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Christmas Party

She & Him

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Christmas Party is the second collection of Christmas covers from Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, who write and perform together as She & Him. Their sixth LP in total, it follows the duo's 2014 non-holiday covers album Classics and sticks to an established area of expertise: broadly, 20th century pop. Unlike Classics, which featured a 20-piece orchestra, Christmas Party brings a core combo of guitar, bass, and drums to the soirée, along with a healthy dose of reverb and a handful of embellishments. Guest performers include Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth, who plays drums on over half of the album. Drawing mostly from the post-"White Christmas" holiday song heyday of the '40s and '50s, but from other decades as well, it includes a version of the ubiquitous '90s hit "All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey, which opens the set. Different enough to make it worth tackling, this rendition offers the warm, velvety tone of Deschanel along with a Phil Spector girl group philosophy on an arrangement that includes the full band, saxophone, and group backing vocals. Later, Ward takes the lead on "Run Run Rudolph," with backing singers that include Deschanel and the Chapin Sisters, though Ward's guitar is the star of the song. A more underrepresented classic here is "Christmas Memories," a song written for Frank Sinatra in 1975 by Don Costa and Alan and Marilyn Bergman, the latter two of whom also penned the number-one hit “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers" with Neil Diamond. Though She & Him's version loses the powerful poignancy of an aging Sinatra, they treat the song with care, and Deschanel's sweeter take still longs for celebrations lost to time. It and other lesser-known selections, namely folk singer Vashti Bunyan's "The Coldest Night of the Year," mix in well with more popular tracks like "Happy Holiday," a restrained "Let It Snow!" and a country edition of "Winter Wonderland" with vocals by Deschanel and Jenny Lewis. That's because Ward and Deschanel put their distinctive stamp of vocal-era velveteen and early rock rhythms on the set as a whole. Like many a Christmas collection, the record becomes less elegant on sillier tunes like "Must Be Santa" (derived from a German drinking song) and a strangely plaintive version of the Chipmunks' "Christmas Don't Be Late." These diversions are limited, though, and, remarkably, don't include a rather beautiful rendition of "Mele Kalikimaka." Taken together, Christmas Party is a charmer. ~ Marcy Donelson

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Christmas Party

She & Him

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1
All I Want for Christmas Is You 00:04:19

She & Him, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Mariah Carey, Composer, Lyricist - Zooey Deschanel - M. Ward, Guitar, Piano, Producer - Walter Afanasieff, Composer, Lyricist - Steve Shelley, Drums - Catherine Popper, Bass - Doug Weiselman, Saxophone - Jenny Lewis - Adam Selzer - SCOTT MCCAUGHEY - Alia Farah - Darren Hanlon - Shelley Short - TOM SCHICK, Engineer - Andre Kelman, Assistant Engineer - Tucker Martine, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Keegan Curry, Assistant Engineer - Justin Chase, Assistant Engineer - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer

(P) 2016 Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Let It Snow 00:02:12

She & Him, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Sammy Cahn, Lyricist - Jule Styne, Composer - M. Ward, Guitar, Producer - TOM SCHICK, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Andre Kelman, Assistant Engineer - Tucker Martine, Engineer - Mark Greenberg, Assistant Engineer - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer - Zooey Deschanel - Steve Shelley, Drums - Catherine Popper, Bass

(P) 2016 Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
Must Be Santa 00:02:17

She & Him, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Hal Moore, Composer, Lyricist - Zooey Deschanel - Bill Fredericks, Composer, Lyricist - Jenny Lewis - M. Ward, Guitar, Producer - Mark Powers, Drums - Catherine Popper, Bass - James Felice, Accordion - Paul Brainard, Trumpet - Adam Selzer - SCOTT MCCAUGHEY - Alia Farah - Darren Hanlon - Shelley Short - TOM SCHICK, Engineer - Andre Kelman, Assistant Engineer - Tucker Martine, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Keegan Curry, Assistant Engineer - Justin Chase, Assistant Engineer - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer

(P) 2016 Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
Happy Holiday 00:02:12

She & Him, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Irving Berlin, Composer, Lyricist - Zooey Deschanel - Elsie Pechenik, Bells - M. Ward, Guitar, Organ, Producer - Steve Shelley, Drums - Catherine Popper, Bass - Jacob Pechenik, Bells - TOM SCHICK, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Andre Kelman, Assistant Engineer - Tucker Martine, Engineer - Mark Greenberg, Assistant Engineer - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer

(P) 2016 Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
Mele Kalikimaka 00:02:44

She & Him, Associated Performer, Main Artist - R. Alex Anderson, Composer, Lyricist - Zooey Deschanel - M. Ward, Guitar, Producer - Paul Brainard, Steel Guitar - Lily Chapin - Abigail Chapin - TOM SCHICK, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Andre Kelman, Assistant Engineer - Tucker Martine, Engineer - Mark Greenberg, Assistant Engineer - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer

(P) 2016 Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

6
Christmas Memories 00:02:50

She & Him, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Domenick Costa, Composer, Lyricist - Zooey Deschanel - Alan Bergman, Composer, Lyricist - M. Ward, Guitar, Producer - Steve Shelley, Drums - Catherine Popper, Bass - Marilyn Bergman, Composer, Lyricist - TOM SCHICK, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Andre Kelman, Assistant Engineer - Tucker Martine, Engineer - Mark Greenberg, Assistant Engineer - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer

