Thursday, December 01, 2011

She & Him - A Very She & Him Christmas (2011)

Cyber Monday was the impetus for a lot of great music deals from Amazon. The massive online store even offered some downloads for as little as $1.99 per album, a price too good to ignore. One of these bargains was A Very She & Him Christmas the latest CD by singer-songwriter M. Ward and his singing partner, the terminally cute actress, Zoey Deschanel.

The third release by the pair is an unoriginal but pleasing take on twelve mostly famous Christmas tunes. More sparsely arranged than She & Him's first two discs, many of the songs consist of little more than solo acoustic guitar supporting Deschanel's sometimes multi-tracked vocals. Some light percussion, ukulele, keyboards, and electric guitar occasionally spice up the songs and Ward duets with her on a few tracks, taking the lead on one. Deschanel has a voice good enough to do the job but it isn't especially distinguished or powerful. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "The Christmas Song" are not easy songs to sing but she manages to successfully navigate her way through both of them.

As usual, the duo shows off their love of mid-60s pop. There is a version of Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and two songs from The Beach Boys' original Christmas album: their huge hit "Little Saint Nick" and a nice take on the seldom heard "Christmas Day." Other staples include "The Christmas Waltz," "Silver Bells," "I'll Be Home for Christmas, and "Blue Christmas." "Sleigh Ride," features some nice 60s electric guitar playing by Ward.

The only misstep is the pair's take on "Baby, It's Cold Outside." It doesn't hold up against a lot of other versions and even if it did people must stop doing this song now! It's so overused and abused every December that I can't take it anymore.

The album cover is also decidedly retro and the liner notes are presented in the form of a signed Christmas card. These two are always about keeping things in the past.

The CD's light production makes A Very She & Him Christmas a little different from what you might expect from a Ward and Deschanel record but that isn't a bad thing. This isn't a party album. These mostly gentle offerings are suitable for a quiet Christmas Eve at home.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry now that I didn't drop for that $1.99 deal. I based my mention on the free single which sounds great. I didn't care much for their first two albums, primarily because of the songwriting. She has a great voice and the Christmas record doesn't involve original material which is why I think I would like it. Given a choice, I would much rather see her act, as in her weekly sitcom New Girl than listen to her songs.