As some of you may have heard, Scarlett Johansson has been working on a record with the guitarist from TV On The Radio since last summer. For some strange reason, I’ve been waiting with baited breath. I can’t fucking explain it. I haven’t been this fascinated by the very concept of an album since William Shatner’s Has Been. I mean, the idea of Scarlett Johansson recording an album, in and of its own, isn’t quite as surreal as a Bill Shatner album produced by Ben Folds. But here’s the kicker: Scarlett’s album is 10 Tom Waits songs and one original.
So yesterday an email blast went out from Special Ops, the intarwebs marketing firm tasked with promoting Scarlett’s album, entitled Anywhere I Lay My Head, due out May 20th. The email blast featured a “listening party” stream of 6 full songs, which is playing below.
2. Town With No Cheer
3. Falling Down
4. Anywhere I Lay My Head
5. Fannin Street
6. Song For Jo (Original)
Around the same time the email blast went out, the single, Falling Down, showed up on iTunes and Amazon and a bunch of other places. Johnny noticed it somewhere and alerted me to how godawfully bad it was, at least in his opinion… And mine… At first anyway…
There’s something about this stuff though. I can’t tell if it’s simply the enchantment of something so unusual or what. The TV On The Radio guy is talented, as is Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs who contributed. Also, David Bowie apparently makes an appearance. Tom Waits has heard the tracks and given his blessing, but something tells me he’s just subversive and crazy enough to approve of fucking anything and leave us to try and make sense of it. But from what I can hear in this stream, the music is rich and deeply layered. And like Shatner on his album, Scarlett’s unremarkable singing voice is unrepentant.