Scarlett Johansson unveiled her debut album, “Anywhere I Lay My Head,” for journalists today (Feb. 12) at New York’s Joe’s Pub. As previously reported, the album includes 10 Tom Waits covers and one original (“Song for Jo”), and will be released May 20 via Atco/Rhino.
“Anywhere” was produced by TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek, who told the crowd he was going for a “cough medicine/Tinker Bell” vibe, sound-wise. David Bowie, whom Johansson met a party just prior to beginning work on the album, lends his distinctive vocals to the tracks “Falling Down” and “Fannin’ Street,” while Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner and members of the band Celebration contribute throughout.
Johansson said she initially considered making an album of standards, but that the project slowly morphed into a Waits-dominated affair. “His melodies are so beautiful and his voice is so distinct,” she said.
The result, according to Johansson, has met with the notoriously persnickety Waits’ approval. “I sent him some of the early, early recordings, and he said, ‘Go ahead,'” she said. “I’ve heard he’s very pleased.”
While the majority of the album lives up to Sitek’s prior description, there are some up-tempo departures, particularly on “I Don’t Want To Grow Up,” which boasts drum machine beats straight out of a New Order song.
There are no plans for Johansson to perform live in support of the project, but she says she’d be intrigued by “getting everybody together,” perhaps at a festival, at some point in the future. “It would be a missed opportunity not to.”
Here is the track list for “Anywhere I Lay My Head”:
“Town With No Cheer”
“Anywhere I Lay My Head”
“Song for Jo”
“I Wish I Was in New Orleans”
“I Don’t Want To Grow Up”
“No One Knows I’m Gone”
“Who Are You?”