Anywhere I Lay My Head

Scarlett Johansson

Atco, 2008

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


So what does one of the most beautiful women in the world – who also happens to be a respected actress – do in her spare time? She produces an album of Tom Waits cover songs.

So what do this same beautiful actress and I have in common? The answer is: we both can’t sing.

I have always been fascinated by the fact that people successful in one arena always seem to want to be successful elsewhere as well. Actors want to be singers, singers want to be athletes, and athletes want to act. But sometimes, people just don’t know when to be satisfied.

Scarlett Johansson is the latest actress to try her hand at cutting an album. The problem is, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. It makes me wonder if she has anyone in her life or on her staff to tell her “no.” I can almost hear Scarlett announcing, “I’m going to make an album,” and the response: “What a great idea, Scarlett.” “I’m going to make an album of Tom Waits songs.” “What a really great idea, Scarlett.” And so the album my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Anywhere I Lay My Head was born. Too many times people forget that “no” is an operative word in the English language.

The first hint of possible trouble comes in the liner notes, where it announces that Johansson’s vocals are positioned inside the music rather than on top of it. The translation is that you are trying to hide less than stellar vocals in the mix.

The instrumental “Fawn” begins the album, and right off the bat, it sounds like an organ you would hear at a church funeral service.

Another instrumental, “Town With No Cheer,” sets the electronic tone of the album. Johansson announces in the album’s liner notes that she has re-imagined some Tom Waits songs; re-imaginging Tom Waits may or may not be a good idea, but an overload of electronic sound is a singularly bad idea for his songs.

By the time “Falling Down” rolls around, the mechanical nature of Miss Johansson’s vocals have begun to wear on the listener. “Anywhere I Lay My Head” continues the vocal problems with its droning sound: think of a small one-engine airplane buzzing a landing field.

Scarlett Johansson is likeable. She is personable and a good interviewee, and she has notably managed to avoid the tabloids and scandals that plague other actresses her age. Thousands of people yearn to be a talented and successful actor or actress. Many would love to be considered beautiful. Some want to create a popular album. But Johansson will have to settle for two out of three; hopefully Anywhere I Lay My Head will be an anomaly in her career.

Rating: F

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2008 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Atco, and is used for informational purposes only.