(3 out of 5)
Canadian indie-folk singer Leslie Feist pretty much hit the jackpot when Apple plucked “1234” from THE REMINDER for use in an iPod Nano commercial. Thanks to that, an artist who had experienced only moderate success in France and Canada wound up being a million-seller. Amazingly, more than a year after its initial release, and after about a billion plays of “1234,” THE REMINDER has lost none of its charm. Accordingly, this expanded deluxe edition reissue provides a welcome opportunity to revisit it. Though it may be a bit premature to put THE REMINDER on the same shelf as the classic albums it now shares “deluxe” status with, the pure intensity of the material here is still shocking. While some casual listeners may be surprised at the generally downcast and introspective tone of most of THE REMINDER’s non-“1234” tunes, it’s not much of a stretch to say that fans of Feist (and even her Broken Social Scene compatriots) may be shocked that the majority of the bonus material here is in the form of remixes. Not coffeeshop/downtempo atmospherics, but full-on, shake-it-baby remixes. Feist’s voice and odd sense of melodicism still drives the ship, but in the hands of club mavens like Chromeo (who twists up “Sealion” into a post-disco funk monster) and Boys Noize (who run “My Moon My Man” through their vocoder and toss it out on the dancefloor) … well, let’s just say that some of that organic sensitivity in the originals gets lost. Which is less a complaint than a compliment to the strength of the material. However, those expecting more gentle acoustics should skip right to the final two cuts, which find Feist collaborating with longtime pals Broken Social Scene (on “Lover’s Spit [Redux]”) and the Constantines (on a sparse, melancholic cover of the Kenny Rogers/Dolly Parton schmaltz classic, “Islands in the Stream”).