Autobiographical Order No. 72: Feist – The Reminder

Over the last week we traveled about three years. That’s how little vinyl I was buying between 2004 and 2006, which is fine. Sometimes you need to take a break from something to really appreciate it. So in 2007, as CDs were becoming far more disposable, and the promos I was getting in the mail were becoming increasingly unplayable, I started to question if that was really how I wanted to spend my money. Over the last decade, a lot of people gave up paying for music altogether, which troubles me, even if I understand the logic behind it. Getting a lot of music for free hasn’t stopped me from buying music, though. It’s only helped make the process of shopping for it easier.

Pretty much all the music I get sent for review now is digital, but in 2007, the industry had reached peak obnoxiousness as regards promos. A lot of them were watermarked, to deter you from ripping the songs into iTunes. Some had anti-copy technology which just made your computer cough up some horrible noises for three minutes before spitting out the disc. Some even had my NAME spoken over the actual music, which made me more paranoid than I wanted to be. And the worst offender, well, I’ll get to that tomorrow.

Feist’s The Reminder was one of my favorite records of 2007 — yeah, a pretty, laid-back record with no screaming or noise! Suck it nerds — and my means of playing it for the first couple months I had it was a CD that wouldn’t play in my car because of the watermark/copy protection that the label loaded onto it. That was a little annoying. Very annoying, actually — so much that I needed a better way of hearing an album that deserved my attention. Naturally, I had to buy it on vinyl (with a download code so I could listen on my iPod, of course).

I can credit The Reminder for renewing this obsession. Instead of forcing myself to engage with music on the terms of the annoying formats that were handed to me, I became interested in hearing music with full attention, on better speakers, in analog. Not because it’s inherently better — the argument is and will always be subjective in terms of preference. But I like it better. I like the sound of vinyl, I like the more intimate interaction with the music, and on a record like this — with softer tones, quieter dynamics and an overall romantic vibe — it just feels right.

I had to special order it, though, because for the first few months, it was only available via Arts & Crafts in Canada. Though it’s not the greatest length I’ve ever gone through to get an album, not by a longshot. Oh, and the album? It’s gorgeous, of course. Everyone probably knows the singles “My Moon My Man” and “1 2 3 4,” but I’m even more enchanted by some of the smoky ballads, like “The Water” and “Honey Honey.” Who says you can’t like industrial noise and gentle folk-pop?

Rating: 9.0

Sound Quality: Great

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