She & Him (a.k.a. M. Ward and New Girl‘s Zooey Deschanel) just announced the upcoming release and tracklist of their new covers album, Classics. Set for release on December 2nd, Classics will include She & Him’s interpretation of a wide range of “golden oldies” — from Broadyway and Bacharach to Sinatra and Dusty Springfield.
1. “Stars Fell on Alabama”
2. “Oh No, Not My Baby”
3. “It’s Not for Me to Say”
4. “Stay Awhile”
5. “This Girl’s in Love With You”
6. “Time After Time”
8. “Teach Me Tonight”
9. “It’s Always You”
10. “Unchained Melody”
11. “I’ll Never Be Free”
12. “Would You Like to Take a Walk”
13. “We’ll Meet Again”
She & Him’s Volume 3 was one of my most anticipated albums of the year. Regular readers know I’m a big fan of She & Him’s first two albums and have loved Zooey Deschanel’s voice since her Elf days. So it’s with a heavy heart that I must give Volume 3 a less than positive review.
I tried, really I did. I’ve played the album on repeat for weeks and told myself I was being overly cynical. I took it on sunny day drives and endeavored to just enjoy the music without thinking about this review. But every single time I play it, the first half of the album just annoys me.
Zooey’s voice is still very pretty and M Ward’s instrumentation is lush as always, but the problems lies in the lyrical structure of certain tracks.
The opener “I’ve Got Your Number, Son” isn’t terrible, but I always hit skip half way through tracks 2 through 4 due to their repetitive nature. “Never Wanted Your Love” and “I Could’ve Been Your Girl” were ok as singles, but I find them extremely irksome in the context of the album – where they are lumped together with the gooey “Baby.” It feels like a paint-by-numbers approach to songwriting – write one verse and one chorus, then put ’em on a loop for the duration of the track. Rinse and repeat for the next four songs. Honestly, after hearing One Mile An Hour‘s beautiful, thoughtful debut, Volume 3‘s shallow construct sadly reminded me of the South Park episode in which manatees randomly cobble together Family Guy shows.
But perhaps that’s overly harsh for what’s obviously meant to be a light bit o’ pop. The new dance party video for “I Could’ve Been Your Girl,” which you can watch below, is cute at least.
The second half of the album is a completely different story and emphasizes why I dislike the beginning so much. When She & Him are good, they are really, really good. The album’s strength lies in the lower key melodies, which showcase both the lovely depth of Zooey’s voice and the intricacies of Ward’s playing.
The pretty piano ballad “London” is by far the standout track.
I also adore “Turn to White,” which features the heart-punch lyric “I’m stronger than the picture that you took before you left.”
Other highlights are the cover of “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” and “Snow Queen.”
So I at least recommend buying those four mp3s. I just don’t see myself listening to the entire Volume 3 album as much as I have its spectacular predecessors – particularly Volume Two, which has become my default road trip CD.
She & Him (a.k.a. New Girl star Zooey Deschanel and singer-songwriter M. Ward) are sharing another song from their upcoming album, Volume 3. She & Him thankfully don’t seem to be deviating from their summery retro pop sound. If it ain’t broke and all that. You can stream “I Could’ve Been Your Girl” below and their first single, “Never Wanted Your Love,” is still streamable in our March post. Volume 3 will be released on May 7th.
She & Him (a.k.a. Zooey Deschanel & M. Ward) will release Volume 3 on May 7th. An album of 11 new, original songs and 3 covers, Volume 3 will feature guest appearances by Mike Watt, Tilly & the Wall and members of Rilo Kiley and Devotchka. You can hear the album’s first sunny single, “Never Wanted Your Love,” and view the album’s track list below…
Volume 3 Tracklist
1. I’ve Got Your Number, Son
2. Never Wanted Your Love
4. I Could’ve Been Your Girl
5. Turn to White
6. Somebody Sweet to Talk To
7. Something’s Haunting You
9. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me
10. Snow Queen
11. Sunday Girl
13. Shadow of Love
14. Reprise (I Could’ve Been Your Girl)
Rave On Buddy Holly will be released on June 28th and you can stream the album in its entirety below. With a cast of superstar singers like Florence + The Machine, Fiona Apple, Patti Smith, She & Him and Lou Reed, I’m not at all surprised that I love this new tribute to rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Buddy Holly.
First, the spectacular: I would’ve written this review much sooner had I not been listening to Florence + The Machine‘s cover of “Not Fade Away” on repeat. The Machine saves Buddy Holly’s trademark quirks for their clanging, banging-industrial-sized-pots-and-pans arrangement, allowing lead singer Florence Welch to unleash all the unearthly wails and gorgeous vibratto of her magnificent voice.
Fiona Apple and Jon Brion opt for a simpler, splendidly tinkling, truer-to-original rendition of “Everyday.” Who knew Fiona Apple was a folk singer?
Nevermind that, who knew that Kid Rock was a soul singer? I do now thanks to his wonderfully brassed up cover of “Well…All Right.” He needs to drop the country-rap stuff and collaborate with Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears.
Julian Casanblancas’ moody “Rave On,” Jenny O.’s cooing “I’m Gonna Love You, Too,” She & Him’s retro dance party “Oh Boy!,” and the legendary Patti Smith’s soulful rendering of “Words of Love” are also stand outs.
Elsewhere, Cee Lo Green reminds me why I loved Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” but couldn’t stomach his tepid new solo pop album. Cee Lo’s unusual pipes can be so powerful, but he requires an interesting and solid arrangement to bring out the best in his voice. The Caribbean chimes and percussion of “(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care” is the perfect song for him.
Other highlights on the tribute include Karen Elson’s “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” (featuring Elson’s husband Jack White), Nick Lowe’s “Changing All The Changes,” My Morning Jacket’s “True Love Ways” and The Detroit Cobras’ “Heartbeat.”
But, ugh, Modest Mouse’s dreary, deadpan “That’ll Be The Day” reminds me why I always referred to that surge of irksome, post-Death Cab “indie-rock” boy bands as “mouse rock.” It’s the only track on the album I skip every time.
Rave On Buddy Holly gives a solid finish, however, with a trio of covers by Lou Reed, John Doe and Graham Nash.