In movies like Elf and on television shows like Weeds, actress Zooey Deschanel has perfected the art of playing quirky and endearing women. On albums like Post-War and Transfiguration of Vincent, singer-songwriter M. Ward has cornered the market on quirky and endearing rock. So put the two together in a duo called She & Him, and what do you get? One of the flat-out best pop records of the year.
It’s no revelation that Ward knows how to craft a catchy tune; the real surprise here is Deschanel, who turns out to possess one husky, hypnotic singing voice. Aside from dreamy covers of the Beatles (“I Should Have Known Better”) and Smokey Robinson (“You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me”), the record is a tour de force tribute to female pop: From Wall of Sound–era Ronnie Spector rock and roll to Tammy Wynette–style country, there doesn’t seem to be a style that Deschanel can’t channel perfectly. A supporting player for too long, she’s finally given the spotlight, and she owns every inch of it.
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