Monday, June 02, 2008

Split indecision - Love To Hate or Hate To Love?

It always comes to the fore when someone well known for music, such as Madonna, attempts a transition to film or indeed vice versa, although Ne-Yo is currently saying how good Lindsay Lohan was in handling the track 'Bossy' that he has recently written and produced for her!
He is not one to court disaster. He has written two global chart hits for Rihanna (including the current UK #1), plus a few more for himself and others, so that is hardly an assertion open to much doubt. Then again he professes a wish to work with Amy Winehouse, so trouble makers and jail-birds are clearly not an issue as such, and also Duffy who like Rihanna is generally held to be squeaky clean. So are Alicia Keys and Jordin Sparks, with whom he is currently touring America. He can certainly spot talented artists when he hears them but that is merely a digression.

There is one album, in the genre actress-turned-singer, that is currently testing all sorts of preconceptions at least here in the UK. The lines along which opinions are drawn are the predictable ones but the sides taken by various parties are however not and it seems able to divide even apparently kindred reviewers, resulting in something approaching civil war.
This is all the more surprising for the fact that it has been precipitated by a seemingly rather harmless project that might very easily have been largely ignored on this side of the Atlantic.

Scarlett Johansson is the unlikely revolutionary. This has, on the face of it, everything that says £2.99 in the bargain bin in Woolworths come August. That could still be true but the thing is that this is an album that incites writers in the music press to go to battle in a manner that few albums do.
The album Anywhere I Lay My Head consists of ten cover versions of songs by Tom Waits and also a new one too. On two tracks she shares vocal duties with David Bowie and the album was produced by David Sitek (Yeah, Yeah Yeahs, etc.) and none of them are known either for their unwillingness to push boundaries or an inclination to back a losing horse.
This is certainly something unusual and, if you feel the way that I do, it makes me want to listen to it too. I will have to buy it and, if enough people feel the same, the bargain bin scenario recedes.

No comments: