Song of the Day #73: ‘Change is Hard’ – She & Him

I’m kind of at a loss for words in trying to describe the appeal of She & Him, and singer/songwriter Zooey Deschanel in particular.

There’s a mysterious and charming quality to the group’s debut album — it somehow feels simultaneously familiar and brand-new. And almost all of the credit goes to Deschanel and her wonderful voice.

I wonder if Deschanel is so appealing to me because I am familiar with her as an actress. I’ve always been drawn to her literally wide-eyed presence, her winning combination of guile and innocence. I find her to be a very honest performer… she sort of looks right through you.

And her singing works the same way. She’s earnest, open and seems utterly apart from the sort of packaging that comes with music industry stardom. Of course, that appearance could be a package of its own, but I’ll save that debate for another time.

This song, ‘Change is Hard,’ is a straight-forward country heartache ballad that really lets Deschanel shine. Over shuffling drums and a plaintive slide guitar she does her best Patsy Cline, delivering a tune that should feel out of place on a 2007 indie pop release. Not this one.

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #73: ‘Change is Hard’ – She & Him

  1. Dana says:

    I admit that I am not a fan of country music generally, particuarly the slow, slide guitar, grand Ole Opre style. So, it won’t surprise you when I say that this song just ain’t my thing. Yes, I love Lyle Lovette, but the songs of his I love are the bluesy, jazzy ones. I admit that I often skip over the others, or play them without the same enthusiasm. But even when Lyle does a traditional country number, his unique voice, the quality of the production and, often, the lyrics, will still demand at least some of my attention. This is true at times with Mary Chapin Carpenter and also Costello in his occassional forray into traditional country. But, a singer doing a Patsy Cline style really strikes at all that doesn’t float my boat about country music. So, I will take a pass on this one. In the words of the great VP nominiee for the GOP, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

  2. Clay says:

    Mr. Genre rears his head again!

  3. Amy says:

    I remember years ago how proud Ned was when I said that K.D. Lang reminded me of Patsy Cline. As one who is usually not very good at recognizing those connections, i was pleased that I had gotten that one “right,” at least according to Ned (whose musical prowess I greatly admired). I still don’t own a single Patsy Cline album, and I don’t listen to K.D. Lang very often, despite the fact that I do like her quite a bit.

    This song, and the others I’ve sampled on iTunes, is pleasant enough. It just lacks the confidence and conviction I find compelling in songs by Cline and Lang. There is something tentative in Deschanel’s delivery that, while it may be alluring for just that reason, fails to draw me in the way the others do.

  4. pegclifton says:

    I liked this song. You mentioned she is an actress, and she looks familiar, what has she been in? I like Cline and Lang as well and Bonnie Raitt I also enjoy. I find they can be good pool shooting music. But of course my favorite for that is the Traveling Wilburys. Just wanted you to know too, that I do read your songs of the day, and I enjoy the commentary, just don’t always have a comment. I leave that up to Amy and Dana :).

  5. Clay says:

    Interesting, I think it’s the same quality described here as a negative that makes this album so intriguing to me. I wouldn’t use the word “tentative,” though … I’d go with earnest.

    Peggy, you might know her from Elf or All the Real Girls. She also played the sister in Almost Famous.

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