The latest by Leslie Feist has earned hosannas aplenty, and many of them are deserved. Still, because the best numbers on The Reminder
are inherently subtle, the CD needs time to work its magic. Feist's modesty is on display from phrase one: Her first words are "I'm sorry." Not that she owes any apologies. "So Sorry," the track in question, initially seems pretty prosaic, but as minimalist keys and understated background vocals supplement the spare arrangement, Feist's distinctively emotive singing and plainspoken lyrics combine to create a wonderfully romantic glow. "The Water," an impressionistic piece with a deliberate ebb and flow, is equally stirring. And if several of the comparatively uptempo cuts are less memorable, the eccentricities of "Sealion" and "Past in Present," both of which feature more than their share of hand-clapping, make them worth hearing — and hearing again. At first, Feist's music doesn't seem all that feisty. After a few spins, though, most music lovers will be ready to redefine the term.