A new twist to holiday classics
Now that the holiday season is officially underway, it is the perfect opportunity to bake pumpkin pie, spend quality time with your family and loved ones and—of course—put on some holiday music to get into the Christmas spirit. Indie-pop duo She & Him, fronted by Matthew Ward (also known as M. Ward) and award-warning actress Zooey Deschanel, know all too well about providing the world with Christmas tunes; since the duo’s formation in 2006, they have released two holiday albums as part of their discography—A Very She & Him Christmas in 2011 and Christmas Party in 2016, respectively. This season, Ward and Deschanel have continued with the holiday tradition by releasing a deluxe reissue of their first holiday album to honor 10 years of its release. This version, which features classics like “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” contains three new songs, giving more for everyone to enjoy.
The first new track is “Holiday,” a rendition of Madonna’s 1983 well-known hit. Despite the name, this song is technically not a holiday song; nonetheless, Ward and Deschanel prove that they know how to put their own spin on a classic. The song starts with lively drums and a groovy guitar riff, immediately pulling people in and excited for more. Then, Deschanel comes in with her silvery, smooth voice, adding lightness and energy to the dynamic instrumentals. However, what stands out the most is the layering of vocals throughout the track. This mixing choice allows for Deschanel’s range to shine through, further adding to the feel-good spirit of the song.
The next new track, “Last Christmas,” changes the pace, opting for an acoustic guitar as Deschanel’s accompanist. Here, her high notes are what draws people in. They are light and do not feel forced but still maintain enough power to add layers of emotion to the somberness of the song. Combined with a series of vocal layering and a touch of sleigh bells, this version of Wham!’s holiday hit is one to remember.
The final new track, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” combines all of the elements from the other two songs that made them stand out into something fun and uplifting. The song starts with two different guitar riffs—one acoustic, one electric. Once Deschanel comes in a few seconds later, the instrumentals stop, allowing for her soft yet striking voice to permeate through. As the song progresses, more layers of highs and lows fade in, adding to the track’s cheery mood. There are a few points where the layering tends to drown out Deschanel’s voice, making it hard to focus on her range and her power. Nonetheless, the cons far outweigh the pros, making this track the perfect way to close out a run of airy, upbeat songs filled with holiday cheer.
Whether you’re a new fan of She & Him or you’ve been around since their beginnings, the newest reissue of their holiday classic A Very She & Him Christmas shows that even with its quirks, there is something that everyone can enjoy and add to their list of holiday tunes.