‘Tis the season to be jolly! Last year, She & Him (Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward) stuffed stockings with A Very She & Him Christmas. Originating form Portland, the indie duo has been making sweet tunes since 2008. Wrapped with 12 cover songs, A Very She & Him Christmascharms listeners with Christmas classics.
Deschanel serenades while Ward strums away on his acoustic guitar. It all seems too good to be true, and this analogy is exactly where the album went wrong. The problem with A Very She & Him Christmas is that the covers don’t really have a spin to them. They are very laid back—a little too laid back—and lack originality. After a while, the songs sound dull and lose their chime.
Perhaps this compilation would have rung in the new year better with some more instruments added to the mix. Where are all the silver bells and whistles?
Deschanel is labeled as a quirky actress, but on A Very She & Him Christmas, her voice drones and sounds rather flat. Opening the album with “The Christmas Waltz” was not the wisest choice, as the song is so slow that it will make listeners doze off to sleep. Her singing lacks any form of emotion and most importantly, the spirit of Christmas.
The duets give the album a little more spirit; when Deschanel and Ward’s voices intertwine on “Christmas Wish”, it’s like the gates of heaven have opened and angels are floating down to earth. Followed by the upbeat “Sleigh Ride” and “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”, the album takes a quick turn into Winter Wonderland. However, the merry duets don’t last long, and Ward’s gorgeous voice goes back to being silenced by the ukulele.
From here, the album goes south again. She & Him’s cover of “Silver Bells” has to be the most melancholic version my ears have ever heard. Next, Deschanel annoyingly sings, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, making me want to throw snowballs at her to really give her something to whine about. The prolonged “Blue Christmas” accurately defines A Very She & Him Christmas in general—these are not songs that anyone should be playing at their annual Christmas party.
Closing the album with “The Christmas Song” is predictable, but the smartest decision the pair probably made in terms of this album because it’s actually the most decent cover.
A Very She & Him Christmas was a brilliant effort, but She & Him simply tried too hard to make it something that it’s not. Instead of creating a unique Christmas album to crank up on the old record player, Deschanel and Ward produced a slew of abysmal covers that lack in holiday cheer. Fa la la la lame.