Feist | "1 2 3 4"

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feistIn the "Sally's Song" version (which lyrics I prefer) and the album version, teenage boys "too scared to own up to one little lie" confuse Leslie.

 

Since Feist's breakout album three years back, Let It Die, fans have patiently awaited new material. After extensive touring, backed by the folk masterpiece "Mushaboom," this album has developed and fans have become familiar with the new tracks. Soon after the "My Moon, My Man" single was released, the entire album was up for grabs.

"1 2 3 4" is one of the live songs that made it onto the record. Originally titled "Sally's Song," it was the standout of Leslie's 2006 Lollapalooza set. The opening line, "1 2 3 4/ Tell me that you love me more," automatically clicked and was enough for me to believe that this album was going to be great.

While I certainly glorified the song in my mind, the alteration of lyrics and toned-down melody took away its magic; the album has its weak spots. But enough bashing, the song is still brilliant and fits Leslie's element more than any other track. "1 2 3 4" begins with a schoolteacher-like strumming that nicely matches the childish counting. Feist does a good job of not getting overly emotional and making this too long of a story. The simplicity of the song is what is effective.

Verses are short and arise frequently between the full band chorus, "Ohh/ You're changing your heart/ Ohh/ You know who you are." In the "Sally's Song" version (which lyrics I prefer) and the album version, teenage boys "too scared to own up to one little lie" confuse Leslie. "Sweetheart, Bitterheart/ Now I can't tell you apart." That's the basic plot.

Feist avoids flatness in this track with little twists, something she fails to do often enough in the LP. Two key ingredients of the song that encourage multiple plays come in the second half. First, when the counting gets a bit erratic, "1 2 3 4 5 6 9 or 10/Money can't buy you back the love that you had then," which is then repeated with more emphasis and aided by the trumpet. Second, the piano that creeps its way up to the spotlight for a glissando finish as the band members reach full blast on their horns, almost drowning out Leslie, is well executed.

The abrupt decrease of volume during the last line, and add the slowing-down fadeout, make for a great ending. The powerful start is deserving of this strong finish, and inspires many repeats of this three-minute highlight. | Joe O'Fallon

For lyrics to the live version ("Sally's Song"), visit http://www.alwaysontherun.net/feist.htm

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