I've never really been the security blanket type, but I do have a special blanket that I could never bear to part with. It was first given to me, along with a doll, one Christmas by my one of my Grandma Betty. The blanket and doll matched, and were made mostly of red and white yarn that she had laboriously knitted into shape. Though it didn't seem like much at the time, I slowly came to love that blanket. I remember watching Saturday morning cartoons with it while sticking my little toes through the holes. It's been a long time since I've done that, yet it still gives me warm feelings. Grandma Betty died of leukemia only a year or two later, and though she was always knitting something, these are the only things she was able to make for me.
I get a similar feeling from Feist. The unambiguous warmth of this album wraps you up in it. My first thought was that Feist was a sort of reinvention of lounge music, held up by a very talented singer. I soon learned, however, that Feist is actually Leslie Feist, who has connections with other well known musicians like Peaches and Broken Social Scene. But don't judge Feist according to these other groups; she sounds nothing like them.
Songs like "Inside and Out" sound like they belong in a disco in the '70s, but are refreshed a little with some modern additions. Though this is a potential break-up song, when Feist first sings, "Baby, I can't figure it out/ Your lips just taste like honey," it is enchanting. You can't imagine why someone would ever treat her as she goes on to describe. When she insists in the chorus that she can "love no other way," you don't feel like she's being as obstinate as her words suggest, but simply unapologetic.
In fact, I can't think of a song that doesn't showcase her gorgeous voice perfectly. The music never overwhelms it; it is so simple and her voice is so rich.
Nobody could make dreaming about domesticity better than Feist does on "Mushaboom," one of the best songs on this album. The name actually comes from what the male backup singers mutter in the chorus. A less beautiful voice might make 'helping the kids out of their coats' and 'knee-deep snow' sound more oppressive, but you can't help but share in her dream instead. Of course, I may sympathize more than most because I live in a second floor apartment without a yard but plant flowers and daydream about a different home, but it is compelling.
"Tout Doucement" is another one of my favorites. It is all in French, so I have no idea what she's talking about. That doesn't prevent me from enjoying it, though. Backed by a strange cross between vaudeville-ish and Mario Kart music, I picture Feist dressed in black with absurd face paint and a cane, dancing around on a red-curtained stage in a shady joint in Paris.
Perhaps the most consistent part of the album, Leslie Feist's easy and clear voice, is what makes it remind me of a security blanket. 7/10 -- Eden Hemming Rose (25 May, 2005)