Thursday, May 08, 2008

Anywhere I Lay My Head - Scarlett Johansson

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Paris Hilton makes a record and is pilloried from pillar to post; Scarlett Johansson on the other hand, despite her Justin Timberlake video cameo's seems to get the benefit of the doubt. Nothing to do with the fact that this is largely an album of Tom Waits songs. And the fact she's roped in a "hip" producer (Dave Sitek from TV On The Radio), has one of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on guitar and managed to rope in David Bowie in on backing vocals.

The NME love it, which isn't as surprising as it may seem. It's an event record, just one that happens to be padded out with a better supporting cast than the majority of Hollywood Actresses vanity projects. Although I'd be interested in how they would view it if a less "cool" actress had made the exact same record.

Her singing isn't bad (but then is no better than, say, Lindsay Lohan's) but as if to make up for the obvious deficits the production at times seems keen to drown her out, or at least make her a peripheral character in her own album. It's no bad thing as she doesn't have the character of voice to carry proceedings on her own.

All in all it's not bad. It's been lovingly crafted, offers up some interesting version of Waits' songs and the one new track, Song For Jo, does suggest that there might be mileage in a prolonged Sitek/Johansson musical relationship. But in the final analysis, it's an interesting curiosity - nothing more. This is not a record that normal music listeners with no need to seem cool will love.

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