I'll Be The One Who'll Break My Heart

The Reminder by Feist

Everyone I know listens to Feist. In 2007, you might have seen The Reminder being sold in your local Starbucks, playing on a television commercial, or laying in your friend's car. The music on the album, however, seems to be completely ignorant of its commercial success; instead its surprisingly stripped down organic feeling creates an intimate atmosphere for the listener.

Where Let It Die featured songs both written by Feist and cover songs, every song but one on The Reminder was at the very least co-written by Feist. Though it's true that there were many people involved with the album (most notably, Gonzalez, Jamie Lidell, and Mocky, among others), their presence in the album is largely a huge success. There is never a moment on the album where collaboration sacrifices intimacy; much of the album is recorded in a fashion that emphasizes simple melodies and beautiful arrangements, with the desire to promote fellow musicianship rather than creating a glossy, slick pop album.

It may also be a surprise to realize that many of these songs were written and performed for a long time before ever set down in The Reminder, precisely because the album is so cohesive that it almost seems as if each song was imagined in the exact order they occur on the album. Perhaps what truly makes the album so perfectly intimate is the fact that many of these songs had been given such a long time to grow. Where many old songs are simply scrapped (Jens Lekman) or forcefully pieced together into an album (Beyonce), Feist exhibits a rare patience with her own songs, allowing each to flow organically into the other. 

Though it's clear that there was never an intention to create a commercially successful album, The Reminder's success sprouts from its amazing accessibility. The album opens with "So Sorry", a penitent wish to stop fighting ("We're so helpless/We're slaves to our own forces/We're afraid of our emotions"). "The Park" is a song of a long-distance relationship, with Feist baring her insecurities in the lines "Who could be sure of anything through/The distance that keeps you from knowing the truth". Despite such joyful melodies as "1234" and "I Feel It All", these songs mask different facets of relationship frustration; Feist declares "I'll be the one who'll break my heart" because "the truth lied/and lies divide" in "I Feel It All", while in "1234" she sings "Sweetheart, bitter heart/Now I can't tell you apart", trying to keep up with someone who keeps changing their heart.

Everyone I know listens to Feist, and for good reason.

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