My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #24

Number 24

If you’re a part of the very small group of people (I know I’m a member) that thought the only good thing about the holiday film, Elf, was the presence of Zooey Deschanel and her wonderful singing voice, then chances are you own – and have been cherishing for the past nine months – the debut album by She & Him. Although it opened to critical acclaim early on in the year, it would take more time than expected before this match-made-in-heaven combo between Deschanel and Portland, Oregon singer/songwriter/producer, M. Ward, would get its deserved commercial recognition. There’s a reason why this throwback homage to the music of the 50’s and 60’s has been showing up on nearly every single music critic’s best-of list as of late – because it highly accessible, extremely entertaining, and just plain awe-inspiring on many occasions. As if Deschanel wasn’t adorable and a major talent enough as an actress, here she goes and takes full songwriting credit (as far as lyrics are concerned) on Volume One, save for a couple of covers and a traditional tune. Combined with the production and always singular musical arrangements of Ward, who for the most part steps back from any vocal duties and gives the stage to Zooey, this is a sublime experience and the start of what we hope will be a fruitful artistic relationship. The album’s openers, “Sentimental Heart” and “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?”, are the popular topic when conversation is sparked pertaining to the record, but my adoration is for the heartbreaking numbers, “Change Is Hard” and “I Thought I Saw Your Face Today”, which are two of the best tracks of the year. She & Him are two talents that were meant to find and work with each other, and the title of their first album is basically promising their many devoted fans that there will be more to come from this marriage. You better keep it.

1.Sentimental Heart
2.Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?
3.This Is Not A Test
4.Change Is Hard
5.I Thought I Saw Your Face Today
6.Take It Back
7.I Was Made For You
8.You Really Got A Hold On Me
9.Black Hole
10.Got Me
11.I Should Have Known Better
12.Sweet Darlin’
13.Swing Low, Sweet Chariot


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2 Responses to “My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #24”

  1. Bob Bland Says:

    I’m a huge M. Ward fan, and really enjoyed the addition of female vox here. Made #8 on my list.

  2. Ferguson Says:

    I think Ward is one of the most unique songwriters/arrangers out there, and this is just another impressive addition. I’m definitely gonna take a gander at your list.

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