Most performances by She & Him have been described as energetic, expressive and harmonious. Consisting of musician Matt Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel (also backed by the incredibly talented Chapin Sisters when playing live), this band skillfully mixes different sounds, genres and influences together. Their success at recording original hits as well as a wide range of covers shows just how distinct their talent is. Essentially, their eclectic taste bleeds into their music. In addition to their ardent and melodic nature, these astounding performances by She & Him will further convince you that they are here to stay.
The song "Sentimental Heart" alone is a clear contender on this list, influenced by the fact that this is one of my all-time favorite performances by She & Him. The meaningful lyrics are reminiscent of Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz's words: “It’s a most distressing affliction to have a sentimental heart and a skeptical mind.” With every listen comes a reaffirmed love for She & Him's nonpareil sound.
Serving as the lead single off of their recently released album titled "Volume Three", this song was a great comeback into the music scene. I had the fortune of seeing She & Him perform at Central Park during the summer for my birthday and was completely stunned by Ms. Deschanel's vocal range and Matt Ward's guitar prowess. I was most floored by the fact that they were able to play 26 songs without showing any need to stop or refresh; this is certainly not an easy feat.
This next performance was done as part of Zooey Deschanel's videochat karaoke series on her website HelloGiggles. Here, the adept duo plays a light yet brilliant cover of this haunting tune. The earnestness and soul deeply embedded in Matt Ward's voice makes me regretful that he doesn't sing as much as he should. He adds a fresh breath of air to their staggering take on this legendary song.
I found myself resonating with this soothing tune off of their new album, Volume Three. Fueled by its soft arrangements and haunting melodies, this song is a truly wonderful piece. Watching She & Him perform this on Conan O'Brien only cemented the fact that their stage presence is quite solid; in fact, I've never been more moved by a live performance.
This next song seems to be infused with darker elements based on tone alone. The raw manner in which the last line is delivered is daunting: "It's just like you told me it'd be. It's nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing at all." Containing a deeper meaning framed by a soft but somber voice, "Brand New Shoes" leaves me wondering what it is that has the speaker of the song feeling so lost and detached.
I always find myself smiling when listening to any lyrics written by Ms. Deschanel. With its infectious melody and bright energy, it's no shock that "i Could've Been Your Girl" received favorable reviews when performed live on television. If you've also fallen for this song, you should definitely check out the rest of the tracks on "Volume Three".
Functioning as the lead single for their sophomore album "Volume Two", this was actually the first song that I was introduced to by this band. I truly love how upbeat this tune is! According to Pitchfork Media, Zooey Deschanel once stated that the song was initially composed with "a classic jazz chord progression—with a little chromatic step—and it was slower" until Matt Ward suggested adding more of a Bee Gees feel to it. As the cliché goes, the rest is history.
When asked about the writing process by the Associated Press, Deschanel stated "I think that lovelorn is a more interesting emotion; I tend to be interested in that emotion more than I tend to be interested in the emotion of happy content love, so my big influences have always been a lot of different things." These implied influences shine through in this song. I've always been a fan of lyrics that consist of clever words and metaphors so it came as no surprise that this ended up being one of my favorite numbers on "Volume Three".
Last but certainly not least, this gem more than deserves mention. This cover of Screamin Jay Hawkins is one of my favorite versions. When I heard this live, the audience and I were in a combined awe of their confident presence. I don't think that there could've been a better choice for an encore.
After watching these performances on multiple occasions, I can attest to the fact that music enthusiasts will not be disappointed by the works of the band She & Him. Proving that there is more to their image than just being famous celebrities and gifted musicians, they definitely earned my respect. What is your favorite song performed or covered by She & Him?
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