It’s been six years since acclaimed Canadian indie-pop singer Leslie Feist released her fourth studio album, Metals, and a decade since she released her most critically acclaimed album, The Reminder. Feist is now trying to gain back some relevancy following her hiatus on her fifth album, Pleasure. The indie phenom takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions on each song through rock and folk ballads. The layers on this project are so in-depth that you might have to listen to it multiple times to understand the theme.
Pleasure is one of those albums where Feist uncovers a variety of themes that give us a sense of her past, present and future. Most songs on this project are well over five minutes long, giving listeners a sense of the amount that needs to be said about each topic Feist tackles.
As a result, Pleasure is a beautifully orchestrated, emotional ride about self-discovery and tackling the most human emotions. The album starts with the title track “Pleasure,” which is a chance for Feist to give her views on happiness and how it’s considered the ultimate prize in life. When the guitars hit you about a minute and a half in, you really start to feel that intimate sound that she has been known for.
Her inner turmoil takes over in the second song, “I Wish I Didn’t Miss You.” On this track, Feist gives her own unique perspective on a failed relationship by singing lines like, “You called me baby, I called you one too, until you spoke to me with another voice.” She uses this rippling effect on her voice in this song setting off a multitude of emotions for me. Probably my favorite on the entire album.
The topic of love is discussed some more on her next next single, “Get Not High, Get Not Low.” She discusses trust in a relationship and how it could be lost as quick as it is gained. Her voice melts into your ear buds over a guitar and some drums that enter in a bit later. Feist is at her best musically when vulnerable it seems like. “Lost Dreams” is a perfect representation of Feist hauntingly remembering her past over a nightmarish guitar riff. She makes it clear that even her herself is still tying to find what makes true happiness.
“Any Party” feels more like a rock single where Feist talks about the sacrifices she would make for her love. She says that she “would leave any party for you,” implying that happiness in a relationship also means making mutual sacrifices. She seems a little more edgy on this track as well, which is something I really enjoyed. I really love the line, “no party is as sweet as our party of two.”
Feist addresses relationships again on “A Man is Not His Song,” where it seems up for interpretation for what she means by that. A nice chorus comes in for a brief few seconds tying the track together nicely.
“The Wind” and “Century” shows Feist giving her interesting perspective on time elapse with features from Colin Stetson and Jarvis Cocker. I wasn’t the hugest fan of “Century” because I thought her cadence wasn’t as intimate or as effective emotionally as her previous singles. Still, an interesting concept nonetheless. “Baby Be Simple” has Feist discussing relationships and love in an entirely different manner. She tells people to love themselves by giving her own personal anecdotes. It’s straight forward but effective.
Her final two songs on the album, “I’m Not Running Away” and “Young” features Feist still approaching the topic of happiness head on. The two singles really ties the album’s overall theme together beautifully.
Feist shows vulnerability over folk inspired ballads, and as a result, listeners are exposed to the most humanly emotions. While the production could have been edited a little better, the flaws in this project are a symbol for the many flaws that people encounter in life. Pleasure wasn’t just an emotional roller coaster, it was detailed look into what makes each of us who we are.