Last week, Scarlett Johansson released the music video for her first single, "Falling Down." It’s off her upcoming debut album, Anywhere I Lay My Head, due out May 20. The song is … how should I say this? I respect her … it’s an interesting … she’s trying something … fine, it’s boring. There, I said it. Boring. Dull. Blah.
But look, don’t take my word for it. See for yourself. Though, please be warned: I strongly advise against operating heavy equipment while listening, because contents may cause drowsiness.
Hello, coma. Also, what the hell, Salman Rushdie?
Now, I must commend Scarlett for taking her music debut in an entirely unexpected direction. This isn’t your typical actress-turned-singer offering of slick, radio-ready pop pap. This is an entire album of Tom Waits cover songs. Clearly, this ain’t no ScarJo on the Block.
I’m not generally a huge fan of artists crossing mediums. I like my singers to sing and my actors to act. But then they get greedy and think they can do it all. While sometimes the results are glorious (Barbra Streisand, Julie Andrews), more often than not it’s just, well, wrong (two words: William Shatner).
We saw our first glimpse of Scarlett the singer last year when she joined the Jesus and Mary Chain onstage at Coachella. So, where will Scarlett’s album fall on the spectrum?
I’ve heard the whole CD and, again, while I appreciate her artistic integrity, it’s kind of like audio Ambien. Of course, others disagree. NME called it "one of the most brilliant records you’ll hear this year, honestly." Brilliant at making you sleepy? Also what’s up with all of the back-to-nature glamour shots she’s using to promote the album?
Don’t get me wrong — Anywhere I Lay My Head has some lovely touches and, after repeated listening, "Falling Down" is strangely starting to grow on me. I’m also greatly impressed that she got David Bowie to sing backing vocals. Producer David Sitek (of TV and Radio) has given the album an atmospheric, dreamy feel. It’s just at times a little too dreamy, and monosyllabic. And, well, boring.