She & Him
A Very She & Him Christmas
While she had undoubtedly some small memorable roles before it, Zooey Deschanel’s shower duet with Will Ferrell in Elf of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” was in many ways a declaration of her multi-talented persona. Since, she has starred in big summer comedies (500 Days of Summer, Yes Man), put out two solid retro-pop albums of originals and standards with M. Ward under the She & Him moniker, and most recently, starred in the clichéd yet pleasant new sitcom New Girl. So now at the height of Zooey mania, the quirky star returns to Christmas with what seems like a perfect fit in A Very She & Him Christmas. However, while racked with its share of nice renditions of standards, A Very She & Him Christmas is more like a lukewarm cup of hot chocolate; sweet but stale.
A Very She & Him Christmas opens with “The Christmas Waltz”, one of the finer cuts on the album, which sways along pleasantly and is affectionately sung by Deschanel, with the song even employing a piano solo which sounds like something Linus would play on A Charlie Brown Christmas. That follows with the Beach Boys classic “Christmas Day”, which gives off a nice country rockabilly vibe shining through the sunny vocals and production.
At other points, standards like “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” are done in fairly mundane fashion, which are sung and delivered extremely ordinarily despite being backed by some subtly good guitar work from M. Ward. Even when they go the other way, and take on a more daring rendition like “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, the version seem to falls far short of the classically sung version she did on Elf. Another Beach Boys Christmas song in “Little Saint Nick” feels a little under-sung, though it does work well in contrast to the chorale harmonies.
There are a few songs that no doubt lend themselves well to She & Him’s retro rock ‘n’ roll style. “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” works quite well as it employs some classic Sun Studios style production particular on the keys and guitar work below Zooey’s cutesy country croon. “Blue Christmas” also lends itself well to her June Carter Cash persona, as classic country tunes seem to fit her voice better than anything else.
It would have also been nice to see the two write an original or two, considering they have shown a knack for classic songwriting. But all this to be said, A Very She &Him Christmas would still be lovely while opening up your Christmas gifts, but I recommend sticking with Bing Crosby (and David Bowie?!?).
Can’t Miss: “Christmas Waltz”, “The Christmas Song”, “Christmas Day”
Can’t Hit: “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, “Silver Bells”