Volume One - She & Him

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. The overall effect is an endearing, successful addition to Ward's never-ending quest to assimilate every single populist song form of the 20th century.
  2. Never does it feel like the duo are tryinng to recreate classic songs one by one, instead they try to remind us of the feelings and the emotions that those songs elicit. [Spring 2008, p.84]
  3. Warm and elegant, careful but not calculated, Ward's production stands perfectly alongside his solo releases in terms of sound, style and impact.
  4. It’s the sound of Chuck Schultz’s Peanuts, dusky ‘70s Californian sunsets and the sound of a talent transcending her artistic straitjacket. Here’s to volume two.
  5. 80
    What she shows via sweetly understated arrangements, are beautifully simple love songs delivered with a summer-scented voice that echoes Karen Carpenter one minute, Linda Ronstadt or Peggy Lee the next. [Aug 2008, p.102]
  6. Deschanel's songs are simple and sad tales of heartbreak and missed connections, with hooky melodies and not a single artless moment to be found.
  7. It feels as if they are making music for the sheer pleasure of it, and it's this that proves the record's abiding charm. [Aug 2008, p.143]
  8. Sonic landscapes shift around behind Deschanel across the length of the album; as tunes introduce elements of pure indie pop, old timey slide-guitar country, rattling tin-ally piano, and light rock, the singer keeps her cool and holds everything together throughout the course of Volume One.
  9. Songs like ‘Sentimental Heart’, a concerto for piano, strings and Pet Sounds haberdashery, suggest this pair are as natural a songwriting team as Karen and Richard.
  10. Luckily, [the a bland name and album title are] the most awkward things about this surprisingly rewarding collection of dusky, mesquite-flavored torch songs.
  11. She & Him is the product of folk troubadour M. Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel and the results are a beautiful product.
  12. Featuring 10 originals and three covers (including an unlisted version of 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot'), the album is a showcase for Deschanel’s pipes and Ward’s clever musical arrangements.
  13. Deschanel is more convincing when she's on an extreme end of romance--either losing it or being swept into it--than when she's trying to rationalize it.
  14. Deschanel's songs are simple, which is a smart move--what a drag if she were trying to sing serious torch songs--but She and Him don't fare so well with covers.
  15. 70
    Both seem to be having a blast acting out their fantasies,, which makes Volume One consistent fun. [Apr 2008, p.102]
  16. The songwriting is capable, it’s just somewhat predictable, and the lyrics are cheeky.
  17. Volume One ought to provide plenty of replays for fans of either artist.
  18. Slight doubts about whether or not Zooey Deschanel is the best person to be singing these songs aside, Volume One is pretty much spot-on.
  19. There's nothing offensive about anything on Volume One, which, with its catchy melodies, universally appealing lyrics, and mellow production, might just be a hit.
  20. Careworn and authentic, the prismatic scatter of songs on Volume One, filtered through the sepia tinge of Deschanel and Ward’s nostalgia, sound more like out-of-time gems than the loving recreations they are.
  21. Like singer Zooey Deschanel, Volume One is endearing and unpretentious.
  22. Deschanel's voice inhabits so many chanteuses that she never reveals her own, save perhaps for unadorned closer 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot,' and at times even threatens a theatrical kitsch (especially the Hawaiian-cowpoke arrangement of the Beatles' 'I Should Have Known Better'), but Volume One is utterly enveloping in its charm.
  23. 60
    Where the album suffers, however--especially in comparision to the Jenny Lewis record--is the absence of any real lyrical verve or personality. [Aug 2008, p.94]
  24. It's delightful background music, but it never quite slides into focus.
  25. She writes old-fashioned love songs enhanced by Ward’s expert arrangements and reverberated girl-group harmonies.
  26. She & Him's debut release is more like a collection of songs rather than a cohesive, fresh album, and as such, is a letdown for a singer that showed a lot of promise.
  27. Any listener looking to spend a reverb-drenched summer on the beach revisiting the golden age of AM radio could do far worse than spending the season with She and Him.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 44 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. Mar 28, 2011
    Zooey Deschanel is one of my favorite singers. Her voice is just absolutely gorgeous. Not to mention she's amazingly gorgeous herself. Volume One is quite a great album. Every track sounds great. It has hooky melodies and beautiful choruses. The opener "Sentimental Heart" is the stand out track on this record. The lyrics are folk poetry and it really adds to the quality to this album. All In All, Volume One is a joyous listen. B+ Full Review »
  2. Oct 5, 2014
    Love this album... it's short, sweet, cheeky and Zooey's cute vocals shines through the fun instrumentation throughout the album. 10/10 and highly recommended! Full Review »
  3. Jul 31, 2012
    Fresh album with lot of catchy songs. The deliberate lo-fi production hinders a bit, as also does repetitiveness. But songs like "Sweet Darling", "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here" and "Sentimental Heart" are pure magic. Full Review »