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She & Him’s Volume Two: Simply Delightful

Courtney Cox | Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Volume Two, the long awaited She & Him album has finally arrived. Well maybe not long awaited, but certainly highly anticipated. Since the group’s debut album in 2008, the question has been whether or not the duo of Matt Ward and Zooey Deschanel would continue their musical partnership beyond one album. When the announcement of their new album hit the Internet, fans let out a sigh of relief. The first album left listeners pleasantly surprised and the second doesn’t disappoint.
The album starts out with “Thieves.” The song is about remaining somewhat depressed following a breakup. Deschanel wrote: “Sometimes lonely isn’t sad.” The lyrics are definitely interesting when placed next to the lyricist’s own life. For quite a bit of time, she dated Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie before settling down and marrying the singer this past September. It doesn’t seem like she’s all that lonely. In many ways, it is as if she is singing to and for the listener instead of singing about herself. It’s a great song because it portrays sadness in a very hopeful way. It’s definitely a solid opener to the album.
One of the most interesting aspects of the album is the way the cover songs seem to fit so seamlessly into the rest of Deschanel’s original lyrics. One of the most enjoyable covers is “Ridin’ in My Car.” It’s so fantastic because it adds vocals from Matt into the mix. The two join together for an extremely pleasant duet. The best part of it is that they’re not singing together as a duet, but rather it should be imagined as the two of them driving in separate cars just singing to themselves. It provokes inspiration as far as imagery is concerned and blends in very well with the rest of the album.
The other cover, “Gonna Get Along Without You Now,” is a great addition to the album. The word choice fits Deschanel so perfectly and yet it wasn’t even written with her in mind. The 1950’s feel suits her voice as well. She really delivers on a song driven mostly by vocal melodies. While cover songs have always been a signature of She & Him —  (including their Smiths cover in “500 Days of Summer” — the songs really showcase the talent that both musicians have.
“Home” is one of the most straightforward and direct songs on the album. There are many songs about the concept of home, but this one truly captures what home is. The lyrics don’t waste any time; California is the very first word and it’s clearly what Deschanel views as home. Despite the link to her own home, she still manages to make the song universal. The best line in the song is: “It doesn’t get better than home now does it.” She says it in a manner that is so simple and relaxed that it truly does feel like home. Home is often also equated with love and Deschanel doesn’t neglect that at all. She writes: “I want to be where your heart is home.” The music is just as good as the lyrics in its simple message and simple choice of melody.
Without a doubt the best song on the album is “In the Sun.” It has the same advice that a mother would give, but it sounds so much more appealing in Deschanel’s voice. She sings, “we all get the slip sometimes every day” and reassures the listener that everything’s going to be okay. The resounding chorus of “It’s alright! It’s okay!” is undeniably happy. It is also accompanied by one of the most pleasant music videos in the history of music videos. If you had any reason to wonder, now why would I ever be a fan of Zooey Deschanel, then you simply must watch this video. She sings and dances and just about charms the pants off anyone who watches.
Volume Two exceeds the expectations of those who enjoyed of Volume One and if we’re lucky Volume Three will be soon to come.