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She & Him - Volume Two


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She & Him - Volume Two + Volume One + Volume 3
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 23, 2010)
  • Original Release Date: March 23, 2010
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Merge Records
  • ASIN: B0036BDQ4W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,226 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

What began as a fascinating, no-strings-attached collaboration on 2008's Volume One has evolved into a bona fide, touring band, and She & Him are here to stay. Zooey Deschanel and Matt Ward are a comfortable and complementary musical pair; hearing them again on Volume Two feels like getting together with two old friends. This time, the harmonies have grown more angelically layered, the string arrangements more dramatic, the songwriting even sharper and more confident. All songs (except 4 and 7) written by Zooey Deschanel. Produced by M. Ward.

Customer Reviews

Every song on this album sounds great.
Bob
I would definitely recommend both of their albums for any listener, young or old.
hec_nola
I love Zooey's songwriting, and M. Wards's guitar and production.
Denny Ikiryo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

136 of 141 people found the following review helpful By Rudolph Klapper on March 23, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Volume Two is about as appropriate a title as one could hope for from Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward's second collaborative effort. It's simple, it's straightforward, and it's without a doubt true: where 2008's Volume One was the first example of She & Him's sun-kissed brand of `60s girl-group pop and singer-songwriter folk pastiche, Volume Two is, uh, the second. Volume One consisted of thirteen tracks, three of those covers; Volume Two consists of thirteen songs as well, but ups the ante with only two covers. M. Ward makes only the occasional vocal contribution, preparing to work the production behind the scenes and let his vintage guitar do the talking, as he did on Volume One. Hell, even the album art is eerily similar, with that same slightly creepy faceless girl and a different color scheme. And Zooey is, well, still Zooey, never falling prey to the conceit of oversinging and using that lovely, country-inflected alto to melt Ben Gibbard's heart. In short, it's the same She & Him those who enjoyed Volume One fell in love with, and it's the same She & Him that bored many to tears.

Is this a bad thing? Every listener will have a different opinion, but what it really comes down to is how you like your pop music, and whether you were really expecting any stretches in musical boundaries for Ward and Deschanel. To begin with, She & Him were never a revolutionary idea, merely two friends recalling the sounds of their youth and recreating them with the kind of steady hand and fine point that love and care brings along. They accomplished that effortlessly on their debut, and the results are more or less the same here. "In The Sun" is the same kind of guaranteed hit single (if one lived in the `60s) that "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By William Merrill TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 23, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Rating-wise, I'm with customer Klapper on this one - 3 & 1/2 stars for Zoey & Matt's 2nd release(or "7/10," as he put it). It's a seamless continuation of what the duo did on Volume One, the same style (a throwback to the 50s and 60s), with a child-like simplicity to the melodies, but all very sweet and cheery. M Ward has designed lush backdrops for Ms Deschanel's wistful singing, full of strings, pedal steel, pillowy backing vocals, etc. As for Zoey's singing, she's got a soft touch reminiscent of Nancy Sinatra or Astrud Gilberto. (Again, we're back in the mid 20th Century.) As a songwriter, she has described her creative impulses as being present for many years, the songs just pouring out of her. She writes pretty songs that are light and breezy, but they're also relatively low-impact, forgettable tunes - about two or three tiers below the hit-making songwriting examples she emulates (King & Goffin, Mann & Weil, etc.). In other words, I might find myself vaguely humming bits of one or two of these songs, but I won't know WHAT I'm humming. Overall, Volume One AND Volume Two are both very pleasant listening, but more as background music than as engrossing or involving songs.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By The Headphone Transmissions on March 23, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Volume Two stars our same beloved team, actress Zooey Deschanel and acoustic guitar virtuoso M. Ward.-- Only this time, they're accompanied by a newfound sense of critical anticipation and expectation. Volume One, the duo's debut release, was the 2008 indie favorite, and only two years later, the they're back in the game with thirteen new tracks.

The album definitely has a familiar vibe; somewhere between Beach Boys and Beatles territory, leaving room only for Deschanel's charming vocal prowess and M. Ward's endlessly creative musical understanding. First single "In the Sun" is a respectable starting point for a new listener-- Simple and catchy in tune, and quirky and cute in lyric. The two also tackle a few classic covers (NRBQ's "Ridin' in My Car" and Skeeter Davis's "Gonna Get Along Without You Now"), and these are wonderful renditions that a new set of ears would find appealing.

Other original, Deschanel-penned tunes stand out as well; the sunny, schoolgirl-esque "Lingering Still," the heartbreakingly intimate "Thieves," and the melodically and lyrically clever "Brand New Shoes." In comparison to Volume One material, these songs aren't revolutionary, but they are still very strong tunes that benefit from repeat listens.

A very small few of the tracks, however, have a few itches left unscratched. Pieces like "Over It Over Again" and "Home" are decent tunes, but lack either a boost in lyrical creativity or melodic progression, respectively. "Don't Look Back" also takes a few listens to crack-- The piano arrangement is an obvious recreation of the legendary "In My Life" (Lennon/McCartney) composition, and the chorus melody is borderline repetitive. These small misses, though, do little to weigh the album down as a whole.

Overall, M.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul D. Sandor on March 25, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I've been really resistant to the She & Him project. Why? Here's Why: Ever since Zooey sang so sweetly while showering in Elf, I knew a recording contract was heading her way. I just didn't know if I'd be interested when she put her clothes on. I waited until volume two to give She & Him (Matt Ward) a fair shake. I'm glad I came on board. The record is a pleasant mixture of sixties sunshine pop, Nashville country/folk and Girl band harmonizing bliss.

Talented singer/songwriter/producer Ward stays in the background allowing Ms. Deschanel to put his shine to shame (sorry bout stealing a Belle and Sebastian lyric; it fit so well.) Zooey, as other reviewers have mentioned, has a soft shimmering vocal style reminiscent of Nancy Sinatra. Ward adds layers of smart musical values and vocal harmonizing producing enough happy moments to enhance one's mood and outlook. Like the glimmer of light on a small stream, the music here is pretty but not deep.

The obvious highlights include the first single, In the Sun and the equally infectious Over it Over Again. I actually prefer the quieter Nashville/folk influenced moments presented in songs like Me & You and Sing.

With the weather getting warmer and car tops going down, She & Him provide a perfect soundtrack for spring and the rapidly approaching heat waves of summer. In these tough economic times there's nothing wrong with finding the simpler pleasures in life and enjoying them. Add She & Him to your list of inexpensive yet effective ways to put a smile on your face.
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She & Him - Volume Two
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