M. Ward recently told the New York Times:

As long as people are listening to the songs first and not getting too caught up with who is making the songs, I’m happy.

Agreed, and the surprisingly good Volume One would probably benefit from that. But when Him is Matt Ward, and She is the undeniable Zooey Deschanel, and you show up to Conan with Yo La Tengo as your backing band, it’s tough not to get “too caught up” in the credits. So, it’s the “kill ’em with cred” strategy, and ultimately it’s worth it: Zooey’s impressed with her first record, singing and writing wise. She picked a guy to produce who clearly understands who she is. So the record’s a hit, now it’s time for the live show. SXSW saw her nervous. Last night on Conan saw her mostly the same, although it sounded nice. There’s a couple of times where you can see her brain working (“Remember Zooey, SMILE!”), but all in all it’s a step in a more confident direction. The song is lead single “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?” which ends on a ragtag jam spearheaded by Yo La Tengo, complete with some improv Ira piano plinking … sorta makes us sad we didn’t hit Webster Hall last night.

Georgia, Ira, and James are in their element. Hot licks, Matt. Hot everything, Zooey. For keeps:

Volume One is out via Merge.

Comments (25)
  1. umm  |   Posted on Apr 23rd, 2008 0

    sounds like there is a frog stuck in her throat.

    last night’s grizzly performance was far superior and I’m not even a huge fan of them

  2. I searched YouTube to find Zooey on an old Conan, but found this.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7REEh_xjAoE

  3. jarod  |   Posted on Apr 23rd, 2008 0

    everyone but zooey sounds good…….her voice just ain’t happenin’

  4. brad  |   Posted on Apr 23rd, 2008 0

    You know, I agree with the whole “it doesn’t matter who makes the music even if it’s an actor, etc.”.

    In theory.

    But I can’t help but think that they wouldn’t be getting as much attention if it was just M. Ward and someone who is not an actress.

  5. jjazznola  |   Posted on Apr 23rd, 2008 0

    M Ward must be doing her. Why else would he colaberate with such a non-talent. The show last night at Webster Hall was weak. I couldn’t make it to the end. Thank god I didn’t have to pay for my ticket. Nice to see Georgia, Ira, and James though.

  6. Stephen B  |   Posted on Apr 23rd, 2008 0

    Her voice wasn’t great on Conan but I can’t imagine I would’ve left a show. Zooey’s cuteness never gets old for me.

  7. That performance as a whole was weak. It looked almost like an M.Ward gig where he’d brought a nervous, self-conscious fan onstage to sing a song. The record is actually alright, but her voice is never going to blow any minds.

  8. Justin  |   Posted on Apr 23rd, 2008 0

    I’m surprised to hear mixed reviews of their live show. I saw M. Ward open for Norah Jones last summer and Zooey joined him for 3/4th of his set and didn’t see anxious or nervous at all–in fact she seemed really into it. Perhaps it was due to no pressure, no eyes, and a crowd made up of people who didn’t know who she or M. Ward were.

    I think She & Him are getting a backlash because Zooey’s another actress making music and most people can’t fathom that people would dare have two talents they don’t mind showcasing. C’mon, this isn’t Billy Bob Thorton or Bruce Willis making an album. Zooey’s got pipes and I figure she’s just a bit gunshy with all the attention she’s getting now.

  9. Adam Hayes  |   Posted on Apr 23rd, 2008 0

    For all the people bitching about the quality of Zooey’s singing on Conan and at Webster Hall last night….She & Him was supposed to play Monday at Hiro Ballroom, but it was postponed because Zooey LOST HER VOICE. She toughed it out and rescheduled at Webster Hall last night anyway. AND it was their first show in NYC. Ever. On top of that, M. Ward’s sound tech must’ve fucked up because M spent half the show switching guitars and fucking with everything.

    I thought it was a hell of a show considering all the trouble.

  10. I love her on Bones.

  11. Isn’t that Stephanie Drootin from the Good Life on bass?

  12. Mark  |   Posted on Apr 23rd, 2008 0

    The Webster Hall show was surprisingly good considering she lost her voice. No between song banter but a stack of hand-written between-song signs. She was plenty charming and charismatic, and the whole night just reinforced my high opinion of the songs. They did M.’s “Magic Trick” as an encore.

  13. claire  |   Posted on Apr 23rd, 2008 0

    her voice took awhile to grow on me, but i really like a lot of the album. i thought that although she was a little stiff, the performance last night was good. the fact that they got to sit on the couch afterwards definitely underscored the difference in m/zooey’s backgrounds….her nerves seemed to dissipate when she was back in talk-show mode, whereas he suddenly looked PROFOUNDLY uncomfortable.

    still – fun! ira is good on the keybs; wonder what YLT would sound like if they always had two drummers…

  14. carlos  |   Posted on Apr 23rd, 2008 0

    BONES wtf?

    its not her in bones. its her sister

  15. hiya  |   Posted on Apr 24th, 2008 0

    oh. my. god. what a joke.

  16. Elliot  |   Posted on Apr 24th, 2008 0

    Whoa. What happened to the love in the record review post, o commenters?

    Is this some kind of residual Scarlett backlash?

  17. Jamesden  |   Posted on Apr 24th, 2008 0

    She’s cool and all, but this doesn’t sound good in the slightest. But whatever, you come to Stereogum, expect overrated indie shit.

  18. Jamesden  |   Posted on Apr 24th, 2008 0

    She’s cool and all, but this doesn’t sound good in the slightest. But whatever, you come to Stereogum, expect overrated indie shit.

  19. koko  |   Posted on Apr 28th, 2008 0

    I don’t know why some of you feel that this is crap-I think her voice is beautiful, especially considering that she’d lost it that night, and the music is just marvelous. Perhaps it’s just not your preferred type of music? Doesn’t mean that it’s bad.

  20. kt  |   Posted on Apr 29th, 2008 0

    that is stef drootin on bass

  21. Moople  |   Posted on May 3rd, 2008 0

    She has a great voice and this is a great song.

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