Thursday, May 29, 2008

Our Famous Classmate

I wanted to know how many people have heard the She & Him record by Allison Hall's own Zooey Deschanel. Since my only prior experience with her and music was watching her in the chorus of "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum" directed by Jen Bender, I was somewhat skeptical of the whole deal.

I've since listened to the album and downloaded it from eMusic, and I have to say I really do like it. First of all, Zooey is a legitimately great vocalist. There are traces of Neko Case there, which would already be enough to sign me up. But beyond this, there are some really good tracks on there. Whether it's an issue of her being a master chanteuse or M. Ward being a master enabler, it doesn't really matter. This is some good listening.

I guess the obvious reference point sound-wise would be 70's California country-rock, a la The Flying Burrito Brothers, meeting Linda Ronstadt or someone like that. A lot of the vibe sounds like other M. Ward stuff, but Zooey is listed as the sole songwriter on most tracks. Also, there are a few covers tossed in, which are probably the only weak links on the album.

Anyway, this has been a pleasant surprise. Would be interested to know what others think.


Via Chicago said...

Well, that was indeed a pleasant surprise. Glad you posted that. I know nothing of this M. Ward character, and honestly didn't know Zooey at all at school. But obviously I noticed this coming out and was somewhat intrigued. And yeah, this is a really good little song. I think your Linda Ronstadt / Flying Burrito Bros claim is pretty dead on. I may have to actually pick this album up.

Unless of course, someone out there strongly disagrees...

texplush said...

I say get M.Ward's albums first. His Post War was in my top five of 2006, if I remember correctly (and right up your alley, Via). He is definitely one of my favorite producers. And his voice is killer. His songs = also great. Therefore, She and Him is really an M.Ward album with only 1 out of 3 of the things i like about M.Ward albums.
However, if girl group nostalgia is what you're after, there are certainly worse ways to spend your time, i.e. the dreadful Pipettes.