Monday, January 19, 2009

She & Him

I listen to music like a crazy person. No, really I do. I don't know a particularly impressive amount about music, nor do I read about the scene or pay attention to what's new as I do in art and film. I fall in love with bands months after everyone else and never discover anyone new.

I can't stand half of what I hear, but when I like something, I LOVE it and can listen to it for days on repeat until its burned into my being. Last summer it was Paul Simon after I saw his masterpiece workshop performance at BAM. I clicked to
Boy in the Bubble first thing every morning for months and never tired of it. I love that song.

Then it was Martha Wainwright's sorrowful duet with Snow Patrol, Set the Fire to the Third Bar. Amazing. I have listened to one verse of Regina Spektor's On the Radio for hours in my ipod, focusing on her clarity of thought and perfectly said statement. (No, this is how it works/ You peer inside yourself/ You take the things you like/ And try to love the things you took...) When it's over I rewind and listen again because I want it embedded in my DNA. Crazy person.

Most recently (like, within the past twenty four hours) it's been She & Him. I LOVE them. Quite suddenly and quite fiercely.
Zooey Deschanel entered my life yesterday while watching parts of Failure to Launch (She is hilarious in that movie. If you haven't seen it, its worth watching for her character only, I'm serious.) and then looked down to find her face on a magazine cover on the coffee table. Sentimental Heart has been digging itself into my headspace ever since.

I like this band because they have a throw-back sound but I love them because they do it well. Deschanel's voice is very bright and sharp (is sharp a word I can use while describing music?), quite the opposite of her deadpan speaking voice. The sharpness (why not) elevates the interest and heightens the intensity. She carves out the lyrics and forms the sounds with intention. Baby it's Cold Outside was a lovely surprise in Elf-- jazzy and warm.

She & Him's debut album, Volume I (Love the title. Its like how only really cool and secure artists can get away with naming a painting of a black square 'Black Square' instead of something stupid like 'Thoughts on Enlightenment.' Sorry, Damien.) mixes covers with original songs that Deshanel (She) and M. Ward (Him) wrote collectively.

The sound is old but the feel is very new and original. It's what Michael Buble could do if he tried a little harder. Or if he collaborated with someone really edgy and mellow. Like Allison Goldfrapp. Or Seth Cohan.

My friends know that I have one playlist and one only. It's called Dinner Party and if you're at my apartment we're listening to it. Instead of making new playlists I simply add to my shuffle because I just don't tire of the things I like.

Chris Thiele, Stars, Paul Simon, Ingrid Michaelson, Nickel Creek, Goldfrapp, Regina Spektor, Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis, The Killers, Van Morrison, A Tribe Called Quest, April March, Yeah Yeah Yeah's, and the Marie Antoinette Soundtrack. Over and over.

Old habits die hard
When you got, when you got a sentimental heart
Piece of the puzzle and you're my missing part
Oh, what can you do with a sentimental heart?

Welcome to the club, Zooey. You're in.

2 comments:

La said...

M. Ward is in She and Him? I love him. I saw him in concert and loved him. Downloading it now. Also, I just rediscovered Regina after overplaying her way too much a year ago....she's so good.

Cara Marie said...

i also listened to "set the fire to the third bar" on repeat one winter. the only she & him song i know is "why do you let me stay here?" but it's quirky and too cute to be annoying.