Review originally posted on http://www.myspace.com/disc_connected on May 10, 2008
I can think of few mental images more disturbing than the lovely Scarlett Johanssen paired with Tom Waits.
When it was announced that Scarlett's foray into popular music would be an album of Tom Waits covers, I had to scratch my head and wonder. Why not Dylan covers? She had been cast in the video for "When The Deal Goes Down." Why not the usual actress-turned-pop-star bubblegum?
The song selection focuses on Waits' more recent catalogue, ignoring his works from the seventies (where I've always felt his strongest songwriting was demonstrated). Musically the album works, opening with a reworking of an instrumental from Waits' 2002 album Alice, and from there using the instrumentation to create the mood.
Sadly, Johansson never truly inhabits these songs, failing to "get into character." That, and the fact that the material is not Waits' strongest, makes this album middle-of-the-road, never truly living up to its potential.
That Scarlett sure is pretty, though!