Feist-y outcome

Although it may not be the grammies, one of Canada’s top new artists is pretty thrilled at the outcome of Canada’s top music award ceremony, the Juno Awards:

Leslie Feist returned to her old hometown to sweep the Junos with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 awards over the weekend.

In a beaded vintage dress she picked up for $50 in Los Angeles, Feist did not look much like your typical homecoming queen, picking up Junos for single of the year for 1234 and album and pop album of the year for The Reminder Sunday night at the televised awards in Calgary. On Saturday night, she was also named artist of the year and songwriter of the year.

With each successive win, she appeared more emotional and incredulous.

“Calgary! Oh wow,” she said after winning for album of the year, her third award of the night – and fifth of the weekend.

The article goes on to recap how it is that Feist became Canada’s biggest success of the year. It all began, they say, with this video:

Her work, certainly aided by the iPod commercial, is deserving of praise in and of itself, however. Her music is a weird combination of pop and jazz. It gets you snapping, but has the ring of something more mainstream. And it gets stuck. If you ever want to torture your mind, just listen to 1,2,3,4… it’ll be looping in your head for hours! It’s nothing new or breathtaking, perhaps, but it’s catchy, and in an age when punk rock is the definitive tone, Feist is certainly a pleasant listen!

It gets mixed reviews, of course. The tunes are often overly simplistic, and her videos are anything but typical fanfare. Some people rave about how “intimate” the tone of the music is. People also note correctly that her videos can seem awkward, because they avoid the rapid-fire cuts to which we’ve become so accustomed. But all that’s something one has to evaluate personally; the effect isn’t static between viewers. Here’s a full video, of a song that’s not spotlighted as much on the radio as “1,2,3,4” but gives a good taste of Feist’s work. It doesn’t feature a single cut:

Some people call it folk. Some call it psychedelic. But whatever it is, it’s different. Here’s hoping that the entire thing isn’t just a fluke. This is her first major album and it’ll be a hard follow-up. But if she can pull it off, it’ll give us Canadian listeners something more than Nickelback to listen to… and that can’t be a bad thing, can it?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stephen
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 18:36:28

    I’d never heard of her, but I like it. I’m not sure her music is all that different — I would just call it “pop” and leave it at that. In terms of its simplicity, the soundtrack to Juno is simpler and folkier. But there’s a freshness to those two songs — I like them better than the soundtrack to Juno, which I found rather grating.

    As for Canadian bands, don’t forget about Arcade Fire. I think that’s the hottest Canadian band at present.


  2. nebcanuck
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 10:34:22

    Compared to Britney Spears’ work — which I consider the definition of modern pop, really — this isn’t “pop”. Of course, pop is such a loose term that I suppose pretty much anything could fall under the blanket. However, Feist’s stuff is much simpler and uses a very different style of band than most pop artists today.

    I will grant I don’t think that “jazz” is a correct term. I think the person who labeled it as a cross pop-folk probably presented the best descriptor I can get. That’s not to say it’s purely folk; it’s kind of like Bon Jovi’s latest CD, which isn’t really rock or country… it’s a bit of both.

    And I’ve never heard the soundtrack to Juno, so I can’t compare. Also, I had no idea Arcade Fire was Canadian… that’s pretty cool! I haven’t heard a huge amount of their stuff, but the music videos are pretty catchy!


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