Feist takes a lot of time between projects and has never seemed entirely comfortable in the spotlight. But America’s election is alarming even to reclusive Canadians, and her choice of “Trouble” almost speaks for itself. The track first appeared on Cat Stevens’ third album Mona Bona Jakone (1970), after Stevens had recovered from tuberculosis and a collapsed lung. Lyrics like, “Trouble/ Oh trouble move away/ I have seen your face/ And it’s too much for me today,” speak to that feeling when the slings and arrows of life become overwhelming. It’s a natural fit for the ongoing hell-year of 2020.
Feist’s celestial voice is welcome at any time. She chose to record “Trouble” with the echo of an unpadded room, while digital effects layer on extra reverb. The effect is isolating; she sounds lost and alone in a cave, as if she’s singing “Trouble” to try and cheer herself up.
The performance was filmed by Ali Vanderkruyk. In one take, the camera climbs the stairs, circles around Feist, and lingers over her equipment, her clutter, and her bare walls. All the while, “Text Vote to ‘56005’” flashes across the screen. Check out “Trouble” below.
Previously, Arcade Fire performed “Culture War” in support of For Wisconsin.
Feist’s last album of original music was 2017’s Pleasure. Last year, she contributed to Leonard Cohen’s posthumous album Thanks for the Dance. In October, she covered Nina Simone’s “Human Touch” for the compilation album Good Music to Avert the Collapse of American Democracy Vol. 2.