The cover of Feist's second album, The Reminder, shows rainbow lasers beaming from her throat, symbolizing either her colorful singing or that her neck is really gay. Feist (she dropped her first name, Leslie) was the lead singer for the punk band Placebo (but not the more famous band of the same name), sang with indie rock supergroup Broken Social Scene, and even collaborated with her ex-roommate, the raunchy electro/punk goddess Peaches. Since the rainbow beams are both behind and in front of her, maybe it's saying that her colorful past informs her colorful music?
OK, so I'm overthinking it, but overthinking seems right up Feists's alley. The lyrics produce a cohesive vision of a self-reflective, independent woman who questions relationships but always acknowledges her own roles and flaws in them. Check out the uptempo, wonderfully complicated "I Feel It All," where Feist starts out chanting phrases like the title, "the wings are wide," "wild card inside," and "I know more than I knew before." It's as if she's psyching herself up to tackle the obstacles in her relationship ("No one likes to take a test"). But the head-boppy, guitar-strumming music is so upbeat, as is her delivery, that it sounds like Feist is ready to take it all on.
Then there's the first single, "1234." Finger snaps, cascading pianos, bright horn sections, a back-up chorus and a banjo all swirl around some of my favorite lyrics on the album. "1234, tell me that you love me more/sleepless long nights that is what my youth was for" - I love it! Let me translate: "Hi, yeah, I'm not a teenager anymore, so that brooding, too-cool, anti-commitment thing isn't going to work. Be emotionally available or I'm out." While so many pop stars over the age of 25 think they have to get caught up in relationship drama to appear youthful (what's up, Gwen Stefani?), it's refreshing to hear a grown woman write emotionally developed, mature music, especially when she's so gosh-darn cute about them (to see what I mean, watch the video).
With these gems, why does the album seem so long? Maybe it's because out of thirteen songs, about 8 of them are ballads. Seriously, Feist might be a mature, independent woman, but girl needs some caffeine. The lyrics are indeed insightful. Everyone can relate to "Intuition," which questions how and where one gets their feelings about the relationship they're in, such as when do you work at it? When do you move on? (It ends on the melancholy note: "It's impossible to tell/how important someone was/and what you might have missed out on... Did I miss out on you?" Pass the tissues. And the vodka.) It's lovely, but by the album's finale, these moments bordered on overly-precious.