Given Scarlett Johansson's critically panned album of Tom Waits covers released last year, it's hard not to feel trepidation about this Pete Yorn/Johansson collaboration. But on this nine-song album inspired by Serge Gainsbourg's late 60s collab with lover/muse Brigitte Bardot, the bombshell actor more than holds her own against earnest singer/songwriter Yorn.
It gets off to a great start with Relator, which bounces a catchy looping guitar part between Johansson's smoky alto and Yorn's plaintive (and plainish) one. They follow things up with some of the catchiest and most playfully produced tunes of Yorn's career (here he's especially good with choruses). Still, there's a mopey, self-pitying quality to the lyrics, and the duo never once connect with or transmit the sultry passion that existed between those 60s icons.
Top track: Relator