The Buzz

Feisty and funny for the release of Metals

Categories: Music

Ahead of Tuesday's release of Metals, CBC Arts reporter Jelena Adzic had a chance to interview Canadian singer-songwriter Leslie Feist. As the new album is unveiled, she shares a few thoughts from their chat that day.

FeistSinger Feist's latest album Metals, the follow-up to her smash album The Reminder, was released on Tuesday. (Charles Sykes/Associated Press)

Adzic, attempting to tactfully ask a question: "So...with this album, did you consciously steer away from catchy songs like 1234?"

Feist: "Well I think I'm heading into a...Hey, wait a second! Are you saying there's nothing catchy on this record?!"

She pauses for a moment and then breaks the crazy, awkward silence with a huge smile and blurts out: "Just kidding!"

Whew. I'm not one to coddle superstars, but Feist isn't someone I want to insult. Like the rest of the world, I fell hard for her serious charms, both on her record and on the street -- Sesame Street in this particular case. She has intrigued us with her ability to retain an indie/quirky/cool status while still appealing to the mainstream via iPod commercials and late-night TV performances.

So what could she possibly come up with to follow the huge commercial success of The Reminder? Her new release is titled Metals, but it's definitely not of the precious variety. Feist's new album is looser, more layered and chaotic then her radio-friendlier previous work.

The first single, How Come You Never Go There, feels right at home on my-music-at-work radio stations, but that's about as poppy as you're going to get when it comes to the rest of the album.

As if plucked from a musician's dream, Feist came up with the idea to build a custom recording studio for Metals in a house atop a cliff, overlooking the ocean, at Big Sur in California. One listen and you can hear the waves crash -- at least metaphorically -- into the music. Feist said the environment infused the tracks, as the band would sometimes wait in silence for minutes at a time, letting the atmospheric sound fill the room and the recordings. The result is a super moody, often melancholy album, filled with wistful swells of emotion.

It is a break from the past and I love it. The Reminder was like a heady first love, while Metals is a relationship that isn't always easy -- because now there are kids and complications -- but offers a deeper joy. But hey, that could just be my own skewed viewpoint, based on my personal experiences. Either way, Feist was gracious about my kooky observations.

Adzic, at interview's end: "I know this is going to sound strange, but I felt so moved by this album that, at times, I could practically smell the ocean."

Feist, giggling: "Yeah. That's because you're pregnant!"

Unlike most celeb interviews, this one ended with a cheerful hug, so no matter how well Metals sells, clearly I'm sold.

--Jelena Adzic

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