Finding Feist’s Pleasure and Pain


Leslie Feist’s new album “Pleasure” captures the singer and songwriter in a very introspective mood.

Elizabeth Weinberg for The New York Times

The Popcast is hosted by Jon Caramanica, a pop music critic for The New York Times. It covers the latest in pop music criticism, trends and news.

Hits aren’t for everybody. Just ask Feist, who was thrust into the spotlight a decade ago when her song “1234” was used in an iPod commercial, catapulting her out of the quirky Canadian indie rock scene she called home into much more rarefied — and unstable — air.

She stepped away for a few years and returned with “Metals,” her most abraded album. And then stepped away again, including long stretches of time on a wayward Canadian island, and has now returned with a new record, “Pleasure,” that captures a mood that is anything but, though the music is closer to the quiet of her early career.

To discuss Feist’s roller coaster career on this week’s Popcast, Mr. Caramanica was joined by Joe Coscarelli, pop music reporter for The New York Times, who recently wrote an extensive profile of Feist, and Jon Pareles, the New York Times’ chief pop music critic, who has tracked her career since the beginning, before she was burdened by success.

Mr. Coscarelli reveals some of the 16 queries on “The Pleasure Questionnaire,” the document Feist presented to him before they spoke (she promised not to reveal his answers, or even to read them, until long after they had met — needless to say, this is unusual for a celebrity interview): “Who do you trust most and why?”; “What’s one of your secrets that maybe doesn’t need to be a secret anymore?”; “Recall your most shameful memory and describe how it changed you. In retrospect was it for the better or the worse?”

They’re questions that…

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