now a week later and I'm listening to it again and this time being meticulous about the equalizer on each song to eek out the best possible listening experience. It's just so good. This seems to be how Feist and I go. I hear, I like enough, and then once I have gotten to know the music and I notice the little things my mind is blown.

That is what I love about Metals. To be honest, I'm still not sure what all of the Lyrics are about. It's the music that I love. All I can say is that Metals is like submersing yourself in a warm bath. I don't mean just sitting there with your knees hanging out of the water, I mean sinking your head right in. The warmth envelops every part of you and something in the back of your brain just melts. What sets it apart from good ambient music is the unexpected but sooo smooooth changes. The best example is "Anti-Pioneer." For those of you who have heard the song, you know what I'm talking about. For those who haven't, I don't want to deprive you from that wonderful surprise. Just listen to the song.

This album is what I have wanted from Feist since I first discovered her on youtube (after the Mac commercial) through concert videos from her time in Europe. I wanted that smokey voice, I wanted that sort of jumpy but smooth way of singing, I wanted the tube amp/old arch top guitar slightly overdriven edge, I wanted the feeling of self-assured spontaneity. The Reminder was quite good, but disappointed a bit on this front. It just sounds a little clean and a little girly (which is pretty forgiveable, just not my cup of tea) Metals on the other hand is all of that and done very well.

Overall Feist is a fantastic musician and I am sure was also surrounded by fantastic musicians in making this album. It is layered. It is a layering that could sound like just controlled noise. Frankly, on poor speakers it does sound like noise. Perhaps that's why it took me so long to get into it. It is a sophisticated sound. The rhythm is also quite interesting and well done. She stays in the realm of interestingly unexpected yet smooth here, something Metals shares with The Reminder.

Go find something good to listen to this on. Don't listen to the mp3 version, listen to a CD. While I'm no vinyl expert I suspect the complex sound could get muddled on vinyl. I could be wrong though. Then pour yourself a nice glass of scotch or wine, this is grown up music. Sit in your most comfortable chair in your favourite place. Dim the lights. Close your eyes, and spend the better part of an hour in a very nice place.

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