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Performer Notes
  • While the release of another standards album doesn't always elicit cries of celebration, some artists are perfectly suited to such a task. Taking a romp around their own bailiwick is a breeze for pop classicists like She & Him, who offer up this platter of elegantly conceived cover songs that resembles the very source material that probably inspired their first three albums of original fare. The warm, vintage pop, jazz, and country that Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward have always seemed so smitten with comes to life on Classics. This impeccably arranged set was largely recorded live with a 20-piece orchestra fleshing out romantic chestnuts like "Stars Fell on Alabama" and the Johnny Mathis classic "It's Not for Me to Say." With her sweet, winsome lilt, Deschanel has never really felt like a rock singer, and she seems completely in her element here interpreting these classy 20th century gems in a throwback style. Their take on Dusty Springfield's "Stay Awhile" sounds like vintage She & Him, while the rich orchestrations on songs like "Oh No, Not My Baby" and "This Girl's in Love with You" add a nice, sophisticated touch to their sound. Ward has plenty of chances to dispense his nimbly played, jazzy guitar tones throughout the set and takes over lead vocals on the understated "She" with Deschanel layering some wistful, lush backing vocals behind him. As on previous releases, the counterpoint of Deschanel's velvety croon and Ward's rugged baritone allows for some generally charming duets, and they pull off their best Ella & Louis imitation on the carefree "Would You Like to Take a Walk?" As a whole, the songs are well-dressed and very easy on the ears. Classics is meant to be pure entertainment and even though most of these songs have been sung before by a variety of other artists, in the hands of She & Him, it comes off less like a novelty and instead sits very comfortably in their growing catalog of fine releases. ~ Timothy Monger
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Deschanel and Ward pare back the melodrama of 'Unchained Melody' and Johnny Mathis' 'It's Not for Me to Say,' incorporating midcentury jazz and soul crooning into their endearing retro-kitsch. The combination is charming."

Alternative Press - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he swinging arrangements that Ward & Co. cooked up for each tune feel as warm and lucid as a 45 pressed in the '60s."

Paste (magazine) - "With Deschanel's perfectly airy and retro vocals and Ward's diverse and underrated guitar skills, the super-duo bring their indie pop influences to Classics and end up with modern renditions of songs beloved by previous generations."
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