Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hammerin' away


Actress Scarlett Johansson is desperate to launch her album of Tom Waits covers - because she's anxious for the singer/songwriter's approval. Johansson, 23, will make her album debut with a compilation of the singer's hits when her record Anywhere I Lay My Head is released in the U.S. next week. The album will feature vocals from David Bowie - who has praised her musical talents - but Johansson admits she has yet to receive approval from Waits himself. She tells the New York Post, "When I was presented with the idea, the ultimate goal was to not get chased down by Tom Waits and get my ass beat in a bar. I've heard from people who are friends with him that he's very pleased with it. He's been really supportive - not from the sidelines, but from a far, far distance. It was constantly in the back of my mind that if we did something Tom Waits hated, he'd come at me with a hammer."
Well, she's probably got that right, given Waits' history of protectiveness of his songs. But it appears that he's given her his blessing. Yet the clips available on it's Amazon page show the songs to be very new age-y and barely recognizable as Tom Waits tunes (not that that's a requirement, but still).

I would have preferred that she just go with some of his early melodic stuff. Bette Midler once did a great cover of "Martha", so I could see Scarlett doing a nice sultry version of "Depot, Depot". She could do maybe seven songs like that and then, just to throw people off, do a balls-out version of "16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought-Six".

That's too much to wish for, I suppose. As it is, if I'm inclined to check out the musical debut of a beautiful actress, I think I'll go with Zooey Deschanel.

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