Monday, March 17, 2008

volume one by she & him

It is universally acknowledged that every time an actress puts out an album, the entire blogosphere must chime in with an opinion. Usually a harsh one. Why are we so quick to judge people with more than one career? Personally I’ve always looked up to multi-taskers. I still allege my true calling in life was stolen by George Plimpton.

She & Him's debut album Volume One (out 3/18) is, if I might take a page out of their anachronistic handbook, swell. Of course, I’m biased. When am I not? Zooey Deschanel is earmarked to play me in the inevitable life story; Mr. Ward and I hail from the same county (although a quick google search shows we probably didn’t go to the same high school, so this may be stretching it) My point? In my own little world - quit laughing - I foresee great things for this duo, a position I'm willing to defend during the inevitable backlash. However, this is a one-time protect-an-actress offer. If Kirsten Dunst decides to take a turn at the mic...well you’re on your own, kiddo.

Oh wait! Kirsten Dunst sang with Coconut Records (along with Zooey) and I...I loved it?! That sound you heard was my paradigm shifting a foot to the left.

Of course, it helps when there's talent to back up the hype. Zooey, who cut her musical chops on the ad-hoc cabaret project "If All Stars Were Pretty Babies," proves her worth: voice dripping with the requisite sentimentality needed to elevate this project from a hipster diversion into the realm of actual sincere homage. Ward, who's been playing with the cool kids since day one, lends a perfect atmosphere of string accents, and spine-tingling, gravel-filled backing vocals to the delicious duets, "You Really Got A Hold On Me" and "I Should Have Known Better." Yes, this is a musical outing that would fit into your grandmother's record collection - but let's face it, some of our grandmothers are made of awesome.

The album's lyrics take us back to a simpler time, when symbolism had yet to be invented. On "Take It Back" Zooey declares, I don’t wanna wonder/whether you love me/I don’t wanna wonder whether you care. 2008 translation: She's wants to know if the unnamed boy cares. By the time "I Was Made For You" rolls around, she's tired of wondering and grows more forward, announcing I've been waiting a long long time for a boy like you. While I can't be sure, I'm pretty sure "She" might be declaring her affections for an unnamed "Him." Just a guess.

I kid, but judging by my overly-expository intro, you've probably guessed my true feelings. Blessed with a CD collection full of hopeless romantics only willing to wear their hearts on their sleeves as long as they're cloaked with any number of seventh-grade poetry class metaphors, She & Him's sweet straight-forward music is a welcome change...even for the (occasionally) cynical would-be hipster.

mp3: "Magic Trick (live Music For Readymakers Vol.3)" by She & Him
mp3: "You Really Got A Hold On Me (live Music For Readymakers Vol.3)" by She & Him

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