Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I Don’t Want to Grow Up

Song: I Don’t Want to Grow Up
Artist: Scarlett Johansson
Album: Anywhere I Lay My Head

Getting my vote for one of the strangest records I’ve heard in a long time is none other than “Anywhere I Lay My Head” by Scarlett Johansson. The actress. Since there is a general consensus that actors can’t sing, and singers can’t act… I am assuming this record is going to be reviewed with a heavy hand. But there are a few things going for it… first, instead of writing these songs herself she has decided to almost strictly (save one inconsequential original) cover Tom Waits. Also, she has managed to enlist TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek to produce the album, as well as enlist guests Nick Zimmer of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and David Bowie.

So what is it like? Strange. Her voice sounds very Nico, a deep almost speaking like singing voice that is often seemingly drowning within the mix. I’m not saying this is BAD per say… but it’s obvious she’s no Aretha Franklin. But she’s also no Stevie Nicks, which is how I envisioned her to sound. Her take on “I Wish I Was in New Orleans” is almost unlistenable… but she turns one of my favorite Waits songs, “I Don’t Want to Grow Up” into an 80’s inspired synth freak-out. Moody for sure, and it works.

I don’t think I am necessarily recommending this record… I just find its existence so odd. Aside from picking Tom Waits of all people to cover (whom I love) she decided to stick almost exclusively sing songs from later in his career. So it’s also not meant as a “greatest hits of Tom” record at all. The more I think about it, I wonder who the heck this record is intended for. I don’t really see it taking off with Waits fans (her arrangements are not much like the originals) and her vocals, while strange, aren’t even HALF as strange as Mr. Waits’. And aside from all the hipster cred the record has… I can’t imagine a die hard hipster listening to a Scarlett Johansson record for Pete’s sake.

Enjoy. Or try.

I Don’t Want to Grow Up – Tom Waits killer video

And the Ramones covered it first!

1 comment:

Lizzy said...

Definitely strange. It reminds me of something off the "Toys" soundtrack. Remember that movie?