11 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Actress Scarlett Johansson’s solo musical debut is a lovely collection of hazy, ephemeral, narco-pop, a distant cousin to early 4AD artists (Lush, Pale Saints, Lisa Germano) and early-‘70s folk rock (Tim Buckley, Big Star). Produced by TV On the Radio’s Dave Sitek, Johansson pours her longtime affection for Tom Waits into covering a slew of his songs, which is gutsy in itself; not that she’s playing the breathy sex kitten taking on the wizened and whiskered troubadour — she’s got a fairly gutsy, bluesy, crooner style, in fact — but any newcomer taking on such a revered figure has got to have some trepidation. With the songs thoroughly filtered into new creations, the only misstep here is that producer Sitek laid on the atmospherics a bit too thick; when Johansson’s not lost in the fog, her voice is inarguably seductive and powerful. Strip away a layer of keyboard haze on the title track, on “Falling Down” or “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up,” and you’ll find a vocal as strong as any indie chanteuse. Her sharp edges on tracks like “Town With No Cheer” and “Green Grass” pay tribute to her muse — with a little sugar added.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Actress Scarlett Johansson’s solo musical debut is a lovely collection of hazy, ephemeral, narco-pop, a distant cousin to early 4AD artists (Lush, Pale Saints, Lisa Germano) and early-‘70s folk rock (Tim Buckley, Big Star). Produced by TV On the Radio’s Dave Sitek, Johansson pours her longtime affection for Tom Waits into covering a slew of his songs, which is gutsy in itself; not that she’s playing the breathy sex kitten taking on the wizened and whiskered troubadour — she’s got a fairly gutsy, bluesy, crooner style, in fact — but any newcomer taking on such a revered figure has got to have some trepidation. With the songs thoroughly filtered into new creations, the only misstep here is that producer Sitek laid on the atmospherics a bit too thick; when Johansson’s not lost in the fog, her voice is inarguably seductive and powerful. Strip away a layer of keyboard haze on the title track, on “Falling Down” or “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up,” and you’ll find a vocal as strong as any indie chanteuse. Her sharp edges on tracks like “Town With No Cheer” and “Green Grass” pay tribute to her muse — with a little sugar added.

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