Jul 252022
 

Melt AwayHaving released two Christmas albums, it is only fitting that She & Him move on to tackle summer. And what says summer more brightly than the Beach Boys? Even thinking about the band makes me (smiley) smile and look for garish Hawaiian shirts in my wardrobe. And of course, the Beach Boys wouldn’t have been the Beach Boys, whatever Mike Love might think, if it wasn’t for the genius of Brian Wilson, the last Wilson brother standing. Hence, Melt Away: A Tribute to Brian Wilson. All the songs here have at least some input from Brian Wilson, largely the melodies, with lyrics also on occasion. (Mr. Love would want me to say he co-wrote many of them, I am sure, so I will.)

She & Him, then, a curious mélange. M. Ward, the somewhat-cerebral-seeming singer-songwriter from the Pacific Northwest, and Zooey Deschanel, the manic pixie dream girl in many a Hollywood comedy. The combination smacks of vanity project. Actually far from, with Ms. Deschanel responsible for the bulk of their own material, at least as far as the songwriting credits go. Taking most of the lead vocals, Deschanel plays guitar and ukulele (don’t panic), whilst Ward is content to supply a subsidiary presence, responsible for additional vocals, guitar and keyboards, as well as production duties. Which, in anything involving the songs of Brian Wilson, is going to be no small feat.
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Jun 022022
 
She & Him Brian Wilson

She & Him, the ever-rolling musical project of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, came out of the gate in 2008 with three albums of original classic pop in five years. In the decade that’s followed since, the duo have opted to put original material aside, reveling in a different kind of sunshine: covers. She & Him released the spirited Classics in 2014, and a subsequent album full of holiday cuts (2016’s Christmas Party). The duo continue on as pop interpreters with the recent announcement of their third and latest all-covers album, Melt Away: A Tribute To Brian Wilson.

She & Him’s seemingly accessible sound has always been belied by more esoteric instincts; the pair value deep cuts as much as they do big hits. Assembling the tracklist for Melt Away offered Deschanel and Ward offered an ideal opportunity to celebrate both sides of Brian Wilson’s decades-deep songbook — both the standards, and the arty b-sides.

“We chose songs without any regard to their chart performance. The obscure ones hit us just as hard as the more popular songs — and all are ripe for re-imagining, re-interpreting, and re-inventing,” the duo said in a statement alongside the album announcement. “Brian writes songs of beauty and loneliness and vulnerability better than anyone — and by sequencing them next to popular songs of confidence and love and fun, it creates a more complete picture of life on earth.”

Ahead of Melt Away’s release on July 22nd, She & Him have shared a kitschy music video for “Darlin’,” drawn from the Beach Boys’ Wild Honey, released initially in 1967. They also shared the audio of the more well-known hit “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” Check out both, as well as Melt Away‘s full tracklist, below.

Melt Away: A Tribute to Brian Wilson Tracklist

1.  Darlin’
2. Wouldn’t It Be Nice
3. Til I Die
4. Deirdre
5. Melt Away
6. Good to My Baby
7. Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)
8. Don’t Worry Baby
9. This Whole World
10. Kiss Me, Baby
11. Do It Again (featuring Brian Wilson)
12. Heads You Win, Tails I Lose
13. Please Let Me Wonder
14. Meant for You

Check out more She & Him covers here.
Check out more Beach Boys covers here.

Oct 052020
 
best tribute albums

Over our time tracking cover songs (13 years this month!), we’ve written about hundreds of new tribute albums, across reviews, news stories, and, when they’re good enough, our best-of-the-year lists. We also have looked back on plenty of great tribute albums from the past in our Cover Classics series. But we’ve never pulled it all together – until now. Continue reading »

May 292020
 

Check out the best covers of past months here.

best cover songs may 2020
Daniel Romano’s Outfit – Sweetheart Like You (Bob Dylan cover)


This one’s for all the Dylan superfans. In 1984, Bob Dylan played three songs on Letterman with L.A. punk band The Plugz. They were gritty and garagey and raw. It boded well for his new sound. And then he never played with them again. The album he was ostensibly promoting, Infidels, was much smoother, helmed by Mark Knopfler. For those who still wonder what could have been, Daniel Romano covered the entire album as if he’d recorded it with The Plugz. Continue reading »

May 132019
 

On “Spring Cleaning,” the opening track to his 2014 album ‘til Life Turns Over, Micah McCaw declared: “I’m free to be anything that I want to be.” With the record, the Oregon-based singer/songwriter took his words to heart singing songs about love, faith and death. For his latest release, McCaw takes on the sanctity of marriage with an acoustic cover of the Beach Boys’ classic “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.”

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Jan 122018
 

Cover Classics takes a look at great covers albums of the past, their genesis and their legacies.

doc pomus tribute album

“Why now,” you ask. “Why focus on this album in 2018, more than 20 years since it was made and getting on 30 since the recipient of the tribute died? And who he anyway? He didn’t have any hits.”

Well, that’s where you are wrong. Doc Pomus wrote many of the 1950s songs we now see as standards – standards across many genres, encompassing blues through rock (and roll), with a hefty side influence into country and soul. Few people won’t have at least a whistling memory of at least one of these songs, probably more, in versions played by artists as diverse as ZZ Top, Engelbert Humperdinck and the Searchers. Continue reading »