Scarlett Johansson's album debut panned by critics

Tue May 20, 2008 7:43pm EDT
 
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Scarlett Johansson's latest film work may be getting the red carpet treatment at Cannes, but her debut album, released on Tuesday, is drawing fire from music critics.

"Anywhere I Lay My Head," a collection of Tom Waits songs recorded by the star of such films as "Match Point," "Lost in Translation" and "Girl with a Pearl Earring," has been described by the actress as "an intimate experience."

But numerous reviews of the album complained that Johansson's vocals end up lost in the lush arrangements of producer David Andrew Sitek, the guitarist and keyboardist for the indie rock band TV on the Radio.

For some critics, that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

"Johansson's voice is unremarkable and her pitch sometimes unsteady; she's a faintly goth Marilyn Manson lost in a sonic fog," wrote Rolling Stone magazine, which gave her a lukewarm 2.5 stars out of five.

Britain's Mojo magazine called the recordings "fussy and forgettable," adding that the decision to begin the album with an instrumental was hardly a vote of confidence in Johansson's vocal abilities.

The disc received a middling "C" grade from Entertainment Weekly magazine, which wrote that her "expressionless voice" was buried "deeply in the druggy ambiance."

And the Washington Post said it was possible to listen to all 40-plus minutes of Johansson's album and "still have no earthly idea what she sounds like."   Continued...

 
<p>Actress Scarlett Johansson poses during a photocall to present her film 'The other Boleyn Girl' running at the 58th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, February 15, 2008. Johansson's latest film work may be getting the red carpet treatment at Cannes, but her debut album, released on Tuesday, is drawing fire from music critics. REUTERS/Johannes Eisele</p>