When: Fri., Nov. 4, 8 p.m. 2011
For a recent New York Times story, Leslie Feist told Jon Pareles, "I always think about how I'm in my room alone writing it, and eventually most people listen to music alone." She recorded the new Metals (Cherrytree/Interscope) in a single room with just a few people, like longtime collaborators Chilly Gonzalez and Mocky. It's intensely intimate, even on the songs that are explosively extroverted—on the chorus of "A Commotion," a small group shouts the title with martial sobriety, while "The Bad in Each Other" rides on a swooping, walloping beat. The production doesn't compress the music's dynamic range like most big-budget efforts, but instead lets the quiet parts whisper and the loud parts pummel. Metals is tenderly melodic and often sweet despite a pervading sense of sorrow—on "The Bad in Each Other" Feist is almost apologetic as she coos about a good couple tearing apart its relationship because of bad timing and poor communication. Her songs are accessible but not mass-audience slick, preferring insinuation to declaration both in their cryptic lyrics and wide-open, pin-drop arrangements. Feist's previous efforts grabbed me instantly, but this album has been slowly sinking into my brain, beguiling me more with each listen. —Peter Margasak The Happiness Project opens.