Released in 2004, Let It Die is the second album from Canadian singer-songwriter Leslie Feist. A combination of jazz, indie rock and bossa nova, Let It Die showcases the versatility of Feist’s voice along with her introspective and playful lyrics.
With help from pianist and friend Gonzales, Feist is able to blend classic tunes such as the Bee Gees’ “Inside and Out” and Nina Simone’s “When I Was a Young Girl” with her own reflective and passionate tunes to create an album full of musical gems from start to finish.
Let It Die has had much success, including nominations and wins at the 2005 Juno Awards in her native Canada for Best New Artists and Best Alternative Album as well as Best Single for “Inside and Out” in 2006.
Feist — Let It Die: Track-by-track review
Simplicity does not hinder the beauty of this track, which shows the listener exactly what they’re in for: sincere, well-written and beautiful pop songs. Feist’s voice sparkles as it hovers above the strumming guitar and tinkling xylophone, singing about a summertime love. Although it is not the strongest track on the album, it is a lovely opening for Let It Die.
2. “Mushaboom” [single version]
The second single and most singable track on the album, “Mushaboom” regales listeners with a story of a home that Feist saw just outside the coastal Canadian city of Halifax that would, perhaps one day, be her home.
The playful piano and shaking percussion makes it seem more like something you’d hear in a kid’s song, however the pulsing drum and winding lyrics give it a plain complexity that make this the sparkling gem of the album.
3. “Let It Die”
Slowing down a little, this track gives your heart pangs as Feist pours hers out to an ex-lover. Epitomizing the cascade of emotions on this track is the line:
The saddest part of a broken heart
Isn’t the ending so much as the start
If that doesn’t sum up heartbreak, I don’t know what does.
4. “One Evening”
This jazzy little number is bound to make any man weak in the knees. Feist’s smoky voice floats and dips as she sings about a romance with a man that perhaps she isn’t really supposed to be with. The bossa nova rhythm and funky bass make this song surprisingly danceable, despite its laid-back feel.
5. “Leisure Suite”
Another sultry song whose minimalistic instrumentation showcases the soft and smoky vocals that Feist provides. The finger snaps always make me think of West Side Story, and although it has its merits, following “One Evening” as it does “Leisure Suite” doesn’t quite cut it for me.
6. “Lonely Lonely”
The plucky acoustic guitar and xylophone are, once again, the only instruments accompanying Feist on this track. The soft and tender vocals soar over the line “Distance makes the heart grow weak” before going back to the vulnerable cooing from the beginning and breaking down into a plucky guitar solo, with the handclaps from “Mushaboom” making a cameo.
7. “When I Was A Young Girl”
In this cover of the song originally performed by Nina Simone, Feist strips the song down to its bones and rebuilds it to make it her own with nothing but a bass and some handclaps backing her strong, somnolent voice. A short guitar solo in the middle carries the melody with an eerie reverberation that is the cherry on this piece of cake.
8. “Secret Heart”
Although many artists have covered this song, this version is my favorite. The lighthearted instrumentation allows Feist to shine as she encourages her love to share true feelings with the utmost sincerity. The words seem to just flow from her soul while the bass and guitars pluck along.
Near the end, a choir comes in with “Oooooohs” that would, if not for the careful direction of Ms. Feist, seem cheesy. Easily one of the catchiest songs on the album.
9. “Inside And Out”
Feist performs this tune with vivacity and the rolling bass that is essential to any disco track makes its presence known during the verses, before picking up during the chorus. The instrumentation and overall flow of the song hold true to the original which results in a toe-tapping tune sure to make anyone want to dance.
10. “Tout Doucement”
The melody, played on the piano that accompanies Feist throughout the song sounds like something that you would hear at children’s ballet class. The playful vocals paired with softness of Feist’s vocals make this little tune sparkle. The French lyrics are a nice touch and give a feeling of Paris, where the album was recorded.
Feist puts forth a valiant effort in speaking the language precisely; however, those who actually speak French will be distracted by her mispronunciation of certain words.
11. “Now At Last”
Just as it starts, this album finishes: with a slow, beautiful and pleasant song. The piano accompaniment almost outdoes the vocals; however, Feist manages to hold her own and weave a stunning and intricate melody with her whispy voice. This song is a lovely finish to the album and gives a definite end to the masterpiece.
Let It Die by Feist
“Mushaboom” [single version]
“Let It Die”
“When I Was A Young Girl”
“Inside And Out”
“Now At Last”