Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Album Review: She & Him - A Very She and Him Christmas

Ever since Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward played “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” on Conan O’Brien’s talk show, a She & Him Christmas album has seemed inevitable. Lo and behold, less than a year later (and before Halloween!), A Very She & Him Christmas hit the shelves.

The collection consists of mostly classic tunes and thankfully passes on kid stuff and overly dramatic hymns. The album has a good pace to it and wouldn’t be a bad soundtrack to a Christmas party.

The execution of the songs is hit or miss. Deschanel isn’t a strong singer and it shows here. She & Him is able to write songs to her strengths, but on covers like “Sleigh Ride” and “Silver Bells,” she’s often pitchy and doesn’t have full control of her performance.

M. Ward’s performance on guitar (and occasionally vocals) is low key with just the right amount of effects. I love the foundation he lays down on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” even if the tempo is a bit slow.

Generally, the slower songs work to Deschanel’s strengths and songs like “Blue Christmas” stand out. The most interesting moment is the gender twist She & Him pull on everyone’s favorite holiday song about sexual assault, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

A Very She & Him Christmas works as a novelty — Hey! A Christmas album for hipsters and it comes with She & Him wrapping paper! — but the inconsistency of the performances means that most listeners will still reach for Nat King Cole when it’s time to really get in the Christmas spirit.

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