Just when you thought that you had heard the last of “Mushaboom,” or that the song couldn’t get any better, Canadian songstress Feist returns with a series of remixes called Open Season with four, count `em, four different versions of that incredibly catchy song from early 2005. Consisting mostly of reworked songs from Feist’s Let it Die, this bonus treasure also contains three collaborative songs that might be new to some listeners. Despite having been a part of Peaches’ stage show, and working with writing partner Gonzales, Feist claims to be fairly oblivious to the idea of the remix, or so she claims in her liner notes. Despite the claim, Feist and her collaborators have put together an interesting and eclectic compilation that, while it may not be as good as Let it Die, is at the very least a solid record with a handful of spectacular moments.
Writing partner Gonzales opens the album with a solo piano version of “One Evening,” a song worthy of a candlelit dinner with that French Canadian ingénue you’ve had your eye on ever since you met her in the political section of the local independent bookstore. Broken Social Scene offshoots the Apostle of Hustle tackle the first ever remix created for the album, a stripped down version of the Bee Gees’ “Inside and Out,” a song considered to be one of the best on her debut. The result is what some might consider the perfect balance of Ani DiFranco folkiness with Norah Jones contemporary jazz. The song, with a change from uptempo to lounge smokiness, turns the song into the truly painful affair that the lyrics can tend to suggest. When she claims her heart is hanging out, you believe it. Electronic artist Mocky handles the first remix of “Mushaboom,” bass heavy and full of scratches and handclaps. I’d love to turn a few heads on some inner city streets by booming Feist out of my breadbox Scion’s speakers. (We like the cars, the cars with “Mushaboom!”)
“Gatekeeper,” and its `One Room One Hour’ (wink wink) mix, becomes more of a Burt Bacharach / Dionne Warwick kind of classic track. The second “Mushaboom” remix is handled by fellow Canadian, rapper k-os, complete with an inserted rap with the memorable line, “from heaven to mergatroid.” The collaborations, “Snow Lion” with Readymade FC, “The Simple Story” with Jane Birkin and “Lovertits” (not actually an ode to some of Mel Gibson’s favorite pet names for female police officers) with Gonzales, act as a welcome respite from the boops and bleeps of the remixes, which come back in full force thanks to the Postal Service. As opposed to other Postal Service remixes, their version of “Mushaboom” features both members, making it a true PS remix. Normally, Jimmy Tamborello flies solo for the remix assignments, but Ben Gibbard adds vocals throughout the song, making it an easy standout on the album. Fans of Feist might be conflicted over the version, as it so easily transforms itself into a Postal Service song that it could almost appear on one of their albums. Then there’s a series of `VV’ mixes, performed by Gonzales and Renaud Letang, not to be confused with the like named member of the Kills.
More than ten years ago, many people would have never thought about the possibility of remixing jazzy pop. Once Portishead got on the scene, and later, once the Verve catalog got the treatment, almost any genre was fair game. These versions of songs from Let it Die tread the range of jazz to classical to hip-hop and everything in between, and each work so well in their own way, that particular songs might end up to be your preferred choice to the original album version. Open Season might not replace Let it Die, but it’s a nice appendix to a fascinating book.