(P) 2016 Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

7
Run Run Rudolph 00:02:53

She & Him, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Johnny Marks, Composer, Lyricist - M. Ward, Guitar, Producer - Marvin Brodie, Composer, Lyricist - Zooey Deschanel, Piano - Steve Shelley, Drums - Catherine Popper, Bass - SCOTT MCCAUGHEY, Bass - Lily Chapin - Abigail Chapin - TOM SCHICK, Engineer - Andre Kelman, Assistant Engineer - Tucker Martine, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Keegan Curry, Assistant Engineer - Justin Chase, Assistant Engineer - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer - Alia Farah - Darren Hanlon - Shelley Short

(P) 2016 Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
Winter Wonderland 00:02:37

She & Him, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Zooey Deschanel - Félix Bernard, Composer - Jenny Lewis - M. Ward, Guitar, Producer - Richard B. Smith, Lyricist - TOM SCHICK, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Andre Kelman, Assistant Engineer - Tucker Martine, Engineer - Mark Greenberg, Assistant Engineer - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer - Paul Brainard, Steel Guitar

(P) 2016 Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

9
The Coldest Night of the Year 00:03:34

She & Him, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Cynthia Weil, Composer, Lyricist - Zooey Deschanel - Barry Mann, Composer, Lyricist - M. Ward, Guitar, Organ, Producer - TOM SCHICK, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Andre Kelman, Assistant Engineer - Tucker Martine, Engineer - Mark Greenberg, Assistant Engineer - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer - Steve Shelley, Drums - Catherine Popper, Bass

(P) 2016 Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

10
A Marshmallow World 00:01:57

She & Him, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Carl Sigman, Lyricist - M. Ward, Guitar, Producer - Peter deRose, Composer - TOM SCHICK, Engineer - Andre Kelman, Assistant Engineer - Tucker Martine, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Keegan Curry, Assistant Engineer - Justin Chase, Assistant Engineer - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer - Zooey Deschanel - Steve Shelley, Drums - Catherine Popper, Bass

(P) 2016 Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

11
The Man with the Bag 00:02:07

She & Him, Associated Performer, Main Artist - M. Ward, Guitar, Producer - TOM SCHICK, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Andre Kelman, Assistant Engineer - Dudley Brooks, Composer, Lyricist - Tucker Martine, Engineer - Hal Stanley, Composer, Lyricist - Mark Greenberg, Assistant Engineer - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer - Irving Taylor, Composer, Lyricist - Zooey Deschanel - Steve Shelley, Drums - Catherine Popper, Bass

(P) 2016 Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

12
Christmas Don't Be Late 00:02:29

She & Him, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Ross Bagdasarian, Composer, Lyricist - Zooey Deschanel, Ukulele - M. Ward, Guitar, Piano, Producer - TOM SCHICK, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Andre Kelman, Assistant Engineer - Tucker Martine, Engineer - Mark Greenberg, Assistant Engineer - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer - Paul Brainard, Steel Guitar

(P) 2016 Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

Album Description

Christmas Party is the second collection of Christmas covers from Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, who write and perform together as She & Him. Their sixth LP in total, it follows the duo's 2014 non-holiday covers album Classics and sticks to an established area of expertise: broadly, 20th century pop. Unlike Classics, which featured a 20-piece orchestra, Christmas Party brings a core combo of guitar, bass, and drums to the soirée, along with a healthy dose of reverb and a handful of embellishments. Guest performers include Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth, who plays drums on over half of the album. Drawing mostly from the post-"White Christmas" holiday song heyday of the '40s and '50s, but from other decades as well, it includes a version of the ubiquitous '90s hit "All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey, which opens the set. Different enough to make it worth tackling, this rendition offers the warm, velvety tone of Deschanel along with a Phil Spector girl group philosophy on an arrangement that includes the full band, saxophone, and group backing vocals. Later, Ward takes the lead on "Run Run Rudolph," with backing singers that include Deschanel and the Chapin Sisters, though Ward's guitar is the star of the song. A more underrepresented classic here is "Christmas Memories," a song written for Frank Sinatra in 1975 by Don Costa and Alan and Marilyn Bergman, the latter two of whom also penned the number-one hit “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers" with Neil Diamond. Though She & Him's version loses the powerful poignancy of an aging Sinatra, they treat the song with care, and Deschanel's sweeter take still longs for celebrations lost to time. It and other lesser-known selections, namely folk singer Vashti Bunyan's "The Coldest Night of the Year," mix in well with more popular tracks like "Happy Holiday," a restrained "Let It Snow!" and a country edition of "Winter Wonderland" with vocals by Deschanel and Jenny Lewis. That's because Ward and Deschanel put their distinctive stamp of vocal-era velveteen and early rock rhythms on the set as a whole. Like many a Christmas collection, the record becomes less elegant on sillier tunes like "Must Be Santa" (derived from a German drinking song) and a strangely plaintive version of the Chipmunks' "Christmas Don't Be Late." These diversions are limited, though, and, remarkably, don't include a rather beautiful rendition of "Mele Kalikimaka." Taken together, Christmas Party is a charmer. ~ Marcy Donelson

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