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Scarlett Johansson's inspired Atco Records debut album Anywhere I Lay My Head features her distinctive interpretations of ten songs by Tom Waits plus one original selection, "Song for Jo." Johansson co-wrote the track with TV on the Radio's David Andrew Sitek, who produced the album and lends his multi-instrumental talents throughout as well. She is also joined by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner, Sean Antanaitis from Celebration and others.
The album's title track comes from Waits' acclaimed 1985 album Rain Dogs. Johansson also selected cuts from Alice, Swordfishtrombones, Big Time, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards, Real Gone, Small Change and Bone Machine. Johansson spent five weeks in spring 2007 recording Anywhere I Lay My Head at Dockside Studios in Maurice, Lousiana, in the heart of Cajun country.
Track Listing 1. Fawn 2. Town with No Cheer 3. Falling Down 4. Anywhere I Lay My Head 5. Fannin Street 6. Song for Jo 7. Green Grass 8. I Wish I Was in New Orleans 9. I Don't Wanna Grow Up 10. No One Knows I'm Gone 11. Who Are You
Much like her fellow young Hollywood bombshell Zooey Deschanel, who made an entirely credible indie rock album with acoustic hipster M. Ward as She and Him earlier in 2008, Scarlett Johansson chose to capitalize on her indie film credibility when releasing her debut album. Produced by David Andrew Sitek of TV On The Radio and featuring guest appearances from David Bowie (who sings backing vocals on two tracks) and members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Celebration, ANYWHERE I LAY MY HEAD consists of 10 songs by bohemian hero Tom Waits plus one Sitek-Johansson original, "Song For Jo." Johansson does not have a conventionally pretty voice, but her Nico-like delivery, all cool burnished tones and deadpan anti-emotion, has its charms; more importantly, it's a better fit to the hazy, vaguely psychedelic arrangements than a more traditional vocal instrument would be. Though albums by actors have a long history of being cringeworthy, ANYWHERE I LAY MY HEAD is a quirky but entirely credible covers set.
A child actress (THE HORSE WHISPERER, GHOST WORLD) who matured into an indie-minded Hollywood star with her leading role in Sofia Coppola's lauded 2003 film, LOST IN TRANSLATION, Scarlett Johansson embarked on a musical path with her '08 debut, ANYWHERE I LAY MY HEAD. Consisting almost entirely of lesser-known Tom Waits songs, the album was produced by TV on the Radio's David Sitek and featured high-profile guests such as David Bowie, TVOTR's Tunde Adebimpe, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner. Although ANYWHERE didn't garner Johansson much critical favor, it reinforced her reputation as an adventurous performer.
Q (Magazine) (p.136) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "The album if fine enough, undeniably modish and much better than you might anticipate."
Town With No Cheer
Anywhere I Lay My Head
Song For Jo
I Wish I Was In New Orleans
I Don't Wanna Grow Up
No One Knows I'm Gone
Who Are You
...eerily beautiful...a startling achievement...
...inspired production from TV on the Radio's David Sitek and Johansson's smoky alto ensure Waits' essence isn't "lost in translation."
Frankly, we're pretty impressed by Scarlett Johansson's first real foray into music...