Music Review: Scarlett Johansson ‘Anywhere I Lay My Head’

Anywhere I Lay My Head
Scarlett Johansson
ATCO Records
Release Date: May 20, 2008

Scarlett Johansson‘s first foray into music is through the songs of another artist. In her debut album, Anywhere I lay my head, Johansson decides to go the cover-tune route. With the help of producer Dave Sitek, Johansson brings together nine Tom Waits song and adds in an original song written by herself and Sitek for good measure. The big question though is, with so many actresses out there with albums, does Johansson’s album out shadow the rest?

I think the main question everyone wants answered is can Johansson sing? Well, after listening to the whole album, I can safely say I am still on the fence about that one. You really need to listen carefully to hear it. The whole album, arranged by Sitek, is so instrumentally driven and so electronically enhanced, that at times, Johansson seems to get lost in the shuffle in a number of songs. It feels as if Sitek is trying to mask or make up for Johansson’s shortcomings as a singer.

When she is heard through all the background music, particularly in “Fallin’ Down,” her voice is low, smooth, and filled to the brim with melancholy. It is a song that suits the quality of her voice and makes believe that Johansson can indeed hold a tune. The problem is, there is not a lot of songs on this Tom Waits homage that can showcase this, if you can even call it that.

It appears that all these Tom Waits song, though still lyrically the same, has been “re-imagined” for today’s listeners. This means more instrumental arrangements in some songs and electronic sounds inserted into others. What you get is what Waits would have sounded like if he was heavily influenced by Coldplay or any EMO-rific band that is out there today. Does it sound interesting? Yes. Does it sound good? That is up for debate. If you are fan of this type of music, this CD might be for you. If not, chances are you will just be bored to tears by it.

In the end, I am not sure I can recommend this to anyone but curious Johansson fans. Fans of Waits might want to pick it up from a friend. You can watch the video below of Johannson doing “Falling Down” so you can get a taste of what’s the album.

This re-imagined album might not be for everyone. I am curious to see what Johansson plans to do next though. She does show promise and if she does do another album, I hope she plans to do one that is not so big on production and more so about the songs.

Track List

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


“Falling Down” by Scarlett Johansson


1 Comment »

  1. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Scarlett Johansson fan when it comes to her acting…. but this album is absolute crap…!!! It sounds like she ended up in a cheap Karaoke joint after a long, long night of heavy liquor and cigarettes.
    I sincerely hope someone close to Scarlett manages to persuade her to let go of any musical aspirations and dedicate her talents to what she’s good at: acting.

    Comment by TheFifth — September 1, 2008 @ 4:15 pm

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