Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Scarlett Sing Waits: First Listen

I posted about Anywhere I Lay My Head, Scarlett Johansson's forthcoming album of Tom Waits covers a while back. Now there's an official website with clips from all of the songs, Spinner has posted an 'exclusive' of her version of Falling Down and I've also found an MP3 of the title track (available below).

Having heard her rendition of Summertime I'd expected something predictably jazzy. Instead, with producer David Sitek (TV on the Radio), she's taken the surprising decision to do a sort of electro-pop number on all of the songs. A pretty odd move in my opinion and not one I'm sure works. What do you reckon?

Also, last time I wrote about this I promised to post some of my favourite Tom Waits covers. Well, you can look forward to those some time next week I promise.


MP3: Scarlett Johansson - Anywhere I Lay My Head

MP3: Tom Waits -Falling Down


Buy Scarlett Johansson's Tom Waits album

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Scarlett Sings Waits

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Scarlett Johansson Album


John said...

In so far as I can tell from listening to all of the samples, the arrangements work well about 50% of the time. Those that tend towards crap in my mind seem to follow the same template:

1. Making a slow song more upbeat by adding a drum machine.

2. Eschewing all other instrumentation in the mix (including the vocals) for synthesizers up front.

3. Being one of my favorite Waits originals.

As you can probably tell, this is kind of a disappointment for me. There is, however, some redemption: the lone original, "Song for Jo" I like quite a bit, actually. I chalk it up to poor song selection, a little too much hipster in the production, and a real lack of crafting the music around Scarlett's vocal range (e.g., her breathiness gets out-droned by the musical backdrop in so many places it's like she's stopped singing entirely!)

Needless to say, I'm not planning on rushing to the shops for this.

Nigel Smith said...

Although it's been slated on the majority of blogs I've read the reviews in the press have been fairly positive so far.

I tend to find that the best Waits covers are those that really make you reconsider his lyrics. Not sure that happens here but I don't think te production is all bad.

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