Little surprises like this that go hand-in-hand with mathematical randomness are the most satisfying part of Random iTunes Weekends. I love the anomalies and clusters that inevitably pop up when you repeatedly spin the wheel.
This song is a fine example of the album’s overall sound, indie folk with an old-fashioned sheen courtesy of Deschanel’s distinctive vocals. I liked the album a lot though I certainly don’t revisit it very often.
This is the same kind of retro-catchy ear candy that M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel perfected on their debut. Maybe it’s the sort of thing that quickly wears out its welcome. Maybe listening to too many She & Him albums would be like eating at Johnny Rockets every night.
She & Him (the indie pop group consisting of actress-singer-songwriter Zooey Deschanel and singer-songwriter M. Ward) has come to symbolize a certain precious, hipster mindset. It’s music for people who know every line of 500 Days of Summer (also featuring Ms. Deschanel), people who wear dryly ironic t-shirts, people who wear hats to parties.
Deschanel, who writes all of the band’s songs (save for a few covers), is an unconventional beauty with an old-fashioned voice and a penchant for 50s and 60s doo-wop and girl-group pop. It would be easy to dismiss her, and this group, as completely shallow, picking over the bones of classic song styles for the sake of looking cool. At times I’ve been tempted to do exactly that.
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.
The track record of actors turned musicians is not a strong one. Eddie Murphy, Bruce Willis, Lindsay Lohan, Juliette Lewis — crap, all of it. It doesn’t seem to work the other way around, though. Plenty of musicians (especially rappers) make fine actors. I guess singing is already a form of acting, while the reverse isn’t true.
I mention this to point out why the success of She & Him is a very special achievement. Zooey Deschanel (Almost Famous, Elf, All the Real Girls) is the “she” in She & Him, while the “him” is alternative singer-songwriter M. Ward. But the band’s name is deceiving, because this is truly Deschanel’s work. She wrote all the original songs and sings every track, while Ward handles production and plays the guitar.