Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas with She and Him

2011 Christmas Choice

I went on a wee bit of an album splurge last week (something I can never really be mad about), which led to me trotting home overexcited at the thought of tossing on the new A Very She and Him Christmas album for the holiday decorating upheaval my apartment was about to undergo. The day was grey, my living room was toasty and as the silver and white touches spread across the rooms - Zooey Deschanel's sultry holiday croons, M.Ward's facile instrumental accompaniment and a happy collection of old classics really brought the scene to life.

Everyone's favourite old soul duo made a very wise (and as always, hip) choice in releasing this classy compilation for those Christmas-obsessed music lovers (ahem) wanting a taste of something new, red and white. It's always wonderful to hear what will be released around the holidays, but considering the usual Michael Buble Christmas balladry or yucky teen punk holiday roast -  it's easy to feel like we've seen so much of it before. I remember the period of time when Merry Mixmas came out, along with the sweetly quirky Christmas series Maybe This Christmas, and for a moment in time, the same old holiday tunes had been given a refreshing yuletide twist. From the multiple plays the trendy twosome's darling renditions have received - I can say with confidence, that time has arrived, again.

Their quietly adorable version of "The Christmas Waltz" is the perfect fireplace-sitting ditty, along with some of the other subdued holiday anthems like "The Christmas Song" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - which features a gorgeously mellow jazz guitar and nearly mute organ behind the lady songbird's soulful vocals. "I'll Be Home For Christmas", its uppity twang and shaky tambourine are fit for a holiday down South, along with the typically Beach Boys-reminiscent version of the harmonic and jangly "Little Saint Nick", songs that throw but the slightest boost into the mellow mix. Polish your best martini glasses and splash a spike into your eggnog when "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" rolls on - a swinging cocktail party staple meant to sway behind clinking champagne flutes, sequins and sky-high hairdos. 

Many of the album's most charming moments are when her porcelain pipes are paired only with his peaceful acoustic - and this favourite of mine fits the bill sublimely. The pair's delicate ukelele spin on "Silver Bells", which I've been humming all week, is a little slice of smooth Christmas pie in itself.  Deschanel's hushed vocals singing what I consider to be the most glorious Christmas lyrics around (maybe because they're happy, don't include a hint of longing and are packed with the feeling of anticipation) next to the tiny string backing are just a match made in heaven. I can only hope it will be played right at that perfectly lit-up, snow-covered and sparkling holiday moment we're all bound to have at least once this December.

So, as the greatest month of the year commences, I really wish you all the most holiday love and joy possible. Regardless of where you are, what you're doing or how you celebrate, it's only right that you have lighthearted and comforting songs of any sort to see you through. This Christmas, She and Him have left an effortlessly timeless mark on the year. And regardless of what other mawkish holiday typicals get thrown our way - I think it's safe to say we'll be set for quite a few more to come.

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