I must be softening in my old age – I’ve found a She & Him album I don’t hate. Classics refers to the covers chosen, it’s not a compilation of this duo’s “best” moments, though it ends up (for me) being very much a Best of She & Him, the duo playing to their strengths within their so-cute-it’s-obnoxious artisanal-music hipster-backwash. (Can’t you tell I’m just gushing with praise here…)
But this is a giant step up, for the duo and for me – in admitting I found/took some warmth in this set of sounds, you see I loathed Volume 3 and I hadn’t at all been pleased with the band’s previous volumes. Something keeps luring me back…I even owned the Christmas album for a short time. That something, most obviously, is M. Ward. Between She & Him records he continues to knock it out of the park on his own, and he was always the reason I was interested in this duo. Zooey Deschanel, as poster-child for quirky-hipster bait, has never been the lure.
But here the song choice is on point, perennials for millennials (hey, that could have been the name/sub-title – shit, now I’m giving them ideas for further volumes!) And what really sells it I think is the involvement of the orchestra, so we’re not getting enveloped by Ms Zooey and her ukulele. Instead it’s (far more) about the song than has previously been the case.
I can’t summon the love for this that you’ll read elsewhere, but I took something from Zooey and M’s versions of We’ll Meet Again and She and Unchained Melody and This Girl’s In Love With You – and these are all songs that never need covering ever again, so to step up means you have to have some new way, and some level of respect, there has to be some effort, some reason.
I think that’s the other thing I find here – more effort than previously has been the case. It’s not all bundled up as some elegant toss-off; again that’ll be the involvement of the orchestra. You get the suits and evening dresses in on the payroll and you (have to) mean business.
I liked this far more than I expected. I don’t mind having it around. Previously I’ve wanted to punch cocks, er, willy-nilly, just for She & Him records existing. It appears, right up until that last sentence anyway, I might actually be growing up.