In September, members of Vinyl Me, Please Essentials will receive a brand new reissue of Feist’s 2004 sophomore album, Let It Die. The album, which has been out of print on vinyl for some time, has been freshly remastered, comes with a new cover and is on seafoam green heavyweight vinyl. Every part of the package was approved by Feist, and we’re super excited to present it as our Essentials Record of the Month this month. You can sign up to receive it here.
Below, read how we picked the album, and how we all rediscovered and fell in love again with the album thanks to a specific VMP employee.
Andrew Winistorfer: Let’s get right to it: Why and how did we pick Let It Die as this month’s Essentials pick?
Cameron Schaefer: It was an album that continued to be recommended to our music team by one specific employee: Alex Gallegos, our Social Media Manager. We really try to make sure that any member of the Vinyl Me, Please team always has the ability to throw recommendations out there for things they want us to do. So this is one of those cases where it was a personal favorite of Alex’s, and then I remembered how much I loved it when it came out; I was in the Air Force Academy, and all I would do back then was go to training and then come home and listen to music all night. This was an album I discovered during that time and I became obsessed with it. This wasn’t Feist’s first album, but it was the first time I heard of her, and I think a lot of people had a similar experience with Let It Die. There are a couple smash singles on there. And then I put it up to the music team and everyone said an immediate yes.
I had an OG Sirius receiver, one that you could move from your car to your house, that I got in the winter of 2004, and I remember how much you’d hear “Mushaboom” on the indie channel. That song is so good. I feel like this is an album that people will get and realize, "Oh I forgot how much of a classic this one is."
Yeah, this is one of those albums that you look at the tracklist and immediately go, “Oh yeah, I remember that album, I love that one.” And then I hopped on Discogs, and noticed it had been reissued, but it was still super rare and you couldn’t buy it for under $100 on there. There was different album art for the U.S. and U.K. release, and I feel like every time you see that, you wonder, “What did the artist want?” because often one of those covers is not exactly what the artist wanted (laughs). So that was another thing that intrigued me.
It was an interesting opportunity to connect with the artist and try to make this the definitive version of this album. That’s what made this project special; it’s happened before for us, but it isn’t always the case. We connected with her and her manager — who both have been amazing to work with — early, and felt out if a reissue was something they were even excited by. And we asked them if there was anything they wanted to change with the album, and it was Feist who saw this as an opportunity to make this version the best she could. It turned out she definitely wanted it remastered — and had someone in mind at Bernie Grundman — and we had it done under her direct supervision. She also was super keen on redoing the album artwork, and she had one of her friends do a photo-realistic painting of the cover.
And it’s a take on the original U.K./U.S. artwork.
Yeah. She didn’t say this directly, but it felt like Feist was getting to reconnect with this album in this process. She was super involved in everything here.
She had her hands on every part of the package. The new remastering--done at Bernie Grundman-- the liner notes in the gatefold, the color of the vinyl, the text on the Obi strip. This is the version of Let It Die that is most definitive from the artist.
It happened really organically; we offer the opportunity for artists to work closely on these packages with us, and some artists approve tests and that’s it, and some artists take this opportunity to redo everything to make it the version they want in the world. The version that we ended up with is a lot less a VMP creation than a Feist creation that VMP got to facilitate.
And ultimately, our members should never underestimate the power of a staff member not wanting to spend over $100 on a record on Discogs that they really want, and us all getting excited. This has been the case for a long time across a bunch of different parts of VMP, but yeah, shouts to AG for putting us on the path from a single staff member wanting an album, to all of us re-falling in love with it, to reaching out to Feist and her team, to them being excited about it, to us having the definitive version now.
Andrew Winistorfer is Vinyl Me, Please’s Classics and Country Director, and an editor of their books, 100 Albums You Need In Your Collection and The Best Record Stores In The United States. He’s written Listening Notes for more than 20 VMP releases, and co-produced Nat Turner Rebellion's Laugh to Keep From Crying. He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.