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Left Shoulder Right Shoulder Review: Feist - Metals

4 out of 5

I had never heard of Feist before the release of the single “1234” from her 2007 album, The Reminder. Immediately, I fell in love. I quickly became enamored with the album as a whole, which was a 13-track offering of hushed folk and indie songs that were laced with jazz and blues influences. Over the past 4 or so years, I have ranked The Reminder among my top 5 favorite albums of all-time. To say that I had high hopes and expectations for her follow-up would be an understatement.

Thankfully, there wasn’t much time that passed between the announcement of Metals and its release and I wasn’t given much time to build hype around it. This is a very good thing in light of what the album turned out to be. Not unlike The Reminder, this new offering is a very cohesive effort, but at the same time, there are no singles on it like “1234”. There are no pop songs that will be featured in iPod commercials. And truthfully, I’m fine with that considering how well-crafted and beautiful the album is. Metals isn’t going to break any new ground. It isn’t going to set any new standards like her previous efforts did. We’ve heard her style before and we have all come to appreciate it.

Metals is, however, a fantastic addition to an already illustrious discography. It is quietly beautiful and tinged with a hint of nostalgia, even on the first listen. Feist has an incredible talent for articulating the way she feels, feelings not unlike the way that I or anyone else feels from time to time, into passionate words laid over music that reflects perfectly the mood of her message. She is one of the most honest and talented artists working today.


What did YOU think of Metals?

Let us know in the comments. 

3 out of 5

Feist is back with another album of bluesy folk ballads and smart indie pop tracks. That's not to say we're getting a clone of The Reminder or Let It Die, but there's no denying the fact that you know this is a Feist album when you hear it. Unlike the great pop singles the came out of The Reminder, Feist is strongest on Metals when she eschews all tendency to write those sweet twee melodies and focuses on blanketing the songs in the warm melancholic atmosphere that accompanies a good half of the album.

The loneliness in tracks like late-comers "Anti-Pioneer", "Undiscovered First", and "Comfort Me" is palpable, and goes a long way in establishing a connection with the listener. The bolstered instrumentation on tracks like opener "The Bad in Each Other" and "A Commotion" are a welcome addition to the Feist palette. "A Commotion" may just be the strongest song on the album with it's slow build to the contrasting male-outbursts and powerful, almost sinister, chorus. The girl can write a damn good chorus that's catchy but not pushy.

It's this connection that I'm missing in many of the songs. Though there's not one song on the album that's painful to listen to or objectionable in any way, many are a bit forgettable. Songs like "Cicadas and Gulls", "Bittersweet Melodies", and "The Circle Married the Line" are more of the same for me, and don't really do anything to distinguish themselves from the previous Feist cannon.

This is far from a misstep for Feist, and will likely fall right into place for longtime fans. It's got enough wonderful songs, and a continued accessibility that may even pick up some new followers. I'll probably always be interested in what she puts out as she continues to mature and develop her sound. I can only wish there's more of that development next time around.


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