She & Him
She & Him is a veteran of whipping up light and catchy pop songs with an amiable retro style, and in their latest album, Volume 3, the duo of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward delivers another golden collection of vintage songs to breeze listeners through an upcoming summer. It is what is expected of the two talented musicians, but it is also the musical recipe that is enjoyed the most by longtime fans and new listeners alike.
The bright melodies pour into listeners’ ears with the bouncy yet scornful opener “I’ve Got Your Number, Son,” and consistently flow throughout the album thanks to our generation’s Patsy Cline in singer and songwriter Deschanel and her sentimental and inviting vocals.
The catchy hooks are sugary infections, humming their way into your subconscious before you have a chance to defend yourself. But this is not a warning, it is an invitation to let the easy-going sensation of Deschanel’s vocals and Ward’s folksy arrangements with a refreshing Beach Boys twist guide the start of the sunny season.
But underneath the sugary surface of the album lies a hardened maturity and sophistication that go past lost love or life in the clouds. Listeners may be surprised to hear Deschanel writes almost all of She & Him’s lyrics. Many see Deschanel as either charming or annoying due to her status as a prominent figure of the Bubbly Sundress Movement (not real), but there is an intellectual sentimentality to her on Volume 3 that is rarely seen on her quirky television show “New Girl.”
While maintaining the album’s light mood, Deschanel dives into the anxieties of being forgotten as she reluctantly sings, “I think I could fade away/ in the light of an ever sunny day/but I’m stronger than the picture that you took/ before you left” in the standout “Turn To White.”
But do not try and meticulously search for the layers of meaning in She & Him’s poppy, summer sing-alongs first. Go into Volume 3 with ease, invite all of the hooks and harmonies in and soon enough the song’s richer connotations will blossom.
Deschanel and Ward provide listeners all the parts for an ideal summer album, as long as listeners give the right amount of time to hear everything it has to offer.
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