Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmm....

I bought a 7" by sometime actress Scarlett Johansson today. 
I bought it for these reasons:
1. David Sitek of TV On The Radio produced it
2. It has the Lord David Bowie on backing vocals
3. Point 1&2 are what made "Province" by TV On The Radio one of my fave songs ever
4. I was hoping it would be like "Province"
5. It's a Tom Waits cover
So, having listened to "Falling Down" a few times, I really dig it! It's like the best song TV On The Radio never did - the worst thing about it is the vocals (which remind me of someone from the 80s - no not Cyndi Lauper - can anyone help out here?!) - but they're growing on me each listen. 
I would be really interested what youse guys think about it. 
Here's the tune, and also "Province" by TV On The Radio for comparison:

Falling Down by Scarlett Johansson
Province by TV On The Radio

I just wish it was just Bowie, maybe, rather than a Hollywood movie star's vanity project. 

22 comments:

nilpferd said...

The vocals remind me of a sedated Sinead O'Conner or the singer from the Cranberries.

DarceysDad said...

I thought a woozy Poly Styrene ...

Like it a lot, btw.

ejaydee said...

At the moment, I like everything BUT the vocals on it. But I may yet warm to it.

steenbeck said...

I really love Tom Waits, and I have for a long time. I'm not saying he should never be covered, but...I find Johansson annoying, or maybe I'm just envious. The whole idea of her doing a Waits cover album irked me, to be honest. So I didn't want to like it, and can't even listen to it rationally. But for all that it's not so bad.

snadfrod said...

I just love the sheer SIZE that Sitek manages to create in all his records, from very little too. Province truly is a stormer, beaten only by Wolf Like Me for my money.

As for Scarlett, it does sound a bit like she's consciously NOT singing, as if she wants to do a Waits impression but can't get away with it, so she's gone for a kind of anti-singing instead. Doesn't ruin it, for me though. I can see the Sinead comparison, too. It'll bear more hearing for sure...

Blimpy said...

I was gonna say Sinead in my original post, but i feared that I didn't know enough about her back catalogue to back it up (ie anything at all) - i was just basing my comparison on the 2 sinead tunes i've heard (nothing compares 2 u, and haunted by the ghost w. s.mcgowans. )

she's certainly a better singer than actress (not that you can compare the two really - in the same way you can't compare a pig and a cow in their bowling skills) - um, she was good as the straight foil to Thora Birch in Ghost World, and provided a forgettable perfoemnce in the other 2 films I've seen her in - Spongebob, and The Prestige.

Sitek is the new Eno, he just needs to do Bowie's new record, and rehabilitate him for the 22nd century. C'mon Bowie and Sitek - make me happy, I dare you!!

Blimpy said...

She's a bit monotone, and emotionless on this track - maybe that's it.

ejaydee said...

Steen, glad you liked Souls of Mischief, and glad to see I can still recommend music. Now let's trade and tell me where I should start with Tom Waits. Having never knowingly heard a single of his, my introduction to him was Orphans, which I think was a mistake.

steenbeck said...

Ejaydee--I'll do a post!! After the boys bedtime. And I DO love Souls of Mischief, I was listening to it again today. It's strange that something I like that much has been around, what, 15 yrs? and I didn't know about it. Hopeful, in a way, not sure why.

steenbeck said...

Given the vagaries of Podbean, I probably won't be able to officially post the post till tomorrow. And it requires a bit of thought. Waits is hard because of that voice and because he ranges from almost sappy (Martha) to cacophonously hard to listen to (Kommienezuspadt ((is that even a real word, Nilpferd?))). I'll just say the first album I first heard is Rain Dogs--still love it. And I would try Nighthawks at the Diner. The album flows as a whole, I like it musically, and it has the bonus of being very funny.

ejaydee said...

I think I prefer the not too cacophonous stuff, although I did end up warming to Come On Up To The House. I'll start with these 2 for now.

CaroleBristol said...

I rather like Scarlett's song. It has a sort of Spiritualized meets Mazzy Star thing going on, with a bit of shoegazing added into the blend.

Scarlett sounds to me like a harder Hope Sandoval too, less breathy and ethereal, but not as much of a singer.

Love the visuals on the playback too.

Frogprincess said...

I'm with Snafrod on the size thing. That's a Biiiig Biiiiig production. Love the song and that wall of sound assaulting my ears. Lovely to hear Dame David on vocals too. Ah, the voice. Yes, well. Thought we'd come to that. A less convincing Martha and the Muffins, anyone? She kind of has that 80s, artless, throwaway school of singing going on. But I'm a big Scarlett fan. I don't rate her as a singer but she's actually a very very good actress. Anyone seen Girl with the Pearl Earring? She must have had an A4 sheet of dialogue and yet was on screen 80% of the time - she carried that film by her presence. And she was very cool in Lost in Translation. Who else could have got away with those huge knickers? Scarlett did. I hope she doesn't do the Juliet Lewis thing complete with viking horns... SHE was a good actress too...

TracyK said...

Agree with FP actually. I first saw Scarlett 'sing' when she did backing vocals on Just Like Honey with the JAMC at Coachella a while ago. Sheesh...The voice is seriously weak, though, as noted, the production is glorious. She just sounds strident to me. I'd love to hear the vocal track minus all the fluff around it.

TracyK said...

It's here, is you want to witness it yourself: she starts at about 1:50
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfXzVyW9bKI

nilpferd said...

Depends, Steenbeck.
Kommienezuspadt is not a word, but Komme nie zu spät means never arrive too late.

steenbeck said...

Thanks, Nilpferd. The whole song sounds like fake German, but maybe it's not completely fake. I met a family in the park yesterday who were speaking in German, and I was going to ask if they knew you, but it turns out they were Swiss.

Ejaydee--I forgot this
http://thepiratebay.org/tor/3224191/Night.On.Earth.1CD.1992.OST.[WmC]
The soundtrack to the Jarmusch film Night On Earth, which I've mentioned a few times on RR. I had it on cassette and it seems to be quite hard to buy, so I was very excited to find this. Many instrumental tracks, so if you have a problem with his voice...

nilpferd said...

You should have asked anyway.. I've been to Zurich and Basel a few times..
Chances are though if you meet a Kiwi in our age group, there'll be some connection...
Congrats on the Oblomov nomination in clip joint, btw!
re the SJ vocals, I wonder if the shrunken clothing had some effect on her voice? She must have been in some pain..

saneshane said...

When I first heard this it reminded me of 'silver' by Pixies don't know why, more the instruments I think.. will listen again.

Now, buy TVotR 'desperate youth, blood thirsty babes' too.. for the title alone! and the fact that your innards get a vibrating/ pounding workout free from the speakers.

Scarlett Tom Waits cover doesn't offend me..but here is a cover of his I really like..it's great live..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yPMdWxSxUg

steenbeck said...

Clip Joint Congratulations to you to, NIlpferd! As it happens I do have a Kiwi friend just a few years older, and his wife's German, so you could speak to them both in their native language. They recently moved back to NZ, and I'm sad about it.

steenbeck said...

I liked the CIbelle video, Saneshane. Rotoscope was the method used in those old Cab Calloway videos that are so remarkable.

Blimpy said...

tvotr haven't put a foot wrong thus far -new LP please!!