I’ve never been one for indie-pop or folk music, it usually strikes me as overtly pretentious or being too close to country, but I decided to give Feist’s new album a chance after having heard good things of it from a few people. Pleasure definitely has that folksy sound to it, but it didn’t bother me like I thought it would. The songs are lyrical and give off a feeling of dreaminess, like one is walking through the serene landscape of nature. Her lyrics are often nature based, and I think that’s why I liked the album so much.
There are some songs that run a little longer than they should, ranging anywhere from four to six minutes long, and there were one or two that didn’t quite work for me. “Any Party” ends as a barroom sing-along and runs about a minute too long, fading away to the sound of crickets and a passing car playing “Pleasure” in the background. Another song that didn’t work for me was “A Man Is Not His Song,” a commentary about the misleading notion that songs are comprised of a singer’s diary entries. It ends with a snippet from Mastodon’s “High Road” that, while very short, is just jarring compared to the light-hearted feeling of the rest of the album.
Of course the songs that I liked the most were “Pleasure” and “Century” because they were the closest thing to rock songs on the album. They don’t overwhelm or overpower the other songs, but rather they flow seamlessly with the rest of them. Leslie Feist has a voice that’s understated yet powerful; her high range vocals shift from yelps of fury to lulling melodies. The album relies mostly on her voice and the strum of a guitar, although there is an inclusion of a horn undercurrent in “The Wind” and soft drum beats in “A Man Is Not His Song” and “Young Up.” The latter song fittingly ends the album, as it is an introspective take on growing up and how “the ends not coming.” The song is the perfect end for the album, and reaffirms that the pleasure is in the journey, so don’t worry about the end.