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New Christmas Standards?
on October 25, 2011
Zooey Deschanel is quite the charmer. Her acting is adorable and her voice is silk. So how does this new Christmas album from She & Him rate in the endless potpourri of holiday staples? Well, overall, I'd have to say that some of these renditions may very well knock those 1950's classics off their throne. Not every song is classic, but those that are REALLY are. Here's my rundown:
THE UNDENIABLY BRILLIANT:
- The Christmas Waltz. I've never been a huge fan of this song, but She & Him nailed it absolutely perfectly. Zooey's voice has never sounded better, the production is subtle but enhancing. I love love love this song. Will be playing it all Christmas '11 and probably forever after that.
- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. I love how they made this classic even slower and more romantic. It's an amazing mixture beautiful, relaxing, and extremely sexy.
- Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree. A simple kick-snare beat and lush guitar mixes flawlessly with Zooey's voice to provide a live-like effect. It sounds like she's performing right in your living room!
- The Christmas Song. There's a lot of tough competition out there with this song, but She & Him's version is up there with the best.
- I'll Be Home for Christmas. Like "Have Yourself..." the tempo is slowed down a bit for this one too. It doesn't translate quite as well, but still a stunning rendition.
- Christmas Wish. We get to hear more of "Him" on this track, and though he's no Zooey, it provides gorgeous contrast to the rest of the album and is a lovely merry relaxer.
- Sleigh Ride. Unexpectedly mellow for this usually upbeat number, but still works well.
- Christmas Day
- Blue Christmas
- Baby It's Cold Outside. The Christmas song Zooey is probably most famous for (from the movie Elf) is actually the worst track on the album IMO. For some reason the tempo is too fast and there is absolutely no chemistry between the singers. It sounds like they're so worried about singing on cue that they completely left out the story behind the song. Many performers have that problem with this song, but I was really disappointed to hear it on this album.
- Silver Bells. Not unlistenable by any means, but compared to pretty much every other version I've heard of this song, it isn't very good.
- Little Saint Nick. Just not a good match for Zooey's voice, IMO.
Overall, with only 3 so-so songs and about 9 really good if not great numbers, this is 2011's Christmas album to get. The voice and productions are unique, offering great mellowed-out versions of your holiday favorites in a way that hasn't been done before. I can easily recommend the whole album, but if you just feel like buying a single mp3 or two, obviously The Christmas Waltz is the best track on here. Absolutely timeless. Transformed an okay song into a masterpiece.