ALBUM REVIEW: She & Him – Christmas Party

14859827_10154797468978900_7449167374637288267_oIt’s getting to that time of year where Christmas albums are being released ready for the holiday season and I was overcome with excitement a few months ago when I found out She & Him would be releasing their second Christmas album. Their first, A Very She & Him Christmas, was released in 2011 and has been a favourite of mine ever since. Their new album Christmas Party carries on the tradition in fantastic style.

The first song on the album is a fantastic version of the famous All I Want For Christmas Is You, a song made famous by Mariah Carey in 1994. It’s since become a Christmas favourite just about everywhere. The She & Him version is gorgeous and packed for of musical delights, not the count the beautiful production work from M. Ward. It’s a great way to start the album. Things then head in a more laid back direction with a warm version of Let It Snow. Why do I say warm? Because every time I listen to it I imagine myself sat in front of the fire on a cold December night. What an incredible feeling. Must Be Santa follows which was originally recorded by Mitch Miller in 1960. During part of the song where they name Santa’s reindeers they replace their names with US President’s including Kennedy, Nixon, Truman and ending with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, a nod towards the upcoming Presidential Elections. Beautifully done to say the least. For an album brimming with excellence this is certainly one of the stand out tracks.

  1. All I Want For Christmas Is You
  2. Let It Snow
  3. Must Be Santa
  4. Happy Holiday
  5. Mele Kalikimaka
  6. Christmas Memories
  7. Run Run Rudolph
  8. Winter Wonderland
  9. The Coldest Night of the Year
  10. A Marshmallow World
  11. The Man With The Bag
  12. Christmas Don’t Be Late

Happy Holiday is the next song which is a gorgeous cover of the 1942 original by Bing Cosby but it’s Mele Kalikimaka which sends your ears into overdrive due to the stunning harmony vocals it features. When you listen to this song you’re instantly reminded of the great Mary Ford and the way she layered her vocals while working with Les Paul. Absolutely sublime. Zooey Deschanel has, in my opinion, one of the best voices around and this comes across beautifully in Christmas Memories. It’s a slow and laid back number which again makes me feel like I’m sat in front of the fire at Christmas time. In fact that’s the general feel with most of the songs on this album which is what you want from a Christmas album. Even though they are Christmas songs lyrically they have to SOUND like Christmas songs and Christmas Memories certainly does.

Run Run Rudolph is one of the best Christmas songs ever recorded so when I found out She & Him were including it on this new album I was a little hesitant. And on first listen I didn’t like it as much as all the other songs on the album but it’s definitely a grower after 4-5 listens. I keep thinking that no-one can cover the original because the original is so good, but this version is different in terms of the music that it’s almost like a different song. M. Ward takes lead vocals as well which is spot on and makes me think of his last studio album, Rain. The great Winter Wonderland comes next which is one of the most recognisable Christmas songs of all time. The addition of a lap steel guitar really sounds great here and while it may not be as good as the Darlene Love version from the A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector album it stands up really well. The Coldest Night Of The Year follows Winter Wonderland which sees Deschanel and Ward duet, a really nice moment on the album.

Sung by the likes of Bing Cosby, Darlene Love and Dean Martin, It’s A Marshmallow World is one of the most covered Christmas songs and this version by She & Him sounds absolutely stunning. Deschanel on vocals gives another fantastic performance but clocking in at just under two minutes you wish it could go on for longer. The final two songs on the album are The Man With The Bag and Christmas Don’t Be Late which are beautifully delivered songs. The thing that really stands out with these two is the instrumentation and tightness of the studio band, something that actually stands out on every song. Finishing with Christmas Don’t Be Late is a really nice way to end because it’s such a slow lullaby sounding song you can imagine listening to as the last minutes of Christmas Eve pass by.

Overall it’s another outstanding album by She & Him. There are a number of songs that stand out more than the others like Let It Snow, Must Be Santa and Winter Wonderland but in reality it’s a solid album from start to finish and a gorgeous sister album to their first Christmas record from 2011.

10/10

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