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3.6 out of 5 stars
32
3.6 out of 5 stars
Anywhere I Lay My Head
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£7.07+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on 6 October 2016
I was pleasantly surprised to have been gifted with this as a present last christmas by my daughter.
I do believe that she must have grown tired of my muttering of this album's existence each time the elfin Ms. Johansson graced our t.v. screen.
That was 10 months ago, and i think i've listened to this enough times now to give an educated and honest opinion.
Now lets face it, we all roll our eyes and sneer when those in the acting profession try their hand at music and vice-versa.
So should we be sharpening the knives for Scarlett and relishing the chance to add her to the dubious list of musical follies?
A list that already includes Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood,Lindsay Lohan, and { ahem!} David Hasselhoff?
Well hats off to the lady. This is no mere vanity project but a true labour of love,earnestly executed to boot.
Tackling a selection of Tom Waits numbers may be a tall order to some, but Scarlett's deep, husky voice seems tailor made for this material.
With a boat race that could launch a thousand yachts, and unquestionable sex appeal, oh how easy it would have been to plaster a scantily clad
Johansson all over the cover and churned out 45 minutes of irrelevant chart fodder.
Overseen by Dave Sitek in the producers chair, and aided by a host of indie luminaries that include Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs,
this is indeed a bold and adventurous little record.
Instrumental opener ' Fawn' opens proceedings nicely, and teasingly raises expectations for what is about to come.
And when it does come in the shape of ' Town with no cheer' it's a delight to hear Scarlett's understated, yet dulcet tones, enveloped warmly by an
array of exotic instruments that include amongst other things, a dog bowl!
The late, great David Bowie makes a welcome appearance on 'Falling Down' and the glorious ' Fannin Street'. When i first heard Bowies voice
come in on the latter, it fair made me well up, and that was before he departed this mortal coil.
A masterstroke is pulled on ' I Wish I Was In New Orleans, whereby Scarlett is accompanied by no more than the nostalgic twinkle of a music box.
Some have suggested that Sitek's kitchen sink and all production is in place to hide alleged vocal shortcomings,but i disagree.
Was Phil Spector trying to mask the voice of Ronnie? Most smart arsed producers these days want to be a bit Martin Hannett or Spector,
and that's exactly what we have here! Album highlight for me is the gorgeous title track, but a big mention must go out to ' I Don't Wanna Grow Up'.
At odds with the rest of the album, it's jaunty electronic backing compliments the song perfectly, and it's just as much fun as the Ramones version.
Predictably the Johansson original ' Song For Jo' is the weakest track in such stellar company.
But it shows great promise , and i for one look forward to hearing much more from the lady. And why not? If you want to split hairs,Tom Waits
has long been having a go at the old Thespian lark!
This is a four star album all day long. but i'm giving it another as a ' ya boo sucks!' to all the naysayers out there.
But above all for Scarlett Johanssons impeccable good taste...
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on 18 February 2015
Great cd of a great woman. It's very different of the cd that makes with Pete Yorn.
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on 28 April 2017
Different and interesting
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on 16 May 2008
Probably all listeners are going to come to Scarlett Johansson's debut album with preconceptions. There are many who hate the concept of actresses releasing albums (and with Lindsay Lohan, who can blame them?), envy her lifestyle (million dollar income, villa in the Hollywood Hills, Ryan Reynolds as fiance, etc.) or hate her for the Hollywood adulation and her already gargantuan popularity. And there are those who are accused of weakening at the knees before the formidable marketing juggernaut, loving the idea of this album before they have even heard a note. She's subject to adulation to be sure, but also to ridicule, falling seemingly irresistibly into that actress-cum-singer shoebox.

The crucial question, however, is: IS IT ANY GOOD? And I would say yes and no. Her weird, angular voice is definitely a surprise (I don't remember it being such a croaky baritone in Lost in Translation), which strikes a refreshingly different chord to the hyperhigh, glass-shattering vocals of other female singers. But Scarlett's delivery is almost always drowned out by the epic soundscape that David Andrew Sitek has created around her and Tom Waits' songs: she's more of a feature on the album's musical landscape than occupying its centre stage. David Bowie lends a hand on vocals, too (more a measure of her star-studded connnections than the high esteem in which he holds her vocal ability and musical artistry, I would imagine). The uncharitable would say that her voice is deliberately overwhelmed to cover up the fact that she can't actually sing, but it's a shame that we don't hear more of it - precisely because her throaty, croaky voice is unusual and compelling. Those shoegaze and dreampop atmospherics - from which this album borrows to craft its sound - are nothing new, having had their heyday in the early nineties. The album improves, however, towards the end: by the eighth and ninth tracks, she shakes off the woozy, dreamy soundscape and lifts her voice out of its basement. Her vocals become more melodious and emotive, as well as being set against less dominant instrumentation, quicker beats, and the chinking acoustics of a little girl's jewellery box. We could have done with more of this liveliness.

Worth a listen: Anywhere I Lay my Head, Falling Down, Fannin Street, I Don't Wanna Grow Up, I Wish I Was in New Orleans

For fans of: Dot Allison, Mazzy Star, the gravelly voices of Marianne Faithfull and Nico

Not for fans of: Tom Waits, probably ;-)
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on 16 May 2008
Firstly I am a Tom Waits Fan; and also have a fondness towards "some" of Scarlett's film career.

The problem I think many people have with this, is how do you cover Tom Waits? He's a acquire taste to the best of them, and his music varies from melodic to plain mental. However nothing could be more mental than having a high profile 23 year old lass choose to cover him for her debut....and having David Feckin Bowie on backing vocals, am I missing something?

