Review: Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson “Break UP”

Artist: Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson
Album: Break Up
Record Label: Atco Records
Genre: Pop


When Scarlett Johansson and Pete Yorn set about recording an album, they clearly had a vision about where music had been, and where it is going to be. While Yorn, wrote all but one of the album’s tracks, Break Up is as much a showcase of Johansson’s voice as it is Yorn’s songwriting ability. If June Carter and Johnny Cash had jumped fifty years ahead in the world of popular music, they very likely would have created something like Break Up. The album is a mix of great and good songs, and an interesting take on folk, blues, electronica, in popular music.

The album open’s with the upbeat single, “Realtor.” Making use of the rhythmic chugging of Pete Yorn’s acoustic guitar, the duo weave together a dreamy pop duet that rests nicely amidst a backdrop of layered guitar melodies and a steady hi-hat. Johansson delivers the opening verse of the song with a sultry tone in her voice, something that was said to have been missing from her first solo album. Harmonically, Yorn and Johansson’s voices create a very smoothing blend, reminiscent of some of America’s finest blues and folk duets.

“I Don’t Know What To Do,” is a great example of why this is a good album, but not a great album. The tune, an old country-swing ballad, has a great feel, but falls short on emotion. Without the emotion of classic country songstresses like Loretta Lynn, or Patsy Cline, this type of song falls apart. Of course, the song is well written, and performed with great intonation, but the apathetic delivery allows the song’s meaning fall to the floor.

The album as a whole represents an interesting perspective on popular music, and really reaches across a generational chasm. Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson have an undeniable on-record connection, and the album is dripping in their tightly knight harmonies. Unfortunately, shy of the opening track, “Realtor,” there aren’t any great songs, a bunch of good ones, but none of them are great. I highly recommend this album, it’s a great car companion, but I’d really keep my eyes peeled for anything these two performers put out together in the future. There is room for growth, but Break Up is a great nine-song introduction to the musical world of Yorn and Johansson.


Written by Matt Bullock

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “Review: Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson “Break UP””

  1. tyler h says:

    i havent heard the music, but the concept reminds me of she & him from last year…didnt SJ come out with a solo album that flopped or something? its hard to keep up with all the actresses who want to pretend that they are singers