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News > Review: Scarlett Johansson - Anywhere I Lay My Head
Review: Scarlett Johansson - Anywhere I Lay My Head
By: The Royal Tea
With all logic, and every facet of history speaking against this album, its premise remains full of intrigue, and somehow strangely compelling. As quoted from the indie bible, "Thou shalt not partake in any offerings from celebrity turned singers, nor wear their name on any of thy clothing, nor sing any of their abominations in the shower." And for decades, these words have guided many hipsters, and music lovers alike through several valleys strewn with the shadows of death. And while those doctrines may have applied to the Paris Hilton's, and Lindsay Lohan's out there, Scarlett Johansson finds a way to cut through the massive facade, and bring out a truly meaningful, and thought-provoking work.
The notoriety, and selling point of the operation came when startling details of this project emerged; it would consist almost entirely of Tom Waits covers. Stop right there, if you don't know Tom Waits, imagine a fifty year old man drowning in a haze of cigarette smoke, trying to form notes while at the same time exhaling a cloud of bourbon drenched smog. If the combination of a blonde hollywood actress covering the likes of a New Orleans deep dark blues man doesn't sound odd enough, wait till you see who joined up. The covers will be graced by the presence of Nick Zinner (guitarist of the indie band The Yeah Yeah Yeah's), David Bowie, and more exciting of course, all production to be handled by David Sitek (of TV on the Radio). Now if that puree of musical pandemonium didn't boggle your mind, than you might want to check the realm of understanding you're residing in. So for a recap, Scarlett Johansson, covering Tom Waits, joined by two major indie players, with a few guest appearances from David Bowie. It's becoming clear how this work is going to redefine those indie verses that speak so unfavorably against this kind of showing.
The set-up left so many questions however, and so much potential, that actually creating something with matching interest seamed truly impossible. The results? Mind-blowing. In a make or break move, the album opens up with over three minutes of complete instrumentation. In fact the first track is completely Scarlett free, and it's not until over a minute into track two that her voice creeps out of the frame set by the first three minutes. Her voice, unlike every similar example of actress gone singer, is not the center point. Actually you'd be hard pressed to call it the second or third point even, it's really just a tool which cranks away at the nuts and bolts, exposing these beautifully magnificent compositions, once buried under Tom Wait's gruff presentation.
In an article with the producer, he said he was going for a sound similar to a pixie drowning in a pint of bourbon. The effect is quite accurately portrayed, each track dripping with dark musicality balanced quite effectively by a light and airy resonance only a woman could leave behind. These songs truly take new life, they place gentle sighs in the place of moaning wales. The mere fact that Tom Wait's compositions are now listenable while retaining much of the same dark chill about them, speaks volumes to the quality presented on Anywhere I Lay My Head. Her voice may not be perfect, and at times may be buried a little too deep in the overall mix, but it's the fact that a once unapproachable collection of songs now lends its beauty to all those ready to hear. And after listening to the album several times, it's quite clear that this project owes a lot to the fine hands behind the voice. David Sitek gave the album something it desperately needed, and with the help of all the guest appearances, this album will redefine standards for blonde headed actresses looking to dive into the great world of music production.
, scarlett johansson
, anywhere i lay my head
, paris hilton
, lindsay lohan
, tom waits
, nick zinner
, yeah yeah yeahs
, david bowie
, david sitek
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