Sunday, February 22, 2009
COCONUT RECORDS AND SCARLET JOHANNSON: WHY MUST THIS CONTINUE?
“My Echo Park bedroom was filled with the soft orange glow of mid morning sunlight, and part of my being was still drunk from the previous night’s soirée at yet another young starlet’s condo. The silk sheets were so inconceivably soft that it was pure torture to get out of bed. I searched around the lavender softness for my Gucci boxer briefs and brushed my luxurious hair out of my eyes. I leaned over grabbed the glass bottle of Pellegrino and my pack of Dunhill Lights and sat back against an over stuffed pillow. I lit the square and let the smoke cascade into my lungs. I took a swig from the fizzy Italian water and noticed a rustling under my pale blue, down comforter. It was Mia Trang and her friend Ivana Yerkova. I had invited the two aspiring models over to read a Wes Anderson script, but I must have passed out before we had the chance to get into character. They were completely nude. Their youthfully golden, firm bodies shimmering in the morning sun. Mia grazed her long fingers across my Gucci encased manhood and gestured for a Dunhill. I tossed her the pack and lit one up. She smiled, her full, mango lips wet like early morning flower petals…”
That is what I imagine actor Jason Schwartzman’s life to be like. Granted, I’m sure the guy has a few problems. Being mildly introverted, with a penchant for independent film can have its downside in tinsel town. I’m sure he has family issues or girl troubles like any moderately short man trying to make it in the modern world. Life is difficult even for a king among men like Schwartzman. He is, by any stretch of the imagination, a lucky bastard. His movies are genuinely well received; he is a great comedic actor, and a decent screen writer. So, my question to Mr. Schwartzman is: why the hell are you making music? Is it the accessibility of modern recording equipment? Is being a dilettante suddenly the thing to do if you are one of the beautiful people in Hollywood?
Schwartzman’s Coconut Records project comes on the heels of failed music projects by the likes of Scarlet Johansson and Kevin Bacon. Schwartzman’s project isn’t as sad and droopy as the Johansson and Bacon fiascos, but it still is a hard pill to swallow. Even as you listen to Schwartzman’s French pop meets Pavement musical sweet tarts, you can’t stop picturing that kid in Rushmore jacking around with Bill Murray. The concept of the actor/musician remains one of the hardest bridges to cross in modern pop culture. French beach blanket tunes and introspective pop are all well and good, but if Max Fisher is doing this, who the hell is jacking around with Bill Murray?…
JOHANSSON AND OLD RUSTY NAILS
Scarlet Johansson, why did you take my two favorite things and kill them with your foray into music? I love Tom Waits. My father owned a few of his early records like Night Hawks at the Dinner, and I would often sit at the hi-fi and listen to Tom’s crazy vaudevillian voice and back alley jazz instrumentation. I had no idea what I was listening to, but I knew it was good. I also love book smart blondes with porcelain skin and perfectly proportioned breasts.
Remember when Scarlet Johansson put on that crazy, pink wig and seduced Bill Murray with some seriously drunken karaoke in Lost in Translation? Most men would have killed to be in that room with Scarlet drunkenly moaning into the microphone. That brief scene was cute, charming, tender, and sexy. So why is Scarlet Johansson’s new record of Tom Waits covers, entitled Anywhere I Lay My Head, so horrid? Some might say it’s the brutal fact that Scarlet Johansson can’t sing. It’s true, she really can’t sing. She is on par with Val Kilmer or William Shatner in her ability to Friday the 13th a pop song. That being said, I think what makes her project so uniquely stank-tastic is that nobody wants to hear a gorgeous, youthful, wealthy starlet sing the songs of a whiskey cured, bohemian hobo, with a voice like a bag of rusty nails. It provokes even the most gracious music listener to ask, “Are you f#cking kidding me?”
Maybe it’s sexist to say that a beautiful woman can’t make an emotional record about hard times and film noir style suffering, but if Scarlet Johansson wants to pull off another album of Tom Waits covers, she better bust out the whiskey and rusty nails.