This weekend, I watched the new series Love on Netflix, and it was more or less You’re the Worst with some Judd Appatow spin and featuring almost everyone who has been a recurring guest on Comedy Bang Bang. Seeing as how I love You’re the Worst, Judd Apatow and CBB, I really enjoyed it. One episode of the show ended with an Eddie Vedder cover of the John Doe song “Golden State”, and I was immediately reminded how much I generally enjoy guy-girl duet vocals.
Also, while running this weekend, “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare” by Matt and Kim came up on shuffle.
This confluence of incredibly mundane events led me to consider my favorite guy-girl music tandems, and as is my wont, I proceeded to rank them, so from worst to first, here are my favorite boy-girl musical teams.
- She and Him
Also known as Zooey Deschanel and that guy. The woman who graciously gifted the world the greatest portmanteau of our times–adorkable–has not made a similarly game changing gift to music.
- Mates of State
They’re an incredibly cheesy married duo, but sometimes that sort of works. I actually love their album Mountaintops, even if I understand that as indie pop that unabashedly apes show tunes and Motown, I really, really shouldn’t enjoy it.
- The Submarines
I actually genuinely enjoy the song “Shoelaces” by this band. Truthfully, I had always assumed they were a Matt and Kim knockoff, but Google assures me they’ve been active since 1999. It makes me slightly less guilty about enjoying the song “Shoelaces”
I almost entirely appreciate Phantogram because of their contributions to Big Boi’s body of work, but I really, really enjoy their collaborations
- The Hundred in the Hand
Their self-titled debut is legitimately quite good, and “Dressed in Dresden” still gets played at least once per month in the Bloggenstatt household. Singer Eleanore Everdell also sounds roughly 1,000 times cooler than I’ll ever be.
- The Magic Wands
This band looked cool, sounded cool and released a much-hyped EP, then followed it up with an album that mined territory super similar to their EP. For some reason, despite quality songs and respectable reviews, no one cared. Still, songs like the Alan Parson-lite “Kaleidoscope Hearts” are total pop-rock fun.
When their debut, Cape Dory, came out, almost every review mentioned that the album came about because a husband and wife from Colorado sold their possessions in order to buy a sailboat and travel around the Atlantic Coast. I love that album, and I love that story. Their followup, Young and Old, was produced by one of The Black Keys and was pretty good, but Cape Dory becomes a classic on any day with a temperature higher than 70 degrees.
- The Both
Ted Leo and Aimee Mann got together and made music totally unlike their respective solo works. They made a really solid Americana-rock album. It’s not earth-shattering great, but it is very good and has an infectious, freewheeling energy.
- Matt and Kim
OK, so not exactly challenging art-rock, but I’ll defend Grand as a legitimately great collection of pop songs, and a bunch of their singles are fun. Sure it’s been diminishing returns since 2010, but the good stuff is so good, and the new stuff is at least pretty unobjectionable when you inevitably hear it through mall speakers.
- Beach House
I think a lot of people would have these guys higher. While I understand that Bloom and Teen Dream are excellent albums beloved by people who like the type of music I like. Still, Beach House was capable of putting out two good albums in one year, and that’s tough to do.
- The Kills
The Kills might not be the best guy-girl duo in recent memory, but they’re probably the most influential. They were so effective at being utterly badass that quite a few groups consisting of a man and a woman have ripped off their black attire and vaguley dangerous vibe.
Keep On Your Mean Side remains a stone-cold classic.
Cults are a buzz band that absolutely delivered on the hype with a damn delightful debut album.
This band blew up from the get go thanks to super twee pop songs featuring snippets of mass-murdering cult leaders and a somewhat mysterious BandCamp page. They followed up the singles and EP with an excellent self-titled LP, and then followed that up with a pretty OK sophomore album. “Go Outside” might be my most listened to song ever. More songs need Jim Jones and glockenspiel.
- Sleigh Bells
They came in black leather jackets and classic wayfarers to hurt your ears and make you like it.
Hearing Treats for the first time was probably the first time I realized that music could be incredibly catchy and incredibly abrasive simultaneously. Every track on that album managed to be hummable while also posing a serious threat to your speakers and ear drums. It was awesome. Reign Of Terror was also a lot of fun, but after absolutely nailing it the first time, there wasn’t much room for improvement.
- The White Stripes
They were the best band of the ’00s, and possibly responsible for the prevalence of the modern co-ed rock duo. Elephant is their best album, in my opinion, but there’s really not a weak spot in their discography.