Feist’s singing is best summed up as a whisper put to music. When we whisper, every word that we get out is infused with an effort that can be heard in its breathy character. A whisper’s strain and incomplete vocalization tantalize us, as we feel for the whisperer’s struggle to get the words out loud enough to be heard.
Most singing is about consummation, perfectly vocalizing tones, pitches, and notes in melodies, harmonies, and rhythms which are sublimely (and subliminally mathematically) satisfying. It’s often about the perfect instantiation of these precise possibilities.
But when Feist sings we get both the consummations of melody but it comes to us through an aching, straining, charismatic whisper that evokes a soulful, voice-cracking yearning that keeps the consummations from ever feeling complete, but from always conveying a heart lifting tension. My chest lifts up empathetically trying to help Feist’s whisper to its full vocalization and stays in that excited state as she never quite gets there.
And I find the whole experience simply sublime.