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Volume One

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While filming 2007’s The Go-Getter, actress Zooey Deschanel was teamed up with folk bard M. Ward on a cover of Richard & Linda Thompson’s “When I Get To The Border.” The uncanny chemistry quickly prompted the duo to hash out some tunes that Deschanel had penned in private for her own catharsis — many of which turned up here in She & Him’s 2008 debut album. Her pretty voice breaks open Volume One with crisp cadence and lilting beauty as “Sentimental Heart” sets the tone with the kind of demure flirtations that fuel the fantasies of indie rock boys worldwide. The sunny folk-pop of “This Is Not a Test” reveals Deschanel can also sing self-harmonies that resonate with feel-good Golden State vibes not heard since Call and Response’s eponymous 2001 debut. Ward’s dusty vocal texture compliments Deschanel’s bashful inflections on the twangy “Change Is Hard.” And the endearing covers of Smokey Robinson’s “You Really Got a Hold On Me” and the Beatles’ “I Should Have Known Better” only sweeten the deal. 

Customer Reviews

Volume One: Hopefully, the First of Many

She’s not exactly what you’d call an “actress turned vocalist”.. Or a “vocalist turned actress,” for that matter. She is Zooey Deschanel, a talented young lady who has starred in such films as Elf, Yes Man, and Almost Famous, and has performed with a jazz cabaret act known as If All the Stars Were Pretty Babies. He is Matt Ward, a.k.a., M. Ward. He is an accomplished songwriter and musician, sharing the studio with such acts as My Morning Jacket and Bright Eyes, as well as performing and promoting his own popular solo material. Together, they are She & Him, literally and otherwise. Their first compilation of recorded music together is appropriately titled Volume One and was released in early 2008 on Merge Records. “Cried all night ’til there was nothing more / What use am I as a heap on the floor? / Heaving devotion, but it’s just no good.” You can easily picture the cute and charming Deschanel singing these words innocently into a vintage microphone; her tone is truthful and her control is flawless. Oh the beauty, the careful arrangement in Volume One’s opener, “Sentimental Heart,” and it’s only the beginning. Starting with the first track, the album leads listeners through nostalgic pop territory and gradually rolls over into a folkier variety of tunes. The album leads up to its change very cautiously, incorporating more and more folk techniques until the transformation is complete in “Black Hole.” Before the switch however, there are several standout tracks. The thoroughly retro “I Was Made For You,” the gripping “Take It Back,” the harmony-driven “This is Not a Test,” the Dido-esque “I Thought I Saw Your Face Today,” and the salty single, “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?” all display incredible musicianship and arrangement knowledge, as well as instantly memorable melodies and equally refreshing lyrics. Deschanel’s vocals have an inexplicable timeless quality to them, which are complimented smoothly by M. Ward’s skilled strings and and keen keys. “Black Hole” and “Got Me,” the two Deschanel-penned songs on the folkier side of Volume One, are admittedly slow-paced when compared to previous tracks; but regardless, they are still fantastic compositions and help balance out the album in terms of rhythm and sound range. Expressive covers also bring out the best in the duo, including The Beatles’ “You Really Got a Hold on Me” and Smokey Robinson’s “I Should Have Known Better.” The colorful Deschanel-Schwartzman collaboration “Sweet Darlin’” is likewise noteworthy for its strong melody and professionally-executed vocal performance. The album closes with an indelible interpretation of the traditional tune, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” As many times as it’s been re-recorded over the years, I can’t think of any other recording that stands out as much as She & Him’s short, but humbly sweet take. It’s a subtle arrangement, so angelic and peaceful, relying mainly on Deschanel’s solid voice and some fitting musical decorations (i.e. harmony and keys). It additionally ties up the album nicely. When it comes down to it, She & Him’s Volume One is a amiable attempt at an indie/folk/Beach Boys-type treasure, and it overwhelmingly succeeds in all aspects. For many Deschanel fans, I would consider this her official debut into the music scene, and a solid one at that.


This is my favorite album of the year & quite possibly one of my all-time favorites! Zooey Deschanel has one of the most captivating voices I've heard in a long time & brings back a lost era of great female voices reminiscent of Doris Day, Brenda Lee, etc. She puts an updated, Indie twist to songs that sound like they could have been hits in the '40's & '50's. "Sentimental Heart" , "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?", & "I Thought I Saw Your Face Today" are simply must-haves!!!

Change is Hard — Classic!

Zooey Deschanel is one day going to be considered a national treasure. Delightful comic actress, gorgeous (yet tasteful), she puts this out and shows us she's just as good (or better) at singing. "Change is Hard", "I thought I saw Your Face Today", and "Sweet Darlin" are beautiful tunes that could have been recorded anytime in the last 40 years. The rest of the disc is good, but those three tracks will immortalize this album.


Formed: 2006 in Portland, OR

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

She & Him feature the somewhat unlikely pairing of country-folk artist M. Ward and actress/singer/songwriter Zooey Deschanel. While starring in the 2007 film The Go-Getter, Deschanel was asked by director Martin Hynes to perform a duet with Ward, who had agreed to helm the movie's soundtrack. The two recorded a cover of Richard & Linda Thompson's "When I Get to the Border" and later reconvened in Portland, where they began recording Deschanel's original songs (which the actress had previously demoed...
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