Quick Review (LP): Volume 2 by She & Him

she & him volume 2 She & Him
Volume 2
Merge; 2010

My Rating: A

Best Tracks: “Thieves”, “In the Sun”, “Don’t Look Back”, “Riding In My Car”, “Lingering Still”, “Over It Over Again”

The first time around, having not been exposed to M. Ward’s excellent Post-War, I shrugged She & Him off as another example of crass celebrity indulgence. Imagine my surprise when Paste named Volume 1 the best record of 2008. This time around, I have to acknowledge the genius. First off, Zooey can write. And vocally, she manages to channel June Carter Cash pretty darn well. The fact that she had the foresight to collaborate with M. Ward says that she knows exactly what she’s doing. Big props there. What the two of them have created is one of the finest pop albums in recent memory, a stunning collection of nostalgic throwbacks that will put a big smile on your face. If these two had been making records fifty years ago, we’d be citing their work alongside Phil Spector and Brian Wilson. Volume 2 is a great record by any stretch of the imagination, and maybe one of the best of 2010. If you haven’t already, you need to hear it.

Metacritic reviews
Pitchfork review

Tracks of the Decade: “Poison Cup” by M. Ward

M. Ward
“Poison Cup”
from Post-War
I don’t really expect this one to make any other “best of the decade” lists, but when it comes to greatness in pop music, focus and simplicity go a long way in my book. A short and (bitter)sweet meditation on love that finds a few millenia worth of religious imagery in tow, “Poison Cup” harkens back to the innocent rural magic of “Stand By Me” but adds the haunting twist that loyalty in the name of love might just consume you. This recalls the central theme of P.T. Anderson’s film Punchdrunk Love – love as a force of nature. By opening Ward’s classic album POST-WAR, a further dimension is added to the song. When Ward sings “I’m gonna give you everything”, we’re subtly reminded of those we all know who have indeed given everything this decade. It’s this mysterious cup that beckons each of us. Drink it up.

mward1M. Ward
“Poison Cup”
from Post-War

I don’t really expect this one to make any other “best of the decade” lists, but when it comes to greatness in pop music, focus and simplicity go a long way in my book. A short and (bitter)sweet meditation on love that finds a few millenia worth of religious imagery in tow, “Poison Cup” harkens back to the innocent rural magic of “Stand By Me” but adds the haunting twist that loyalty in the name of love might just consume you. This recalls the central theme of P.T. Anderson’s film Punchdrunk Love – love as a force of nature. By opening Ward’s classic album POST-WAR, a further dimension is added to the song. When Ward sings “I’m gonna give you everything”, we’re subtly reminded of those we all know who have indeed given everything this decade. It’s this mysterious cup that beckons each of us. Drink it up.