After six years, the duo She & Him are about to release a new studio album. However, Melt Away is a cover album, honoring one of the founding members of the legendary Beach Boys, Brian Wilson. This setup sounded interesting to me, so that I had to have a deeper listen into this 22nd July 2022 publication.
She & Him – About The Artists
She & Him is a indie pop and alternative country music duo from Portland, Oregon. The US-Americans are active since 2006. Zooney Deschanel is the singer of the band also plays piano and ukulele. Matthew Stephen Ward, typically just referred to as M. Ward, is the guitarist and producer of the band. Melt Away is already the band’s seventh album. However, the last release has been Christmas Party in 2016. The album made it to the Top 5 of the US Folk Album Charts.
She & Him – Melt Away – Track by Track
The 14 track album lasts 41 minutes.
It’s highly unlikely that you don’t know the majority of songs on this album anyway. However, just in case you have ignored the Beach Boys in your musical heart so far, She & Him gave you the first three songs of their 2022 album as singles already. Dalin’ thereby has a bit of the original vibe, but also feels very folk-pop-alike to me.
2. Wouldn’t It Be Nice
Okay, that’s such a classic, I am sure most of you will be able to compare this one in your heart with the original song. The She & Him has the Beach Boys vibe again – I just feel that listening Brian Wilson and his band mates leads to more energy. The Portland edition of Wouldn’t It Be Nice is softer.
3. Til I Die
She & Him did a very interesting and personal song selection. In contrast to Wouldn’t It Be Nice, which has been a Top 10 song in some markets and a UK golden record, Til I Die has just been a minor B-side in 1971. Very dreaming sound. The howling sound gives a slight touch of country music in here. Nicely arranged recording – but there is a reason why people did not really listened to this one 51 years ago.
Deirdre has been released together with Til I Die and Long Promised Road. The 2022 version of the Sunflower album song has a nice vibe, working with good drumming and strumming guitar sounds. Very harmonic, enjoyable listen.
5. Melt Away
The fifth track takes us to the late 1980’s – and also away from the Beach Boys. Melt Away has in fact been a solo release by Brian Wilson. Commercially not successful, but a good listen – in the good old times and in 2022.
6. Good To My Baby
Back to the 1960’s and the songs of The Beach Boys. Even in the 2022 cover, this song feels like the surf sound of the band, which wrote music history. She & Him nicely adopted to that.
7. Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)
The 1966 original has not been one of the speediest and most energetic Beach Boys recording. However, Deschanel and Ward even slow it down and turn it into a mixture of a slow jazz track and a chanson. I can’t relate too well to it.
8. Don’t Worry Baby
Even The Beach Boys recorded the song three times (as a band only in 1964 and in two collaborations later). She & Him do a nice job here, their version still references to the original, even though it has a very own character. Not that much added value, but well done.
9. This Whole World
This song is a bit more uplifting and energetic in the Melt Away version. However, the song is very simple (even German schlager singers would not regard this one to be complex). The original bothers me – and this version does not do better.
10. Kiss Me, Baby
Kiss Me, Baby was the 1965 B-side to the very successful Help Me, Rhonda. The success of the release concentrated on the A-side, which was a chart-topper in the US, Canada and Norway. Kiss Me, Baby is a over-emotional ballad with a simple melody. It works fine without being overwhelming catching.
11. Do It Again (feat. Brian Wilson)
Nice listen in here, as Brian Wilson himself is joining for the re-interpretation of Do It Again. I enjoy that celebrity bonus. One of the nicest listens of the album to me.
12. Heads You Win, Tails I Lose
The Beach Boys have joined force in 1961. Thus, this 1962 song is one of their first releases. More than sixty years later, the new version has a nice surf vibe. The distorted sound of the song does not fully catch me, though.
13. Please Let Me Wonder
Melt Away is getting very emotional again: the sound of Please Let Me Wonder (a 1965 B-side) is a again very gentle, dreaming, melodic. A bit too plushy for me, but Zooney Deschanel is overall doing a nice vocal job here.
14. Meant For You
Good night, listeners. The closer of Melt Away feels like a 91 second lullaby. Nice.
She & Him – Melt Away – Spotify
Here is Melt Away on Spotify:
She & Him – Melt Away – My View
Melt Away is a indeed a nice album. If you need some background music on a summer night, chatting with friends in the sunset, this recording may be perfect – and some of the 14 tracks will lead to some topics you want to talk about. Nonetheless, I sometimes feel that this project even had much more potential than just being a good album. Thus, I like it – but I am still a bit of disappointed.