She & Him

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Genre: Rock & Pop
Artist/Group Name: She & Him
Release Date: 10/28/2016
Original Release Date: 2016
Length of CD: 32:14
Label: Columbia (USA)
# of Discs: 1
Total Time: 32:14

Disc 1
1. All I Want for Christmas Is You
2. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
3. Must Be Santa
4. Happy Holiday
5. Mele Kalikimaka
6. Christmas Memories
7. Run Run Rudolph
8. Winter Wonderland
9. Coldest Night of the Year, The
10. Marshmallow World, A
11. Man with the Bag, The
12. Christmas Don't Be Late

Release Notes

Audio Mixer: Tom Schick.
Recording information: Flora Recording & Playback, Portland, OR; Oscilloscope Studios, New York, NY.
Editor: Tucker Martine.
Photographer: Dan Winters.
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 soir?e, 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 rhythm on the set as a whole. Of note, that includes a rare, rather beautiful rendition of "Mele Kalikimaka." Taken together, Christmas Party is, unsurprisingly, a charmer. ~ Marcy Donelson


Recording Type: n/a

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