Feist Has A Message For Her 71-Year-Old Self That message is embedded in the Canadian singer's new album, Pleasure. "I appreciate the perspective that 28-year-old Leslie's shed on my life," she says. "I kind of want to echo that forward."
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Feist Has A Message For Her 71-Year-Old Self

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Feist Has A Message For Her 71-Year-Old Self

Feist Has A Message For Her 71-Year-Old Self

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The musician Feist has a new album out. It's her first in six years. It sounds nothing like the polished, alternative pop that first got her widespread notice in 2007, along with a best new artist nomination at the Grammys.


FEIST: (Singing) One, two, three, four. Tell me that you love me more. Sleepless, long nights. That is what my youth was for. Old teenage...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: This new album is gritty and spare.


FEIST: (Singing) Get what I want. And it's still a mysterious thing that I want...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: She says that the album's title, "Pleasure," came out of a time when she wasn't feeling much of it.

FEIST: There wasn't a particular thing. I was in a low-grade - just of confusion. Maybe it was like a what - what direction to go next - like, your compass stops working. It might have been from repetition of touring, from being - you know, having been an adult for long enough to have observed what I was doing as an adult. What - how adulthood was looking on me - you know what I mean? And so I think it was just a confluence of a bunch of different factors - you know what I mean? - that was putting me in a state of mind.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah, I think for those of us that are older, we call it a midlife crisis. We have these crises of confidence (laughter). But I don't think that's what was going through you.

FEIST: I know.


FEIST: Well, I don't know. I mean, I think, maybe, it manifests in, you know, Lamborghinis or, like, affairs or whatever, but...


FEIST: Maybe - yeah, no, nor for me (laughter). It manifests in a whole bunch of songs or something. But no, I - maybe that's true in that - I don't know. Time starts to factor in in a way it didn't before, right?


FEIST: (Singing) But I had to climb down into today.

You see what a decade is because you've just felt it - as an adult. It's not like a childhood decade where every day is a brand new day. You know, every day is a reinvention of all that you've ever known. You know, the world can turn on its heel in a second. But when you're an adult, there's a - you know, a kind of fossilization of habits, you know, you can sort of just get so set. You know, you can get kind of - I don't know - I started to feel like I had to crack off this armor that had, like, culminated without me noticing.


FEIST: (Singing) I built me from the bedrock. Made me right up, ignited little tunes while the wind was still trying to find a way to tell you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So you achieved huge success in 2007 with your album "The Reminder." But you said your goal since then was to - and I'm quoting you here - "descend the ladder with dignity and go back to the altitude that you can breathe at." Tell me what that means. And does that mean that you're - you'd leave music altogether, or at least the way you've been doing it, the tours and the limelight?

FEIST: No, I think it meant - before "The Reminder" sort of took on a life of its own, I had been playing for so long where I felt like my hands were on the steering wheel, you know? And when I say descend the ladder, it was this place I'd been sort of thrust by what the - you know, "1234" off the record kind of took on a life of its own. It sort of pulled me along with it.

But I actually enjoy playing smaller venues. And I enjoy that rarefied air of a smaller group of people being in a room together and passing those two hours together. And there's - there's a synergy that can happen that can't happen at the Hollywood Bowl, for instance, you know. Or at least it can't happen for me because I really enjoy and feel invested in the quieter side of things. So yeah, I basically just meant going back to a place that would be sustainable, that I can imagine enjoying when I'm 90, you know?


GARCIA-NAVARRO: The very last song on the album is called "Young Up" and it feels like one of the tracks on the album where maybe you're speaking most directly to yourself. Let's listen - "Young Up"


FEIST: Young up, you young punk. The end is coming. And fear not, you young pup, that everything that falls is falling.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What is the message to your younger self?

FEIST: (Laughter) It's funny 'cause...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: 'Cause it seems like you're giving a message there.

FEIST: I'm kind of giving a message to my 71-year-old self, in a way, more than the past, which is you will age as quickly as you think you are. You will be that sparkly-eyed, white-braided 80-year-old, or you're going to be a kind of hunched-over, resentful 80-year-old. And that's a choice. I've learned, having sung the same songs for 15 years, that some of them do carry a little embedded, codified messages. And I appreciate the perspective that 28-year-old Leslie's shed on my life, and I kind of want to echo that forward and intend for something - I don't know - richer. Keep the sparkle in your eye.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Feist, her new album is "Pleasure." Thanks so much. That was awesome to talk to you.

FEIST: Thanks. You, too.


FEIST: (Singing) Was I just making it up? Pushing my luck. I got tired before I noticed if I'd corrupted the core...

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