She & Him: Classics (Columbia) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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She & Him



Dec 22, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

At long last, the legacy of She & Him, the passion project of guitar and studio wunderkind M. Ward and surprisingly good singer/actress Zooey Deschanel, was never going to be innovation. It’s inappropriate, then, to pillory the pair for a lack of vision or ambition in a project that is essentially devoted to recreation: specifically, of bubblegum pop from an era when orchestral arrangements and five-octave ranges were the norm in the genre. Theirs is a pocket version of this kind of wide-screen popDeschanel’s range is a bit more modest, Ward’s arrangements considerably sparerbut the charm and sincerity of the endeavor was always apparent. Their original records, especially Vol. 2, shone to surprising and satisfying heights for a band not doing this for a living.

The problem with Classics, then, is that they call attention to the bleeding sincerity of that bygone era without being able to quite do it justice. Covers are usually a creative coasting period for a band but really, they’re a trial by fire. When you decide to cover Dusty Springfield and The Righteous Brothers, you’re inviting your audience to compare you to sometimes multiple renditions of a classic song, often by some of the greatest performers of the past century.

Classics is, however, a spotlessly classy affair. Their cover of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David classic, “This Guy’s In Love With You” (re-titled “This Girl’s In Love With You”), shines particularly bright and is representative of the intimate sonic sphere of the record. The album strikes one as a reboot of a classic film. Presumably, there’s an audience for the same material with a modern sheen. One can imagine this record playing in living rooms amidst offers of mulled wine this winter. But if you have any fondness for the era that inspired Classics, sit this one out. (

Author rating: 5/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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