She & Him

 Posted by
Mar 242008

A lot of rock nerds go ga-ga over M. Ward. A friend burned me one of his albums and I’ve heard some other songs by him. His stuff’s nice enough, but he’s a little too low-key for my day-to-day tastes.

A lot of rock nerds probably go ga-ga over Zooey Deschanel as well, probably for reasons slightly beyond her smokey singing performance in the shower scene in Elf, but not altogether unrelated. She’s cute!

If you haven’t heard, M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel have teamed up for an album called Volume One, under the name She & Him. There’s much being made about their love for ’60s AM pop, Phil Spector, Carole King, Dusty Springfield, and so forth. I’m down with all that stuff myself, as down with all that as I am the cuteness of Ms. Deschanel, so I picked up this album.

I’ve just started listening to it, but so far so good. They even do a couple of dreamy/country Beatles covers, which will be good for passing around with my fellow Beatles fanboy friends. Deschanel’s voice works for me, and Ward’s work behind the scenes hits the right buttons. What I like best about this stuff, though, is when it gets into the West Coast AM pop sound. Check out these examples.

She & Him, “Sentimental Heart”

She & Him, “This Is Not a Test”

I hope there’s a Volume Two, and I’d suggest they keep exploring that West Coast pop sound. If Cat Power doesn’t beat her to the punch, I think Deschanel’s got a chance become the next…


  6 Responses to “She & Him”

  1. 2000 Man

    I like her voice better in the second song. It’s sort of like Neko Case but not nearly as sensual (or lusty, I guess). In the second song, is that someone pretending to be playing a kazoo and they made that a solo? My insta review of that was to turn it off because it reminded me of some TV clown on a kiddie show leading a parade.

  2. M. Ward pretty much leaves me cold, and the only thing I ever saw Zooey Deschanel in was ALMOST FAMOUS (and her name bugs me: as anyone who read Salinger knows, Zooey was a boy!), but I’m utterly enchanted by this album. Have been ever since I first heard “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here” a couple months ago: it’s the great lost Jackie DeShannon single!

  3. saturnismine

    i have m. ward stuff that i acquired from godknowswhere (i swear, one day i looked at my iTunes and saw an m.ward song playing and couldn’t figure out where it came from).

    i find it (and these zooey tunes) harmless enough. nothing i’m hearing is gonna change my life (or my plans for the say).

    but really, what we’re witnessing with artists like m. ward (and the thrills, too, i think), is the slow aging of our indie-rock generation. it’s basically adult contemporary music, an uncritical response to the valium-inspired 70s pablum that inspired it.

    my tastes tend to lean towards aging gen-exxers who make music that sounds like an uncritical response to the the speed, weed, LSD, and hatred-inspired music of the 60s / 70s.

    but hey, what can i say? that’s just me.

  4. This does strike me as a paint by numbers album, sort of like what Robbie Fulks did for 70s country a while back.

  5. Mr. Moderator

    I’m agreeing with almost everything said so far. Sure, this is a paint-by-numbers exercise, but at least it’s a painting I don’t mind seeing so easily reproduced.

  6. Count me in as a member of the fan club. It’s definitely not life-changing, but it is a nice, fun listen. It is unabashedly late ’60s “sunshine pop” (or AM radio rock if you prefer) and her voice is way more Linda Rondstadt (early) than Dusty Springrfiel. Also, the record is much more country-ish (again in the early ’70s country-rock sense of the term) than it’s been given credit for as well. Also, I’m just impressed that Zoeey is a real singer and that she wrote most of these songs, too (the ones that aren’t covers). This isn’t Dogstar or 30 Seconds to Mars.

    Saturn’s point about the indie-rock generation aging and embracing this sort of stuff is dead on, too.

Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube