Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Earthy pop and alt-country from Pete Yorn and Scarlet Johansson

It’s been quite a week. Regular readers know I returned to the work force after a long hiatus. I intend to write more regular posts in the future but this week my time was pretty well consumed. So, no mix this weekend, but I will put up the post I was working on throughout the week.

As easy on the ears as they are on the eyes.

I was a big fan of Pete Yorn’s debut album, “musicforthemorningafter” and I also liked a few tracks from his follow-up, “Day I Forgot.” He had kind of fallen off my radar for a while but I recently stumbled upon the fact that he released a collaboration in 2009 with none other than bombshell actress Scarlett Johansson. Now, I was much impressed with Johansson’s work in Lost in Translation and Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona. I’m afraid I missed her in Eight Legged Freaks, Home Alone 3, and The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, nor did I see her in Iron Man 2 (yet), The Black Dahlia, or The Other Boleyn Girl. Still, I had no idea she had any interest in or gift for music.

Turns out she does. In fact, I’m sure many of you are aware of her rather extensive work in music. She has worked with The Jesus and Mary Chain, Justin Timberlake, members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Dave Sitek (of TV on the Radio) and even David Bowie. She has had songs on movie soundtracks, been written up in magazines like Spin, The Guardian, and NME, and released an album of covers of Tom Waits songs that reached the Billboard charts (which I have ordered). Somehow I missed all that.

Thus I was intrigued when I heard of this recent collaboration with Pete Yorn, whose folky pop style has always been easy on the ears even when it wasn’t inspired. I brought it home and was pleasantly surprised. The project is called “Break Up” and it is full of good new songs and well-chosen covers. The production is rich and the styles vary from song to song. Johansson brings some additional vocal texture and interest to the project and I think they were entirely successful. Check out a few winners.

  • Relator – A broadly appealing pop melody and catchy, fuzzy guitar back lyrics about a dodgy relationship. The video is kind of funny because it stars the hot and magnetic Johansson and a comparatively awkward looking Yorn. He plays his guitar in sun glasses and she just sits there looking stunning.
  • I Don’t Know What to Do – I just recommended this song on Friday, but I didn’t describe it much. This is probably my favorite track on the album, it has an alt-country feel but the song really sparkles when Johansson starts her Billie Holiday-esque croon.
  • I Am the Cosmos – Yorn and Johansson try their hand at the old Chris Bell classic. They don’t break any new ground with it, but it’s a great song and this do a nice job with it.
  • Clean – This is a beautiful song. Nice nodding pace and a good use of both voices. They sound great singing together.

I didn’t write up all the songs on this album I like, just my favorites. There are other good tracks for you to discover.

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February 5, 2011 Posted by | Alt Country, Popular | 1 Comment