Monday, May 19, 2008

An album ruined by its producers

I am a big Scarlett Johansson fan. OK, fine - I admit it - it has less to do with her acting cred. BUSTED! But now that we've crossed that bridge, when I found out she was going to be putting out her own album, I thought, "Cool. Let's see if the girl can sing."

The album is named Anywhere I Lay My Head and if it sounds familiar, it's because it's also a Tom Waits album. Yup, she covers Tom Waits. So now I'm thinking, "Way cool. Eclectic (after my own heart) too." And then I listened to the album.

OK, Scarlett - you're not going to make Beyonce nervous any time soon, but you do have a voice.... somewhere! The problem with this album is not the singing, or even the choice of the covered material - it's the production. It's way too over-produced, to the point where the music completely over-powers the singer. The whole recording sounded to me like she was miked to sound distant and it is my opinion that it ruins the product. Compounding the problem is that the music and environmental sound effects are too loud, brash, hissy and compressed. Message to music producers: We want to hear the voice! Even a song like I Wish I Was in New Orleans, which is only accompanied by a music box sounding instrument, the effect is overdone with massive distortion and noise - which by itself is a neat effect. But because it's so loud, it totally washes Scarlett's voice out. If it wasn't for the over-production, I think I might even like this album.

Somebody please, please remix this album to tame the music and effects and bring this girl's voice to the foreground where it needs to be heard. Then I'll attempt to critique Scarlett's vocal prowess. Because as it stands, I can't hear a freaking thing.

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