Originally published on The Daily Iowan arts blog 9/15/2009
Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson
For those wondering what happened to the Pete Yorn from his debut album, Musicforthemorningafter, take a listen to his new album Break Up which he recorded with Scarlett Johansson back in 2006. While the title suggests the two are singing about a failed relationship, the majority of the songs are filled with the pop hooks that made him one of the top up and coming artists back in 2001.
The album sets its tone with the opening track, “Relator,” which opens with Yorn on the guitar, and some horns for good measure. It’s a simple song and will be on adult contemporary stations in no time.
However, it’s in the song “Blackie’s Dead,” where echos of Yorn’s first album are most evident. The song has the perfect combination Yorn’s voice with his skills on the acoustic guitar that made 2001’s “For Nancy (Cos It Already Is),” so damn infectious.
People looking for something to showcase any of Johansson’s vocal talents will be disappointed as she serves as back-up for a large part of the album. This is reversed in a psuedo acoustic cover of Chris Bell’s “I am the Cosmos.” This is the best of the tracks which Johansson is the lead singer, likely due to source material.
Johansson isn’t a terrible singer by any means and her deep voice certainly sustains th album but most of her songs (with the exception of “Cosmos”) are the records low points.
It’s great to see Yorn hasn’t forgotten the pop sensibilities that fans have been asking for ever since his songs became much more moody, hopefully he will stick around longer this time.
Tyler’s Picks: “Relator,” “Blackie’s Dead,” “Wear and Tear,” “I Am the Cosmos”
— by Tyler Lyon