Johansson Plays the Waits-ing Game...

Singers are a dime-a-dozen: I’m aware of this. At times, usually when I’m in some sort of self-flagellating mood, I’ll watch MTV and see how low the bar is set. And I’ll know, when I see Lindsay Lohan pouring her heart out, that everyone thinks they’re a fucking singer. And, it seems like it’s mostly actresses.

Without boring you, because it really is a long list, and you know who most of them are anyway, these “singers,” and in a lot of instances, “actresses,” are so bad, so trite, so thoroughly laughable…

Scarlett Johansson decided that she was going to add herself to this immense list. But, and I don’t know if this was a strategic move on her part, HER album is a standout: A collection of Tom Waits covers called, Anywhere I Lay My Head. I’ve heard some the tracks and I find her efforts largely unnecessary. However, interest in this album is going to cancel out its quality because, and ultimately this is really all that matters, she benefits from esoteric tastes. Aside from the bulletproof source material that she’s adapted, she got Dave Sitek from TV On The Radio to produce the album and managed to wrangle David Bowie into providing some background vocals, which seems insulting. Bowie backing Johansson? Really?

Anyway, a video for “Falling Down” has surfaced.

Very “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” don’tcha think? Maybe a little “Nothing Compares 2 U?”

“No one knows the real Scarlett.” Right.

It’s likely that anyone who spent $10 to see The Nanny Diaries isn’t going to know that Anywhere I Lay My Head owes its existence to Tom Waits. It’s even possible that “Falling Down” is being unknowingly touted as a Scarlett original. I really hope not. It would be in Scarlett’s best interest to let her public know that Tom Waits is more than just her songwriter.

I don’t know: maybe I should cut her some slack. I just can’t help but think that this album is going to add some more layers to Scarlett’s public persona. For Waits, I don’t see this earning him any fresh ears. He’s been spending most of his career avoiding commercial success, so what happens now that a commercial actress has commandeered his work?

Tom Waits has starred in a couple movies, so I guess he deserves to be treated like this.

Letters From A Tapehead


Anonymous said…
Jim mentioned this was sort of like a bad Cocteau Twins Christmas album. I have to agree.

At least Joe Pesci's was originals.
Unknown said…
i have heard about 90% of the album.
it sucks pretty fiercely.

And i wanted to like it, i really did...but nope.

For females covering Waits, i'll take Norah Jones, Diana Krall (good version of "Temptation"), or even Holly Cole

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