Tuesday, March 9, 2010

She & Him - Volume Two

Zooey Deschanel isn’t exactly unpredictable. We heard it back in the day in “Elf,” again this year in “(500) Days of Summer,” and with M. Ward in ’08. It is her vocal style – timeless, saccharine-sweet, and void of any of that whiney crap you get with almost every female pop star today (Miley, we’re talking to you). Combine the Hollywood starlet with M. Ward, one of the most talented songwriters and producers around, and you have She & Him. Their combination is as winning this time as it was on their debut, Volume One. The second volume can be summed up with “Over and Over Again,” a charming 60’s girl group tune with “ooh la la la” back-up vocals, innocent piano plunking, and a beat built for cutesy side choreography. Deschanel’s no Diana Ross, but the Supremes would have loved this song. Ward and Deschanel’s “Gonna Get Along Without You Now,” a Skeeter Davis cover, is an instant classic. The duo reach their cuteness quota on “Lingering Still,” a terrifying beach vacation number with so much pedal steel that you won’t be able to hold down your pina colada. Still, this album is an absolute gem – the kind of record you’ll smile through “over and over again.”


  1. yea, but will anyone care 5 years from now? i mean is it art? i understand the easy listening aspect, but are they just jingles awaiting commercials? why didn't zooey include her cotton "fabric of our lives cover"?

    i puked pina colada hard.

  2. valid point, t. valid point. but not all music has to be art to be good. then again, i probably won't care about this album 5 years from now - or 5 months from now.

  3. if it's not art what is the point? is it to sell stuff? look cool? get laid? i mean there's just so much crap at this point, and i can't relate to any of it. it produces no emotional connection and it's just bland sugary fluff that looks/sounds nice on the surface.

    i'm tomasz by the way, i think you used to come to our music meetings at acrn way back when, haha.

  4. oh man! i'm so glad you found my blog, tomasz. i used to idolize you guys and your music meetings when i was a tiny freshman who didn't even know what and indie record label was.

    ok, here's another thought: what if it is art, but the art is just not that original. it's like one of those photographs of flowers that middle-aged women like to hang up in their kitchen. it's nothing new or special, but people will continue to appreciate it for the sake that it's something pleasant. perhaps the point is only to sell stuff/look cool, but what if you are making people happy in the meantime? i'll agree with the lack of emotional connection though. if that's what you're looking for, you won't find it here. i don't, however think that all music that i find enjoyable creates a distinct emotional connection - just the stuff that's really, really good. it can still be an enjoyable music experience without creating a deep connection or an inventive/creative art.

  5. I fell in love with Volume 1 instantly, but this one took me a while to get into. I don't think it's as strong as 1, but it's close. A solid record for the spring.

  6. that's hilarious, i just figured everyone thought we were completely obnoxious assholes fellating ourselves. maybe that's just how i felt about the process, haha.

    but yea dude, there's just so much "pleasant" crud to wade through these days. indie record labels are no longer "indie." they desperately want to be viable business enterprises. it's a completely different mentality from the 80s and early 90s.

    she and him is what the captain and tennille were in the 70s, boring pop music without soul. the only difference is that record companies were profitable in the 70s and now they are not. so the distribution dynamics have changed and it is now profitable to package an act as "indie" so young kids will listen to it. it's still the same pandering to market dynamics. record companies have been selling audience short for over 40 years and now they are finally bankrupt because people have lost interest in music (due to the constant force feeding of complete crap). it just sucks that as a result people don't actually listen to music anymore.

    i don't mean to harangue you, just to present a different point of view. yr a great writer, so keep the hits coming sister!

  7. well, it was certainly a great introduction to obnoxious music-loving assholes. my favorite part included microwaving the bad cds and shattering the jewel cases on the ground.

    i do agree with a lot of what you're saying. it's very easy to allow the business behind music to overshadow everything that makes music great. you'd really enjoy this article by Rachael Maddux in Paste: http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2010/01/is-indie-dead.html

    and Flavorwire's gathering of critics of her article: http://flavorwire.com/66341/is-indie-dead-music-critics-respond

    anyway, i'm glad you like the blog! i'll try to keep it up! (and hopefully not obsess over too many more "pleasant crud" groups)