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Volume One

185 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 18, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This is the musical debut from M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel, paired together by director Martin Hayens to perform the Richard and Linda Thompson tune "When I Get To The Border" for his film "The Go-Getter". Their match sparked the idea for "Volume One". Limited touring this spring.

Some of us first fell in love with Zooey Deschanel's distinctive and charming voice when she crooned, "Baby it’s cold outside," with Will Ferrell in their 2003 movie, Elf. Then, in concert last summer, M.Ward invited Deschanel to the stage, where they effortlessly created the equivalent of musical utopia. In their first recorded collaboration as She & Him, Deschanel and Ward strike the same sincerity with his nostalgic production and her retro resonance. Cover songs such as "You Really Got a Hold on Me," previously performed by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, gain a newfound heartache and undeniable splendor. Bring on Volume 2. --Amanda MacKinnon

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Sentimental Heart
  2. Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?
  3. This Is Not A Test
  4. Change Is Hard
  5. I Thought I Saw Your Face Today
  6. Take It Back
  7. I Was Made For You
  8. You Really Gotta Hold On Me
  9. Black Hole
  10. Got Me
  11. I Should Have Known Better
  12. Sweet Darlin'

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 18, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Merge Records
  • ASIN: B0012IWHQO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,794 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

168 of 174 people found the following review helpful By S. Yates on April 17, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Zooey Deschanel is definitely a child of California's better nature. On her and M. Ward's first record, she harks back to the golden era of the Golden State, somewhere between Sweetheart of the Rodeo and Heart Like a Wheel, when singer-songwriters from all corners of the US, Canada, and Britain were all in Cali making laid-back, radio-friendly records with a country bent. From the first listen, it's clear how steeped she is in her parents' record collection. (They were both active in Hollywood during that time, so I'm assuming it's their influence. NB - Her father Caleb did the cinematography for A Woman Under the Influence. +1000 Cali points.)

OK, so that might not be everyone's cup of tea. I've seen 1-star reviews on here deriding this record as pedestrian fluff, and fair game, I suppose. A lot of great records are pedestrian fluff by that reckoning. Carole King's Tapestry, for instance, divides a lot of music lovers. Is a record "Easy Listening" just because it's easy to listen to? Some people prefer mutton to lamb because they like to have something to chew on, and who am I to tell them that's wrong?

It's really about what you grew up with. Put on
...Read more ›
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Invisigoth on May 2, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I agree, it's not exactly re-inventing the wheel but Volume One from She & Him is a solidly enjoyable listen. Zooey Deschanel channels Petula Clark while M. Ward duly fills in the 60s blanks. What's not to like? The production is lovingly detailed, creating cozy spaces for the listener to relax. The opening track, "Sentimental Heart", is a good example. Try listening to it on headphones and you can enjoy the dueling piano and staccato violin that build up to the bright sunshine of the outro. "I Was Made For You" is another highlight, though not wholly original. If you've cruised by an oldies radio station, you'll swear that the drum, guitar riff, and backing vocals have been nicked from somewhere else and you're probably right. But come on, look me in the eye and tell me it doesn't rock, motherf%#!

There are a few covers scattered here and there but Deschanel gets full songwriting credit for the bulk of the songs, which is quite impressive. The songs are thoughtfully constructed, the melodies strong, and the lyrics heartfelt. The only negatives are that Deschanel's vocal range is limited (or perhaps not on display) and she has a goes overboard on belting out certain syllables. Still though, I think pretty much any musician would be envious of Deschanel's singing and songwriting talent.

Lastly, it's nice to see Hollywood types crossing over to the music realm in a non-painful manner (for once). I mean, sweet merciful Allah on a cross! What on earth were you thinking Scarlett Johansson?

P.S. To the reviewer who commented that the vocals sound like she's singing into a toilet: it's called plate reverb.
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66 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Moten Swing on April 28, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Let's stop talking about who she is, and let's focus on how she does. Ms. Deschanel does not have a strong voice, but it is sincere and sweet. I've read reviews of their shows, and she can be nervous at the start--likely because she doesn't project that well, but also because these songs are very dear to her. There is no irony here, nothing sardonic--no hiding behind the cool pose. She puts it all out there, as best she can, and it brings back the California/country AM radio of the 1970s. It's very likable, if not too profound or ambitious.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Todd and In Charge VINE VOICE on April 22, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I agree with the reviewer who said this record requires a few listens before its charms open up -- it's a subtle record, but there is a lot going on beneath the surface.

Zooey is quite clearly a talented singer and songwriter. Anyone who heard her sing "Baby It's Cold Outside" from Elf, or the songs she sang for the soundtrack to "Winter Passing," knows she has the voice.

On this record, she cuts a number of absolutely charming, quirky tunes, but ones that require some active listening to appreciate. M. Ward provides deft, responsive backup and arrangements.

My primary gripe here is with the production -- for some reason the producers put Zooey's voice a bit too far back in the mix, and it on occasion can sound a bit thin -- this is in contrast to the full-bodied voice we heard on Elf.

Next time, get a production who can add some fullness to the production all-around, but for a first record this one is a winner.

Zooey, you have my "Sentimental Heart" without question.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By eyes N ears on July 13, 2010
Format: Audio CD
There was another reviewer who nailed it, she sounds like she's singing to a metronome. You can almost keep time with the seconds ticking by as she sings...tick tock tick tock...
I thought her singing in Elf was excellent but this is just not the same Zooey Dechanel. She's hesitant, distant and afraid to dive in. She's really holding back. It's a shame because she can do much better. Her voice just doesn't fit with these songs. Her best efforts will be in a Norah Jones vein singing sultry torch songs. ZD's rendition of "Baby It's Cold Outside" shows what she can do when she's motivated. She just doesn't sound motivated here. She sounds scared.
Too bad. But I'm sure time and experience will overcome a lot of that. Others loved Volume One. For me it was a swing-and-a-miss. I'm also not a big fan of her song writing and that doesn't help either.
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Indie Music Only good about half the time?
Maybe I'm not as discerning a listener as you all, but I find I don't have the time to consume all the great music so many bands I like are putting out. In 2012, Craig Finn's solo album, Clear Heart, Full Eyes, the Heartless Bastards, The Arrow, The Walkmen's Heaven, Murder By Death's Bitter... Read More
Dec 10, 2012 by J. Luiz |  See all 4 posts
I just listened to "Why Do You Let Me Say Here?"
Thank you, this song gives me a much better idea of the album :). She is slated to appear on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson tonight =)
May 1, 2008 by Amazon Customer |  See all 2 posts
if m ward were the beatles
M. Ward is not the Beatles, and this is not a half bad album. It's just a little nostalgic candy.
Oct 24, 2009 by Douglas D. Evans |  See all 4 posts
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