Famous for their 60s-style pop tone, She & Him continues that trend in “Volume 3,” the duo’s fourth studio album. Consisting of the famous actress Zooey Deschanel and Matthew Ward (M. Ward), She & Him is an indie pop duo that strives to incorporate retro sounds into the current music sphere.
“Volume Three” brings back all the things that made their previous albums good––and makes them even better. The album partially benefits from the pop vibe that is exhibited in each of its tracks. There are fewer ballads on this album, which moves away from long emotional songs with a somber feel. This album seems more fun and happy than She & Him’s previous work, even though the band is discussing lost love and tears.
The band’s single for the album, “Never Wanted Your Love,” embodies their style with Deschanel’s wispy voice and the accompanying orchestral music. The lyrics are all about how she “never wanted your love,” but still “needed it all,” and are not uncommon of any 60s pop song about love and relationship troubles.
She & Him also subtly returns to the country side of their music with the nostalgic feel of lazy bars where everyone is sitting around enjoying beers and playing pool. The song “Snow Queen” clearly exhibits a country groove. This is especially due to its retro style, with guitar twangs and reverbed vocals. Their songs are a mix of country and pop that makes it very enjoyable to listen to.
The cover track, “Sunday Girl,” was originally performed by the American pop group Blondie. The song showcases Zooey Deschanel’s ability to perform a cover by making it interesting with her dreamy voice, while still paying tribute to Blondie by sounding so similar. She & Him covers the song with an infusion of Blondie’s original English and French versions, which shocks listeners with Deschanel’s ability to sing in French alongside English and gives the cover a fresh spin.
The track, “I Could’ve Been Your Girl,” infuses modern instrumentals alongside their usual retro music to clash the two together in perfect harmony. With the sounds of drums, an orchestra of violins and a guitar playing throughout, the song mixes old and new to show that they can exist together. The lyrics are quite repetitive in this track, but they are also very symbolic of what Deschanel is trying to convey. She sings, “Cause I could’ve been your girl / And you could’ve been my four leave clover,” symbolizing that she wishes things were different between her and the guy she once loved, and that he would have been very special to her. This track also furthers the lyrical theme of troubling relationships with regrets of missed opportunities.
In “Baby,” Zooey Deschanel sings with crooning backup singers. This calls back to pop music in the 60s when backup singers would repeat some of the lyrics or just make repetitive sounds in the background to complement the lead vocalist. The sound of this song is similar to The Ronettes’ “Baby, I Love You” or “Be My Baby,” with one lead singer and then the other two singing in the background alongside the lead vocalist. M. Ward also makes a vocal appearance on this track, singing alongside Deschanel. His voice neither disappoints nor impresses. It is not the first time he has sung alongside Zooey Deschanel, but he seems overshadowed by Deschanel because he has a softer voice that is easily forgotten.
She & Him’s “Volume 3” is perfect for fans of country, ballads and 60s pop. The album transitions from track to track nicely because of the unifying theme throughout all the songs. Deschanel sings about love and heartbreak, but keeps it upbeat to show that being single does not have to be depressing––it can just be another experience.
Rating: 4.5 stars