She & Him, “Classics”

She & Him - ClassicsShe & Him
Classics
COLUMBIA
3/10

Since late 2006, acclaimed songwriter M. Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel have been making music together as She & Him. On paper, the pairing is promising—Ward has released a bunch of superb records, while Deschanel has a lovely, silky voice (as evidenced in the classic movie Elf, among others)—but, actually, their output has been about as exciting as their band name. Classics is their second covers LP and fifth album in total, and shows no improvement. Recorded live in the studio with a twenty-piece orchestra, these thirteen beige, bland songs are little more than easy listening for dummies. “Time After Time”—a classic jazz standard recorded by the likes of Frank Sinatra and, perhaps most sublimely, by Chet Baker—is devoid of emotion, while “Unchained Melody” is too full of the stuff, becoming utterly overwrought and kitschy. There is some heart on this album, but nowhere near enough soul.

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