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Pop indé - Released October 28, 2016 | Columbia

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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Alternatif et Indé - Released November 28, 2014 | Columbia

While the release of another standards album doesn't always elicit cries of celebration, some artists are perfectly suited to such a task. Taking a romp around their own bailiwick is a breeze for pop classicists like She & Him, who offer up this platter of elegantly conceived cover songs that resembles the very source material that probably inspired their first three albums of original fare. The warm, vintage pop, jazz, and country that Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward have always seemed so smitten with comes to life on Classics. This impeccably arranged set was largely recorded live with a 20-piece orchestra fleshing out romantic chestnuts like "Stars Fell on Alabama" and the Johnny Mathis classic "It's Not for Me to Say." With her sweet, winsome lilt, Deschanel has never really felt like a rock singer, and she seems completely in her element here interpreting these classy 20th century gems in a throwback style. Their take on Dusty Springfield's "Stay Awhile" sounds like vintage She & Him, while the rich orchestrations on songs like "Oh No, Not My Baby" and "This Girl's in Love with You" add a nice, sophisticated touch to their sound. Ward has plenty of chances to dispense his nimbly played, jazzy guitar tones throughout the set and takes over lead vocals on the understated "She" with Deschanel layering some wistful, lush backing vocals behind him. As on previous releases, the counterpoint of Deschanel's velvety croon and Ward's rugged baritone allows for some generally charming duets, and they pull off their best Ella & Louis imitation on the carefree "Would You Like to Take a Walk?" As a whole, the songs are well-dressed and very easy on the ears. Classics is meant to be pure entertainment and even though most of these songs have been sung before by a variety of other artists, in the hands of She & Him, it comes off less like a novelty and instead sits very comfortably in their growing catalog of fine releases. ~ Timothy Monger
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Pop - Released April 25, 2018 | Legacy Recordings

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Alternatif et Indé - Released November 4, 2014 | Columbia

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Alternatif et Indé - Released December 8, 2014 | Columbia

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Pop - Released April 25, 2018 | Legacy Recordings

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Alternatif et Indé - Released October 30, 2014 | Columbia

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Alternatif et Indé - Released October 27, 2014 | Columbia

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Alternatif et Indé - Released November 10, 2014 | Columbia