Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson: Break Up


RIYL: Aimee Mann, Mark Geary, Nicole Atlkins

When most people wake up from a deep sleep with a sudden strange and creative urge, little ever comes of it. Then again, Pete Yorn isn’t most people. As he tells it, Yorn awoke just needing to make a duets album, and lucky guy that he is, he’s a personal friend of the beautiful Scarlett Johansson, who proves to be a true chanteuse. Together they recorded a nine-song set of ingenious lo-fi pop, simple in their beauty and deeply resonant on the personal side, and Break Up was born…in 2006. Why this sat for three years gathering dust is beyond us. Yorn described the process of this album as one of the most intimate and controlled on his part, so it took the urging of friends to get him to revisit and release it. We should all send those friends a note of thanks, because this album is like nothing else out there.

Opening with the single “Relator,” you immediately hear the uncharacteristic synth line that bee-bops along until Johansson’s smoky, almost husky vocals hit the ear like a fine shot of bourbon hits the throat. It sounds like some kind of effect was used, but Yorn insists that it is Scarlett au natural. She blends perfectly with Yorn’s classically pained and scratchy growl, and the chemistry between them is obvious. It infects every song with an emotional immediacy. “I Don’t Know What to Do” takes a slight, very slight, country tinge where Johansson is unfortunately relegated to back up, because when she sings, the whole song lights up.

It really is Scarlett’s addition that pushes this album from good to great. “Blackie’s Dead” starts out like something right off of The Day I Forgot until the harmonies of Johansson transform it into something ethereal, carried along by an a haunting steel guitar riff. This kind of song redeems Adult Contemporary because it is grown up, without being safe or boring. A perfect example is “Clean,” which features a more R&B sound, just enough to make Johansson simply ooze through the headphones with a subtly hollow sadness brought forth with the echoing production. This is mature songwriting that loses none of the passionate impact of Yorn’s earlier work.

As the second release of 2009 for Pete, he has completely redeemed any missteps he may have taken with the earlier solo album, Back & Fourth. Both that and Break Up are his self-proclaimed attempts to be more personal and direct with his music, but the latter succeeds far beyond the more prosaic Back & Fourth. Working with Johansson, Yorn has created a a gorgeous album, far beyond anything one would normally expect from a hazy, sleep inspired creative whim. This is art. (Rhino 2009)

Pete Yorn MySpace page

  

Pete Yorn talks “Back & Fourth,” singing with Scarlett

The hype surrounding his music has died down considerably since he made his Sony debut in 2001 with musicforthemorningafter, but even as the choruses of “next big thing” have subsided, Pete Yorn has set about building a career out of one solidly crafted, well-reviewed album after another — and he’s looking to add two more to the catalog this year: the recently released solo set Back & Fourth, and an upcoming duets set with Scarlett Johansson, Break Up. Having just completed a string of dates opening for Coldplay, Yorn is ready to hit the road in support of Fourth, and was nice enough to set aside some time on a day off for a chat with Bullz-Eye’s Neil Carver. Their talk touched on the new albums (of course), his newfound love for New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle,” what inspired him to work with Scarlett, and how his songwriting process has changed over the years:

“In the old days, I wouldn’t really write much on tour. I’d come home and everything would come to a grinding halt, and then I would start to get really restless and freaked out. That’s when I’d start writing the songs.”

To read more of what Pete Yorn had to say in his Bullz-Eye interview, follow this link!

  

Various Artists: He’s Just Not That Into You: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

If a dude admits that he likes a chick flick, he might lose certain privileges, like, you know, the privilege to not be hassled by his buddies. But soundtracks are another story, because sometimes they surprise us with songs we actually like or even ones we have listened to and purchased on our own before. As for “He’s Just Not That Into You,” which is the chick flick of chick flick titles, there are some songs on its soundtrack that will let you guys keep your street cred and then some, such as My Morning Jacket’s “I’m Amazed,” the Black Crowes’ “By Your Side” and the Replacements’ “Can’t Hardly Wait.” But even the estrogen-heavy stuff isn’t bad – Tristan Prettyman’s “Madly” and Erin McCarley’s “Love, Save The Empty” are catchy and worth a download, and make up for the sappy James Morrison tune (“You Make It Real”) or the over-played Human League hit, “Don’t You Want Me.” But the kicker? Scarlett Johansson’s “Last Goodbye” is the closer, and it is so not bad at all – there’s no surprise she has a sexy voice, but it’s her delivery and the beauty of the song itself that will surprise the most skeptical of you all. (Warner Bros.)

Movie Website

  

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