Monday, 21 September 2009

Not Hating Scarlett Johansson

Monday, 21 September 2009
Imported from Facebook Notes:  28 May 2008
So the other day I was reading a review of Scarlett Johansson's record... for those of you who don't know, she's recorded an album of Tom Waits covers.

I can't pretend to be a fan of Tom Waits -- actually, let me clarify; I'm not NOT a fan of Tom Waits either, I only know him as the loony guy in Dracula -- but I know that as a musician he has a healthy cult following, but that's about it. Not really my cup of tea, but then I can't say I've given him a fair chance either, if you know what I mean.

But I thought I had better check out her record, not because I particularly like her, or him, or not, or whatever, but because I read this review that said:

'Would someone tell Scarlett Johansson that The Jesus and Mary Chain want their distortion back?'

... and I like the Jesus and Mary Chain so I thought I would check out what all the fuss is about.

Which begs the question -- what IS all the fuss about? I've listened to only one of the songs, 'Falling Down' (link attached) and I think it's pretty good! The video is kinda lame, I couldn't really get to what it was trying to say, but the song is all right. Until you get to the end and there's some a cappella warbling where her voice is really flat and a bit grating. But there's the rub -- where is it written that just because she's master of one trade it should automatically follow that she should receive identical acclaim for another?

I wouldn't say her vocals are particularly strong on this track, even though I have heard her sing before and she's got a very sweet voice. But some of my favourite recording artists can't hold a tune to save their lives, and that's what makes them good. Jack White (hubbahubbahubba) isn't reputed for his vocal accuracies. Kylie Minogue is an excellent singer -- but it doesn't make her good. Courtney Love is a totally shit singer -- actually, wait a minute -- no... that doesn't make her good either. My train of thought is derailing!!!!

But my point is this: music is for listening to, isn't it? You don't need the video, you don't need the flashy MySpace page, you don't need the promotional paraphernalia, ringtone or t-shirt... you listen to something and you decide if you like it.

And I like this!

Moody vocals: check.
Wall of noise distortion and atmosphere: check.
Maudlin haunting melody: check.

The fact that she's getting such stick for also being an actor -- no big deal. In isolation, the song should be a hidden gem for its own sake instead of Hollywood's.

Here's the link to it anyway -- YOU can make up your own mind as well.

3 people had something to say about this...:

Nicola Proctor said...

GAH. I can't work out how to embed video.

Lis said...

Okay I have to say when this song first came out I hated it!! HATE! But here I am two years later and in a different place and I actually like it, how did that happen? Maybe 2 years ago when my husband professed his love lust for Miss Johansson I was more insecure, maybe I was just not needing such a husky, slow ballad. All I know is now I like it, thanks Nicola for reminding me.

Nicola Proctor said...

Can't blame him -- she is a total hottie! Glad you like it!