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From Tom Waits to Pete Yorn: Scarlett Johansson readies new album

May 26, 2009 | 11:31 am

It's only one of three albums he'll be releasing this year, but one doesn't work with Woody Allen's muse without attracting a bit of attention. Folksy-pop singer-songwriter Pete Yorn will release an album with Scarlett Johansson, dubbed "Break Up," on Sept. 8 via Atco/Rhino.

The label last year released Johansson's debut, "Anywhere I Lay My Head." Largely re-interpretations of Tom Waits songs, the album was as much a showcase for Johansson as it was producer Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio. Her work with Yorn will likely bring Johansson more to the forefront.

Debut single "Relator" is streaming now. At least on a cursory first impression, the cut does a swell job of framing Johansson's plain-spoken and smokey vocals, bringing a little more swing and life to her voice than most of the "Anywhere I Lay My Head" tracks offered. The track is a bit bouncy, and a bit slight, and Johansson does bring some weight to Yorn's easygoing vibe.

The album, according to a press release, pre-dates "Anywhere I Lay My Head" by about two years. The statement also proves that Yorn lives in the sort of privileged world few of us will ever get to know. "I was having a strange week of insomnia and when I finally passed out, it came to me in a dream,” Yorn is quoted as saying. “I woke up and the whole thing was in my head, fully formed.”

We've made a note here at Pop & HIss to try that line out on any famous actresses that cross our path. In the meantime, Yorn will release "Back and Fourth" on June 23 via Columbia, recorded in Omaha, Neb.,  with Saddle Creek Records' go-to-guy, Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley).

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times