I heard her version of a fantastic song by Jeff Buckley, Last Good-bye, about a week ago and I wasn’t going to write about it but the song popped up on my iPod (the original, that is) on my way to work this morning and it made me sad and then angry.


Sad because Buckley died soon after the release of his first album Grace, and angry because some people will hear Scarlett Johansson’s version for the film He’s Just Not That Into You and never know the original.


Am I exaggerating? A friend of mine went to see David Bowie (she is his biggest fan) a few years ago. When he sang The Man Who Sold the World, some kids sitting behind her were blown away that Bowie was covering Nirvana…WTF??? There are no words…I thought that was a great cover but seriously???


Some songs should never be covered. Do I sound crazy? You bet I do and I don’t care. I defy anyone to listen to the two versions and not want to spit on Scarlett’s.


Check it out. Let’s level the playing field (ever so) slightly. Listen to Scarlett Johansson’s first and then Jeff Buckley’s. People tend to be swayed by what version they hear (or see, in the case of movies) first. Don’t let my obvious disdain for the one impact your decision- in any way.


Your ears may not bleed (like mine did) when you listen to the cover. Listen to it again now that you have had a chance to take in the original- just don’t do it on a white shag rug. It is truly cringe worthy. I defy anyone with a modicum of taste to prefer the cover to the original. That is not me judging…at all. I tend not to see things in black and white but I’ll make an exception this time.


My heart just breaks when I hear his music. He drowned in the Mississippi the same summer that Princess Diana and Gianni Versace died.


I have to be honest. It wasn’t his music that drew me initially. When his album came out, one of the free local rags featured it on the cover.


He’s a babe. (Was a babe.) In my defense, the album got an incredible review and the CD was only $10 at the time. I was blown away by his music, desolate when I heard that he had gone missing and devastated when his body was recovered soon thereafter.


The depth of emotion in his music is unparalleled. I could wax poetic about his music until your brain liquifies but I won’t. You just have to listen to his music to appreciate what he left behind and bemoan what we lost when he died.


For the record, I think Scarlett Johansson is a fabulously talented actress. (Lost in Translation, anyone?) As a singer…Her first release, Tom Waits covers, died a quick (thankfully) and painful death. Granted, Tom Waits is, for many, an acquired taste but the album was just a transparent attempt to make us think she is cool. Which we did- until you thought you could parlay your love of singing in the shower into a second career. 


Why is it that actors think they can make the leapt to be a musician? It’s like everyone thinking they can design jewelry, handbags or jeans!


But I digress…


I adore some covers (The Sunday’s cover of Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones, Jeff Buckley’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah– which should have been the top download in the U.K. over Christmas, silly people) and some deserve to be binned (10, 000 Maniacs’ cover of More Than This by Roxy Music- but how could it even be 10,000 Maniacs without Natalie Merchant?) and this one also deserves to go the way of the dodo.


I’ve been known to belt it out at karaoke or sing when I am alone at home with only my boyfriend’s cat for company so I totally get the emotional connection you may feel when you sing but Scarlett, I beg you, the next time you want to pay tribute to a musician’s work, arrange to have their music on the soundtrack for your next film, please.

You are no Adele.


~ by angryegg on February 4, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: