Arts & Life

Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward bring back the happy days

Picture a beach party movie in the 1960s. In the movie, people dance along to happy pop music while tossing around colorful beach balls, singing songs to the ones they love while strolling down a moonlit shore. She & Him’s album gives off this vibe in their latest studio album, “Volume 3.”

The “New Girl” actress and singer/songwriter Zooey Deschanel teams up with musician M. ward to take you back to a simpler time. Songs like “I’ve Got Your Number, Son” and “Somebody Sweet To Talk To” seem to have been heavily influenced by The Beach Boys and sound similar to indie band Rilo Kiley.

Like the first two albums, “Volume 3” is good in many aspects. With its fun songs and unique sound, it first may seem like She & Him is simply rehashing their music from “Volume 1” and “Volume 2.” But that is not the case. “Volume 3” has something special the other two albums didn’t: the depth of Deschanel’s lyrics.

“Volume 3,” at first listen, sounds like a happy, poppy surf rock album. However, when the lyrics in songs like ” I could’ve been Your Girl” and “Never Wanted Your Love” are examined closely, a more somber story of love lost and happier days is revealed. This juxtaposition of sad lyrics and happy music seems to be a staple in break-up albums, in which the artist is trying to release pain while letting go.

Although a majority of the songs on this album are upbeat, the songs that are slow-paced make the most impact. Deschanel’s imperfect jazzy vocals in songs like “London” and the Mel Carter classic “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” take the seemingly simple tunes and transform them into compelling ballads fit for another time.

Deschanel and M. Ward make a compelling team that when put together make beautiful music. “Volume 3” has a timelessness that would have made it popular in the ’50s and will continue to make it popular in the distant future.

“It’s an oldie but a goodie” is the perfect saying to describe this album. It’s almost as if it was born in a different era, when pop music was good. It has depth, and unlike our modern day, over-produced pop stars, She & Him actually have talent.

The 14-track album “Volume 3” is streaming on NPR First Listen now and will be available in stores and on iTunes on Tuesday.

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