After a lengthy hiatus, Feist has finally emerged back into the music world. Armed with her new LP, “Pleasure,” the former Broken Social Scene member takes her iconic voice to new levels as she examines the many facets of love with tinges of rock ‘n’ roll.
“Get Not High, Get Not Low” is the first track that reminds one of the gigantic hooks the artist has employed in the past. Ever since her hit single “1234” flew up the charts way back in the mid 2000s (expertly paired with an equally fun and colorful music video), the artist has been associated with a particular quirky pop sensibility, one of Apple videos and adorable songs that live somewhere between indie production and throwbacks to the French pop of yesteryear.
Like any dynamic artist, though, Leslie Feist seems determined to show her chops as both a songwriter and a guitarist. She comes in full force on the title track, “Pleasure,” where dark broodings of “It’s my pleasure” give way to ecstatic screams and the pounding of a distorted guitar. The effect is revelatory and fun, giving us an inside peek into the emotions that rise and fall in any relationship. As the label notes described, the album is “an exploration into emotional limits,” exploring “loneliness, private ritual, secrets, shame, mounting pressures, disconnect, tenderness, rejection, care and the lack thereof.”
Suddenly I find myself singing along with the sad choir of “Lost Dreams” and its ebb and flows of sounds, which subtly move into an ending that balances a driving rhythm and a quiet tenderness. It’s a track that showcases Feist’s impeccable sense of sound and space, along with her unique vocal delivery that is somehow both powerful and vulnerable at the same time. It is this balance that keeps me coming back to Feist’s music time and time again, and that draws me into the rolling verse of “Lost Dreams:”
“I used to make it, so it would all come togetherness
Even by day, I had a dream, I am a dreamer
And I saw all about his goodness became so
Bad-ass blacking out and it’s called the name of love”
The contrast between quiet moments and interjections of distorted guitar and noise simulate the movement of emotions, sashaying around love, anger, pleasure, and a tender desperation. In “Any Party,” Feist honestly states that’d she’d “leave any party for you” as the song dissolves into a singalong and a car that passes by playing the title track on the radio. This sort of dissolution of a produced song seems to suggest the way that emotions can so wildly shift our perspectives, either connecting or disconnecting us from people and places.
By the finale of the album. Feist has taken us on a sonic and emotional journey worthy of her previous albums and evolution as an artist. Though not as catchy or poppy in its framework as her previous work, “Pleasure” is a piece of art that stands on its own. Speaking to herself at the end of the record, she plays us out in self-aware lines of motivation:
Y’ young buck
The end’s not coming
Y’ young punk
That everything that falls is falling
Even if you don’t have your
And everything that needs
To fall has fallen”