THE BEGINNING

Leaping from in front of the camera to behind the mic is a stretch‚” but it can be done

Leaping from in front of the camera to behind the mic is a stretch‚ but it can be done

The arrival of Scarlett Johansson, for most of us, came posterior first, during the opening moments of Sofia Coppola’s 2003 feature debut Lost In Translation. Over the five years that have followed she’s brought classic glamour back to Hollywood, was eagerly dubbed a modern day Monroe and has elegantly sauntered to the top of the A list. And so, what else is one of the world’s most famous women to do if not record a Tom Waits cover album, produced by TV On The Radio’s David Sitek, featuring Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner?

Quite. And while ‘Anywhere I Lay My Head’ waits in the wings to soon be critiqued as either the silly whim of an over-ambitious, bored starlet, or a Sitek-honed masterstroke that fits an already flawless career, it’s safe to say that Johansson has hedged her bets better than most of Tinsel Town’s past musical wannabes; the equation of Waits plus Sitek equalling a credibility that Thom York would welcome, wide eyed.

Reviewed in full on page 35, Johansson’s debut pressing is, in short, a triumph. A fascinating listen, perhaps masterminded by the record’s studio team, it is evidently an album fronted by a very real (albeit very famous) music fan – lest we not forget that Johansson requested to sing onstage with Jesus Mary Chain at last year’s Coachella Festival. And when Scarlet Jo (as she’s inevitably known on trash Sky channel E!) takes a spin through her Rolodex of Hollywood peers, she’s not alone in her proactive passion for credible music either.

Entourage‘s Adrian Grenier, for example, is such a fan of Ween and Faust that he’s not happy enough with one band to emanate his heroes in. The ill-named Honey Brothers are the combo of Grenier’s that you’re most likely to have come across, playing Brooklyn based indie that sounds like Modern Lovers doing Belle & Sebastian, doing Weezer’s debut album. For a man as pretty and “so hot right now” as Grenier, it somewhat smarts that tracks like ‘O Dear’ possess a dreamy Flaming Lips quality and not ammunition for us non-model-dating rich folk to take a swipe at the acting drummer with. And his side (side) project, Kid Friendly, only deepens the green of our eyes, via their emotional (and not altogether awful) indie pop. I mean, at least Keanu Reeves’ Dogstar proved that their bassist was able to dodge bullets so well in The Matrix because he’d had 10 years of training, dodging bottles of bodily fluids beforehand, onstage. (Incidentally, Reeves reluctance to walk away from a band that you couldn’t have paid most people to be in should hold him in high regard with even those who sat through a Dogstar show. A decade of being hit in the face with warm yellow, for your art form, when you’re a millionaire movie star, is a passion we unfortunately don’t all share.)

Somehow, Jared Leto’s 30 Seconds To Mars have avoided impromptu golden showers at the hands of bitter anti-fans, suggesting that their epic alt. rock is in fact more than a second rate Linkin Park, with the added tool of video promos that come on like mini blockbusters – a courtesy only the Hollywood elite could achieve as early in their musical career as Leto is. And whether close to the truth or not, again Leto, an actor whose day job matches that of Johnny Depp’s in its credibility, has put his thespian balls on the line.

So sure, largely, Peter Gallagher showing off his impressive karaoke skills in an episode of The OC is one thing, while Paris Hilton launching a scantly clad, blatantly slutty pop career is another all together. But when respected Hollywood talents care enough for worthy music to rile their billion dollar film studios, maybe we should have a proper listen.

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