So then you think what she going to cover "Downtown Train", "Long Way Home", and maybe "Hope I Don't Fall In Love With You"......No she covers some more obscure stuff like the single "Falling Down"

Anyway the music is nothing like Tom Waits, nor is it like Kylie Minogue or even Bloody Norah Jones. Its sounds very lush and mystical; with her somewhat weak (if not necessarily poor, or annoying) girl next door vocal rising out of the mist and the fog. Therefore its completely riveting to listen to for its boldness, and the total oddballness of it...........but who really is going to buy it? By the look of this page, not Waits fans, not Girls Aloud fans; nor do I think blokes who fancy her.

However if you are interested; I would advise you listen before you buy, much like tom waits; its not for everyone but then that not because its bad.....just very very different.
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on 24 May 2008
I fell for the hype, despite knowing it was probably hype. The dreamy, shoe-gazing feel to this album is done far better by the likes of Amusement Parks On Fire, or even The Rave-onettes, and The Cocteau Twins had Liz Fraser, a uniquely gifted vocal talent.
Scarlett herself sings like an actress in a chorus line. Workmanlike at best. The over-production is claustrophobic. I kept waiting for the album to burst into life, but was disappointed. All the talents of Sitek, Nick Zinner et al cannot lift this effort above mediocre. They must have all had too much time on their hands.
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on 7 September 2009
Ok, forget Tom Waits for a minute. He's a legend, but this isn't his album. What's the use in making a cover album if you're going to make every track just like the original?

This album has a character all of its own. Scarlett isn't the greatest singer ever, but her voice is husky and compelling and she holds a tune. Importantly (and contrary to what the album cover might imply) this is not The Scarlett Johansson Hour. Her voice is just one ingredient in a rather sumptuous medley, and it is to her credit that she hasn't indulged a Hollywood ego by placing herself centre stage.

My girlfriend bought this album because she thinks Scarlett is pretty and glamorous. For pretty much the same reasons I assumed the album must be light-weight and trash. My girlfriend never listens to the album. I like it... a lot.

So if you can get over the Tom Waits versus Scarlett nonsense, and you like languorous melodies that are a bit out of the ordinary, give this a try. It's the Lost in Translation of albums - slow, seductive, and curiously likeable.
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VINE VOICEon 20 May 2008
Producer Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio fame and not Ms. Johansson is initially the star here, doing a sterling job of re-imagining songs from the Tom Waits catalogue. These interpretations and arrangements alone make Anywhere I Lay My Head an enticing prospect for Waits fans.

But we all know who gets star billing here and the shock of Johansonn's voice can be a little repellent at first. Her deep, untamed vocals do not match her Hollywood megastar looks one bit but she does call to mind a drunken Nico and by the time you come to the title track you find yourself succumbing to her charms. And a certain David Bowie pops up on backing vocals to offer a helping hand on two tracks, Falling Down and Fannin' Street.

So Anywhere I Lay My Head is left with the problem of not being awful enough to become a cult classic and not commercial enough for Scarlett to become the next Kylie. And for that we can only take our hats off to her. It's not as though this is even a selection of Waits' 'greatest hits'. The sole original track, Song For Jo, even gives reason to believe this could just be the audition for the actress's latest role as credible songstress in her own right.

What could, and perhaps should, have been a cringeworthy vanity project eventually turns out to be one of the better and more interesting albums you could add to your record collection this year.
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VINE VOICEon 3 June 2008
Waits croaks and snarls
With raw attitude
(An acquired taste)

Scarlett sounds like
My stomach rumbling
Before breakfast

Thank goodness for
The safety net of
A good day job

Seriously now, it takes guts to attempt to cover the music of Tom Waits, especially when you're not previously known for your musical talent. I can't imagine why the elfin actress would have chosen Waits' songs for her debut album, and unfortunately she doesn't have the vocals to match.

Her low pitched (almost masculine) vocals are for the most part drowned out by the musical accompaniment, which on this album isn't too much of a bad thing.

On the good side, there are three tracks that aren't that bad after a second listen, and two of them are due to David Bowie's input. These are the first single "Falling Down" and track five, "Fannin Street". The third is the light hearted "I Don't Wanna Grow Up".

This is an album you may hate on the first and second listen, but the three tracks I've mentioned may eventually grow on you.

Eventually.

It's a 2 star album, but just because I like her, and applaud her bravery to take on this project, I'm bumping it up to 3.

Amanda Richards
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on 13 May 2008
Scarlett Johansson - she's going to have her haters as let's face it, she is gorgeous, and if this was Claire Rayner singing a whole album of Tom Waits I doubt I'd of even bothered with the listen, but as an album I think this works pretty well. It's not going to be mainstream but as an indie-folk album it more than holds it's own. My girlfriend thought the lead single was good and then enquired to who was singing.

Her voice isn't what you'd expect (well not what I expected anyway) -it's pretty deep and could be accused of being a bit one dimensional on the evidence here.
I am no Tom Waits fan but this album has given me an incentive to check out his material, which is clearly a positive sign.

Fannin' Street, the title track and the first single Falling Down are definite stand outs - David Bowie's input on the first and later songs add an extra star to my rating, and his addition to the album, as well as manufacturing extra sales instantly is a masterstroke.
Coming into this album as an Indie / Rock boy I would say there is more than enough for me to enjoy.

It has it's weaker moments, and the album kind of blends into one nearer the end but this is an encouraging debut suggesting finally that a hollywood star could make it in the music world.
Next time maybe a few more original songs though please.

3.5 stars out of 5
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