Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Album Review: Scarlett Johansson's Anywhere I Lay My Head

I can’t help but think that much of the criticism Scarlett Johansson has received for releasing Anywhere I Lay My Head comes from the fact that she is, well, Scarlett Johansson and not some beloved indie musician. Beyond that, the fact she dared to touch Tom Waits’ tunes is considered by some to be beyond the pale. This is of course entirely unfair.

The album kicks off with the instrumental, “Fawn.” This opener gives the band a chance to really show its stuff. And great stuff it is. The band is made up of members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Celebration, and TV On The Radio. It is most importantly produced by Dave Sitek of TV On The Radio, whose sonic pallet really is present on Anywhere I Lay My Head. The other key is Scarlett Johansson’s voice. To me, it is really soulful and beautiful.

The combination of vocal, band, and production is what allows these songs by Tom Waits be reinterpreted in such a great way. “Falling Down,” the first single, is just so powerful. So when Scarlett Johansson sings, “I have come 500 miles / Just to see a halo,” it is just so fervid. And in the end, this is what music should do.

Check out a live version of “Falling Down.”


Danielle said...

I'm so glad you like it! You should tell the Boy.

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