Pete Yorn And Scarlett Johansson - Break Up
Despite all the criticism Scarlett Johansson received for trying her hand at music, one has to admit that she legitimately seems to be a fan. She was (somewhat unfairly) raked over the coals for last year's David Sitek-produced Tom Waits cover album Anywhere I Lay My Head. She seems to have come through that experience undeterred with this week's release of Break Up, her new album with Pete Yorn.
Critics should take heart that it's clearly Yorn in the driver's seat here. It's his vocals that are for the most part front and centre on the record. The arrangements are also clearly Yorn's. When Johansson does step forward, like on songs such as "I Don't Know What To Do", her husky vocals fit well within the atmosphere Yorn has created.
Of course, it's tempting to compare this celebrity/musician union to the stellar debut of She & Him. However, Yorn and Johansson favour a roots slant rather than the '60s cinematic pop embraced by the Deschanel/Ward tandem. That being said, the opener "Relator" is an indie swinger while "Blackie's Dead" is a driving road trip singalong. "Wear and Tear" shows flashes of pop brilliance alongside a plucky banjo.
Not every song is a winner, and at only 9 tracks in length any filler stands out like a sore thumb. Unfortunately we're given some here in the form of the uninspired "I Am the Cosmos" and "Clean" which smolders ever so briefly before sputtering out.
Break Up concludes its foray into the subject of love and relationship with "Someday". The Yorn-dominated track provides the record with a cathartic closer.
Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler don't need to worry about being unseated as the best duo of the decade so far. However, here's hoping that bloggers will actually judge this record on its merits and not go over the top in the negative reviews they've probably been writing since this album was first announced.
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