I know that “1234” may have been the first song you put on your iPod after that commercial, but don’t expect another pop ditty like that on Metals. You may have also enjoyed the cheery “Mushaboom,” but again, don’t expect the Feist you have heard in the past. Metals is just that: metallic, harder, and sleeker than her previous releases. She shows off a whole new side, at times taking the position of a zealous choir member and, at others, a sultry temptress in a speakeasy.
Leslie Feist is a Canadian musician you may know from her noise-pop stint in Peaches, playing in Broken Social Scene, or opening for Radiohead at just 17 years old. But, without a doubt, her biggest achievement thus far was her 2007 album The Reminder, for which she was Grammy nominated for Best New Artist, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Best Short Form Music Video, and Best Pop Vocal Album. And, of course, “1234” became a viral sensation thanks to Apple’s iPod commercial. While The Reminder was some of her best work yet, Metals may give it a run for its money.
As stated, don’t expect the same cheery, poppy Feist as in the past; rather, expect the casual beauty of her vocals and notice the desperate fervor in her voice. This is exemplified in “Graveyard,” which starts off with light yet strong vocals, ending in an impassioned choir of pleading voices. Meanwhile, “The Circle Married the Line” has lighter, higher vocals with just as much anguished adoration as you could ask for. “How Come You Never Go There” is smokier and swankier, with Feist coming off like a 1920’s lounge songstress. Similarly, “A Commotion” is a sort of nonchalant seduction, keeping you on your toes with great horns and sharp male chorus lines. This is without a doubt one of the strongest tracks on Metals, having perfected the multiple layerings of vocals and instruments that cut off abruptly, leaving the listener wanting more.
Album opener “The Bad in Each Other” is yet another portrayal of her range, with a fun ending complete with worldly instrumentals. Also with a powerful ending, “The Undiscovered First” shines by utilizing multi-layered vocals, much as “Bittersweet Melodies” does. The folk influence is evident in the soft, fairytale lullabies of “Get It Wrong, Get It Right,” “Cicadas and Gulls,” “Comfort Me,” and “Anti-Pioneer.” If nothing else, Metals is effortlessly beautiful. Her gorgeous vocals atop the mixture of folk and soft rock create a sound that shows she is much more than just a poppy tune for a commercial.