Break Up

Band: Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson
Album: Break Up
Best song: “Relator” is really good.
Worst song: “I am the Cosmos” should remain Chris Bell’s, thank you very much.

As the Pitchfork review indicates, it’s tough to try and recreate the fantastic Brigitte Bardot/Serge Gainsbourg pairings of the 1960s. The Pitchfork review also compares it to She & Him record (an album I hope to tackle here at some point).

I don’t think either comparison is all that apt. The She & Him record comes from a totally different atmosphere, a Williamburg-meets-Silverlake hybrid. The Gainsbourg/Bardot records, of course, are of a completely different vintage and let’s forget ever comparing Pete Yorn to one of the great songwriters of the 1960s.

The back and forth between Scarlett Johansson and Yorn doesn’t compare to those, but it’s nevertheless charming. Count me as the one person who actually thinks Johansson is a passable singer and Yorn’s boring rock is perfectly suited for her voice. She makes it slightly more interesting — yes, her version of Chris Bell’s brilliant “I am the Cosmos” sucks” — on songs like “Clean.” And, again, while the interplay between the two isn’t great, it’s entirely fun as they both run through their smokey whisper voices on “Relator,” for example.

I kind of have a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Yorn, as his Musicforthemorningafter record was the soundtrack of a birthday road trip my ex-girlfriend and I took in college. On its surface, it was probably a mixed bag; I was trying to get into a 21-and-over show, but was turned away (I would’ve litereally turned 21 at the show). We went to some museums, stayed at my friends’ house. I didn’t tell my family that I was going to Chicago and we broke down in St. Louis on the way back to Columbia.

(If you haven’t seen Up in the Air, please skip the next few paragraphs.)

There’s a whole thing in the film Up in the Air — one of the best movies I’ve seen in the last five years — about the notion of loneliness and the fact that so very many of our favorite moments are our most charished because not because of what happened, but mostly because of those involved. Our most memorable moments are seldom alone, good and bad.

I travel alone often and it’s great. But, I’m shy, so I don’t do a lot of meeting others and whooping it up. When I think of said solitary travels, it’s hard to to imagine how much more fun some of those trips would be with a companion. The trip to Chicago was great not because a bunch of good and bad shit happened.

It was great because I was young and in love and having fun. Goofing off in the car, eating silly food at the museum, that sort of thing. We listened to Pete Yorn in the car. And while I find this music unendingly boring, it’ll always remind me of that trip.

For what it’s worth, count me among the people who find Scarlett Johansson outstandingly beautiful. She’s a terrifyingly bad actress (and a little pale for my specific tastes), but, goddamn, she is great-looking. She truly is.

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  • About Me

    I'm Ross Jordan Gianfortune. I am not a writer, but I sometimes write here about music and my life. I live in Washington, DC.

    I used to review each of Rolling Stone Magazine's top 500 albums of all time. Now I'm writing about albums I own.

    My work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Gazette, The Atlantic, Sno-Cone and a bunch of defunct zines.

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