Actress Scarlett Johansson lends her vocals to indie rocker Pete Yorn on his latest album Break Up, released earlier this month.
Many will think they've heard this type of duo before -- and they have: She & Him (Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward). The only difference is She & Him had more chemistry.
Yorn and Johansson's nine-track album chronicling a relationship's downfall keeps almost half of the songs under three minutes, which is just enough to keep your attention without realizing how boring the songs actually are.
Much of Johansson's vocals are covered up by echoes and drowned out with sound effects, as if she was singing through electronic haze.
The tracks where she is at the forefront (I Am the Cosmos, I Don't Know What to Do) prove she does exhibit some decent vocal skill. Sadly, for the most part, Johansson doesn't croon but rather acts as an indifferent accessory to the songs and not much more (Search Your Heart). On Wear and Tear, she gives off a haunting presence.
Yorn gets quirky with the pop-country music, but his lyrics aren't as deep as fans might hope or expect. Clean is the closest the duo comes to making a full-on break-up song where listeners can actually feel their sadness.
While this is a weak fifth studio album for Yorn, it's a valiant sophomore effort for Johansson, compared with 2008's Anywhere I Lay My Head. Still, listeners will be left feeling disappointment from expecting much more from a potentially great concept album. Rest assure, it's not you, it's them.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Atoms.