Folksy pop duo releases holiday album

Charlotte Kyle
Features Editor

Photo courtesy of iTunes

It’s almost Halloween and we all know what that means: it’s time for Christmas stuff!

No one can avoid it. Shopping for your groceries? Try these delicious holiday cookies, complete with green and red sprinkles. Need a new outfit? Check out this snazzy snowman sweater.

Soon cheery winter songs will replace the generic pop radio tunes that usually play while you walk through the store.

I figured we might as well skip Halloween and review a Christmas album instead.

There aren’t many good Halloween albums anyway, though the best ones include the songs “Monster Mash” and “Purple People Eater.”

Christmas albums, though – those are my favorite. I was that weird kid who listened to *NSYNC’s “Home For Christmas” in July.

Sure, one could argue there are only so many times you can hear a Christmas song done by different artists but I guess I haven’t reached that limit yet.

She & Him’s album, “A Very She & Him Christmas,” features 12 songs sure to get you in the holiday spirit, even if you don’t want to. It is impossible to deny the infectious, soothing quality of Zooey Deschanel’s soulful voice.

In fact, I imagine nearly everyone who saw “Elf” has been dying for a holiday album from Deschanel since her shower duet with Will Ferrell. I’d be willing to bet those little chocolate coins on it.

A good holiday album has to be catchy enough to sing along to when you’re wrapping presents or riding around town for last-minute decorations, but mellow enough to play as background noise while your party guests talk with their mouths full of those green-and-red-sprinkled cookies.

“A Very She & Him Christmas” has this quality and more. It’s perfect for hardcore She & Him fans, Christmas lovers and mildly enthusiastic hipsters. It features classic songs such as “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “The Christmas Song,” with an original song, “Christmas Day,” that’s worth checking out.

Deschanel takes the lead on most songs, with M. Ward leading a cover of NRBQ’s “Christmas Wish” and the duo tackling the kind of dirty “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

Ward’s vocals are perfect for “Christmas Wish,” with Deschanel complementing him nicely. It’s a beautiful song to sway to, with eternal happiness and optimism lurking in every syllable as he sings, “If we open our hearts our wishes would come true.”

“Sleigh Ride” is another highlight. Their vocals echo on the track, but not in the creepy way that’s found on “Silver Bells.” It’s more about being open in the cool winter air, as cheeks get rosy and they sit comfy, cozy.

“Silver Bells,” on the other hand, is nearly depressing. It’s almost somber, borderline emotionless, a weird fit following the happy-go-lucky “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

It brings the mood down just in time for the listener to get Deschanel reprising “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

It’s a hard song to do, with dueling vocals and sexual overtones, and fans of the classic may not be as fond of this more upbeat version. It almost feels rushed, like someone put the song on fast-forward and forgot to take it off.

It’s not a bad version, but it certainly strays from the original more than most of the other tracks.

Overall, She &?Him do a good job of playing the classics in their own folksy way without turning their backs on traditions. Deschanel’s voice was made for a holiday album, with her playing up the necessary sadness of “Blue Christmas”?while remaining sweet and jolly on “Little Saint Nick.”

It’s definitely my pick for holiday album of the year, but maybe you’ll want to wait until December to start listening.

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