Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist Leslie Feist has 5 solo albums to her credit, of which my personal favorites are Let it Die and The Reminder. Released in 2004 and 2007, respectively, they both deal with the mixed emotions and emotional echos that exist after the end of a serious relationship. In this respect, much of her work reminds one of the preferred subject of my other favorite Canadian singer-songwriter, Joni Mitchell. Both albums move fluidly between intimate songs of longing and regret (“Lonely Lonely”, “Now at Last”, “So Sorry”, “The Park”) and joyously infectious pop numbers (“1234”, “I Feel it All”, “Mushaboom”, “Sealion”).
“The Park” is one of those songs that lingers again and again with the listener. In it Feist sings:
Why would he come back through the park?
You thought that you saw him, but no you did not
It’s not him who comes across the sea to surprise you Not him who would know where in London to find you
Sadness so real that it populates
The city and leaves you homeless again
The hopeful longing and disappointment in these lyrics matched with a simple sing song melody makes for a deep melancholy. But she resists giving in fully, revealing someone who understands how to ride out this kind of pain; acknowledging it and experiencing it while letting sadness run its course.
But instead of “The Park”, I have chosen her song “1234” for this post, which bursts with joy. I think we can all agree that we need a bit of unbridled joy right now. At face value the lyrics of this song do not suggest purely happy emotions, but the manner in which Feist has set them shows that your circumstances can be what you make of them. The brilliant music video for “1234”, directed by Patrick Daughters and choreographed by Noemie Lafrance, comprises of a single, unedited, long shot with dancers in gloriously technicolor outfits rotating around and lifting up Feist. Take a watch and feel the joy.