November 28, 2014

Writing Music: A Very She and Him Christmas

Happy holidays all! I hope you had a good Thursday, whether or not you celebrate.

For this Friday’s Writing Music, I couldn’t resist choosing a Christmas album. This time of year, I listen to Christmas music almost constantly. It’s a part of all my writing music mixes because it just makes me feel good and because it’s the kind of music I can safely fade into the background when I find the zone.

I could have chosen a dozen albums here, but I decided to choose A Very She & Him Christmas because it’s a little bit different from the common popular Christmas albums.

She and Him is a musical duo made up of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. They had released some albums before this 2011 Christmas album, but I honestly had not heard of them prior to this. I only encountered this album because Starbucks gave away one of the tracks that year. I liked that track enough to buy the whole thing, and I’m glad I did.

Like a lot of people, my first impulse for listening to She and Him was “Zooey Deschanel is the vocalist?!” Why yes she is, and a damn fine vocalist at that. Besides the vocals, though, the whole retro vibe to this album is great. I suspect it could be described as “a little bit hipster,” but whatever. It’s good music.

Really, though,  it’s the retro thing that hooks me. We all know that the classic Christmas recordings are the best; who wants to listen to Taylor Swift sing “Santa Baby” when you could listen to Eartha Kitt? Or suffer through Swift trying to out-Wham! “Last Christmas”? Or heck, listen to Swift sing anything at all? It’s rare to find a modern recording that stands up to the oldies. She and Him manage to pull off some excellent renditions, however, with a fair bit of flair.

One interesting song is their recording of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” where they’ve actually reversed the singing roles. The song still holds up, though it takes on a different feel. Musically it’s a bit oddly paced, but still listenable.

I don’t have a lot to say here. Like I said, I listen to a lot of Christmas music. With Thanksgiving past and the season upon us, this one will certainly end up in my playlist between now and December 25th. You should give it a listen (you can hear it on Spotify for free before you buy).

[Incidentally, this holiday season She and Him have a new non-holiday album out. I look forward to picking it up as soon as I have the spare cash.]

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