Very simply, "The Reminder" is a beautifully crafted set of songs about love and relationships, performed by Canadian singer/songwriter (Leslie) Feist. It is her second solo album, building on the impressive 2004 offering - "Let It Die". What makes this album special is how well it combines the unique qualities of Feist's plaintive, yet expressive vocals with delicate arrangements of piano, guitar, and percussion, not to mention the poetic quality of the lyrics, the distinct individual characteristics of each song, and the consistent high quality that is maintained throughout the album.
The album beings "So Sorry", an apology that is poignant in its simplicity ("I'm sorry / Two words I always think / After you're gone / When I realise I was acting all wrong"), before turning to "I Feel It All", a song that compares a fluttering heart when falling with love to the wings of a bird and then speaks of having to shoot this bird down, as the other person may not feel the same ("Oh I will be the one who'll break my heart / I'll be the one to hold the gun"). On a similar theme, "The Park" is a slow melancholic song about the crushing realisation, having mistaken someone for her lover, that the latter may not be the special person that she had let herself think he was.
After another moody number in "The Water", the pace is lifted with "Sealion", a light-hearted look at a manipulative woman:
Sea lion woman dressed in red
Smile at the man
When you wake up in his bed
Sea lion woman dressed in black
Wink at the man
And then stab him in his back
"The Limit To Your Love" is one of the album's highlights, with some of Feist's best vocals combining with a strings arrangement, to produce this soulful song of loving the thrill of falling for someone who she knows will not be able to reciprocate fully. It is followed by 1234, which, despite being one of the first singles from the album, is actually one of the songs that I have least warmed to, mostly because it sounds like a nursery rhyme.
"Brandy Alexander" is a sexily sung comparison of how a perfect partner for someone is like the ideal complementary drink - irresistible not to overindulge with!
"Intuition" is a song where the woman sense regret for ending a relationship and wonders just how much she ought to trust her instincts for these things. If only all women could be as honest as this!
And it's impossible to tell
How important someone was
And what you might have missed out on
And how he might have changed it all
And how you might have changed it all for him
Fellow Broken Social Scene collective members Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning then provide backing vocals on "Honey Honey", while Charles Spearin features earlier on My Moon My Man, an allegory of how relationships are imperfect but important ("It's the dirtiest clean I know").
The album finally ends with "How My Heart Behaves", one of the few highly produced songs on the album, and one that allegorically speaks of emotions taking root after careful nurturing and now beginning to blossom ("I'm a stem now / Pushing the drought inside / Opening Up / Fanning My Yellow Eye").
How to sum up? Well, to put it like this, if I hear a finer album this year, then I will be seriously pleased.