She & Him & M. Ward


She & Him
Classics
Columbia

M. Ward
Transistor Radio
Merge

 

Behold the two sides of M. Ward (Matt to his friends), the gifted troubadour who makes nice pop records with actress Zooey Deschanel as She & Him and crafts darker folk-rock fare on his own. Classics finds She & Him covering 13 chestnuts in engaging fashion, with Deschanel taking most of the lead vocals, as usual.

Though she lacks the booming voice of a Dusty Springfield, whose “Stay Awhile” gets a welcome reboot here, Deschanel is a charming singer who sells a lyric with understated grace. See the downcast soul standard “Oh No, Not My Baby” or the enthralling and dreamy “Unchained Melody” for proof. If their sleepy reading of “Stars Fell on Alabama” won’t make anybody forget the timeless Ella Fitzgerald-Louis Armstrong duet, it’s still lovely.

Ward’s stellar 2005 album Transistor Radio, just reissued on vinyl with a CD containing four bonus tracks, has aged extremely well. Without straining for effect, his whispery rasp brilliantly conveys all the simmering desperation and mordant humor of haunting songs such as “Four Hours in Washington” (“It’s 4:00 in the morning and I’m turning in my bed/I wish I had a dream or a nightmare in my head”) and “One Life Away,” recounting a visit to a sweetheart’s grave. Ward can spook a person like few others when he’s in the mood.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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