08 July 2008

The Ghost Whisperer

While I can't say it's been a highly anticipated album, I have been waiting for Scarlett Johansson to get her much hyped (and vilified) album out. The big question was "Can she sing?" Well, if you've seen Lost in Translation, there's hints that she can give a charming vocally on-and-off performance -- but that's with her on-screen. Then her version of a jazz classic, Summertime, seemed to indicate that she could translate her awesome raspy talking voice into something special (or at least interesting) musically.

Her album has been out for awhile now and after taking a few listens I have no idea what to think. The original advance song had me all confused until James explained to me what Tom Waits was all about. If you're going into this thinking it's a traditional "singing" album then you're going to be mighty disappointed. Since I don't get Waits at all, I can't really give much of a review. The critics seem to like it though. Some of it just sounds to me like tepid karaoke.

The better question might be "Can she act?" Sure, she's been nominated a few times for Golden Globes (Girl with a Pearl Earring, Lost in Translation, Match Point) but awards mean nothing. How many movies has she been in that made you think "Damn, she was really great in this!" Even if she is one of my esteemed Top Ten, it's hard not to cringe when watching her sometimes. It seems like she's much better in period pieces and hard to stomach when given regular girl roles (In Good Company). I wish she'd do something like Ghost World again, where she could be a little sarcastic and caustic, where she had actual character.

Here's a song I'm obsessing over: Jay Brannan's Soda Shop. It's on the Shortbus soundtrack and while the film may not quite be for everyone (read a review to see what I mean), the soundtrack is pretty damn good. Plus the Manhattan-themed intro to the film is just incredibly beautiful and well done.