— Before Christmas —
She & Him
A Very She & Him Christmas (2011)
Blame it on the non-stop Christmas-song radio in every retail store you walk into post-Thanksgiving, or blame it on the fantastically repetitious renditions of songs you’ve heard a million times by musicians you’ve stopped caring about, but Christmas music stopped garnering excitement for most of us quite a few years ago. You could also blame it on the cynicism of a Jewish kid who spent most of his Christmas’ alone with a box of chicken lo mein, an egg roll, and 12 reruns of A Christmas Story.
But never mind all that: whether you’re sick of it or not, A Very She & Him Christmas is plain beautiful.
As this is Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward’s third release under the name She & Him, it should come as no surprise that, though Deschanel may not have the perfect voice, it’s still altogether charming. Actually, there is not much about their Christmas album that is surprising, it’s exactly what you’d expect from this duo: a calm, simple and easy to listen to recording to sit with and relax.
Having taken some inspiration for song structure from bands like the Beach Boys and the Carpenters, but still maintaining the charm, beauty, and balance of the classic arrangements, She & Him have constructed exactly what they should have. My suggestion: press play on Christmas morning with your family, and give them yet another reason to think you’re way ahead of the times, but still wholesome enough to wear those pajamas with the feet without looking like a complete liar. For me, I’ll add it to the list of things that make Christmas worthwhile, no matter how sick of Chinese food I am.
She & Him make music for an eternal springtime, when the temperature is warm enough to go riding with the top (or at least the windows) rolled down and the radio turned up. They occupy an alternate universe where the saddest of songs feel as warm as sun showers; the rain may be coming down, but somewhere nearby, everything looks bright. What began as a fascinating, no-strings attached collaboration on 2008’s Volume One has evolved into a bona fide, touring band, and She & Him are here to stay. Zooey Deschanel and Matt Ward are as comfortable and complementary a musical pair as Les Paul and Mary Ford; hearing them again on Volume Two feels like getting together with two old friends. This time, the harmonies have grown more angelically layered, the string arrangements more dramatic, the songwriting even sharper and more confident. But, as with Volume One, the prevailing mood is bittersweet, dreamy, and romantic.
cheer to classic!”