January 16, 2021

Summer Sounds from CM: That Sunny 60’s Sound

Surfer Music

Since it is officially summer in the good ol’ U.S.A. now, I have been listening to some of that happy music that used to play on AM radio when I was a kid, the great summery songs that played over the sound system at the pool. It spoke of freedom, romance, and the idealism of youth. It rarely dealt with subjects any more serious than whether that cute girl would consider going steady with me. There was a sweetness, an innocence, an melodic exuberance that just made you feel good.

she-him-volume-3It has been hard find album-length examples of this kind of music for a long time. Last year, the Beach Boys put out a wonderful record, That’s Why God Made the Radio, which was the first album they had made with Brian Wilson in 16 years. Jeff recommended it last summer and you can also read the wonderful in-depth Rolling Stone review here. Actually, this album is probably best suited for the end of the summer, because it contains a marvelous combination of the songs of innocence and experience that have always marked the best Beach Boys’ records, ending with a fade to sunset.

This summer, I’m enjoying the sun-bathed sounds of She & Him Volume 3. The duo of M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel has put together a breezy program of infectious melodies that is unabashedly retro. It is one of the most fully realized reproductions of the pop sound of the 1960’s that I have ever heard. The arrangements, instrumentation, and Ms. Deschanel’s alluring young girl voice are pitch perfect and delightful. She wrote most of the songs on this album, and she inhabits them, joyfully re-creating that pastel 60’s world I can still see in my imagination.

Here’s the song, “I Could’ve Been Your Girl,” from a performance on Conan.



  1. Here’s some preaching that you make you want to escape church for the beach!


  2. Dana Ames says

    I think the music recommendations are a great part of the blog.

    I also think it’s really good that record producers have seen the quality and value in having real instruments in the mix and are willing to pay the musicians. There were a few dark years not too long ago when that wasn’t the case…


  3. I love M. Ward (the guitarist and other vocalist in She & Him). He’s really a versatile guitarist. He plays on Neko Case’s new single, “Man” (which has some profanity in the last verse, just as a warning)


    • Sorry, I didn’t mean to re-state the obvious there. I somehow missed that you gave a shout out to M. Ward (in bold nonetheless) in the original post.

  4. It’s so nice to hear young artists doing the old sounds of my generation…I can actually listen!
    I must say that I get a little tired of going into stores (all of them) and they are playing the same pop tunes with someone trying to scream every note that they can…this “music” has been around since the days of Madonna and it’s getting tiring. IMHO

  5. cermak_rd says

    These days, I’m more into making music (well, trying to anyway) than listening, but I do like 60’s pop music, so maybe I’ll give a listen.

    One of my big discoveries these days is the group “snarky puppy”. Instrumentalists that play well together and, depending on the song, in fairly large numbers. I guess you’d call their style a jazz/funk fusion type thing.

  6. A little more edge and I could confuse Zooey with a young Linda Ronstadt. Good to see real, actual violins as a part of the mix. Thanks, CM!

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