At Coachella 2007, smokin’ starlet Scarlett Johanson lent her sultry vocals to then-freshly reunited Scottish noise-poppers Jesus & Mary Chain‘s performance of their best-known single, “Just Like Honey” (also featured in Lost In Translation). Roughly a year later, Johansson foisted an album of low key, lounge-lizard reworkings of Tom Waits classics (Anywhere I Lay My Head, 2008) upon the public. Critics tolerated the album, because, well it’s Scarlett! She can act! She can model! AND sing (sort of)! Now-as if taking on the work, talent and fans of one of the most respected experimental musicians in the biz wasn’t challenge enough, actress-turned-songstress ScarJo is drinking once again from the trough of overzealous do-overs, this time taking a shaky stab at the late Jeff Buckley‘s “Last Goodbye.”
Johansson recorded Buckley’s single for the soundtrack to He’s Just Not That Into You, the film based on the Oprah-discovered-and-hocked self-help book for hopeless hangers-on by Greg Behrendt. (Johansson also stars in the film, along with Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore and Ben Affleck.) As expected, bloggers, Buckley-philes and even Buckley-haters at Pitchfork ripped into the track (which can be streamed via Stereogum). The main complaint: Johansson’s vocal range is tragically terrestrial compared to Buckley’s gymnastic chords. Johansson can do soft and cigarette-smoky, no problem. But mastering the face- and heart-melting Buckleyan Willowy Wail? Not a snowball’s chance.
Nice try, Scarl. But please-step away from the mic and let the Buckley discography rest in peace.