Talking songs with She & Him
NEW YORK (AP) — The musical duo She & Him — that's Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward — convened a 20-piece orchestra to make "Classics," a collection of songs written between 1930 and 1974.
It's an eclectic list of compositions popularized by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Herb Alpert, the Righteous Brothers and Dusty Springfield. So we thought it would be fun to talk to the artists about songs that stick out in their minds for various reasons.
A SONG YOU'D LIKE TO COVER BUT INTIMIDATES YOU
Ward's choice: "This Is Radio Clash" by the Clash. It's one of his favorite bands, but he doesn't think it's in his vocal range. "There is a certain attitude to their music, and to the Ramones' music, that I think is untouchable," he said.
Deschanel's choice: "Paris 1919" by John Cale. "I don't think I could pull it off," she said.
A SONG FROM THE LAST 20 YEARS OR SO THAT WILL SOMEDAY BE SEEN AS A CLASSIC
Deschanel's choice: "Open up Your Door" by Richard Hawley. She also loves Hawley's "Tonight the Streets Are Ours." ''I'm a huge fan," she said.
Ward's choice: "Kool Thing" by Sonic Youth. He's moved by the guitar and contribution from Public Enemy's Chuck D. "The future of music is combining things that don't really belong together," he said. "That's what the best artists have been doing since time began."
A SONG THAT'S BEEN UNFAIRLY TRAPPED IN ITS TIME
Ward's choice: "Lovers Rock" by Sade. "The record is pretty timeless, and I think she gets put in a bubble of '80s music because of 'Smooth Operator,'" he said.
Deschanel's choice: "I Like It" by DeBarge. "The song is really well written and versatile. I think it would actually make a great country song," she said. Honorable mention is Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You." ''I would really like to hear it without those keyboards."
THE HARDEST SONG YOU'VE EVER HAD TO SING
Deschanel's choice: "Sleigh Ride," written by Leroy Anderson. (The Andrews Sisters recorded the first vocal version in 1950.) "It seems like it would be simple, but it changes keys twice in the bridge so it's quite difficult," she said. "In spite of its trickiness it's worth it because it's a fantastic song."
Ward's choice: "The Red and the Black" by Blue Oyster Cult. He still has nightmares about the time Mike Watt invited him onstage to cover it, and it turned out to be much faster than he remembered.
FAVORITE SONG TO DO FROM THE NEW ALBUM, "CLASSICS"
Ward's choice: "Oh No, Not My Baby," written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. "It's my favorite blend of strings and brass that I've ever produced," he said. "It reminds me of some of my favorite productions by George Martin or Phil Spector — producers whose music I could listen to forever."
Deschanel's choice: "Unchained Melody," written by Alex North and Hy Zaret. Recording vocals with the Chapin Sisters made it a treat. "We recorded it live with three microphones in the same room and did only one take," she said. "There's something very special about not just recording a song, but a single moment in time as well."