In 2006, critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Pete Yorn contacted actress and Atco recording artist Scarlett Johansson with the idea to record a duets album in the spirit of Serge Gainsbourg’s 1960s recordings with Brigitte Bardot. “I was having a strange week of insomnia and when I finally passed out, it came to me in a dream,” says Yorn. “I woke up and the whole thing was in my head, fully formed.” Johansson was intrigued by Yorn’s out-of-the-blue invitation. “It sounded like an interesting little adventure,” she explains. “The idea of two people vocalizing their relationship through duets.”
On September 8, Atco Records, an imprint of Rhino Entertainment, presents the resulting work, Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson BREAK UP, a deeply emotive yet hook-filled song cycle about a tempestuous relationship. The collection will be available at all retail outlets, including www.rhino.com, for $13.98 (CD), $7.99 (digital) and $13.98 (vinyl). A free stream of “Relator” is available now at www.thebreakupalbum.com and for purchase at all digital service providers for $.99 beginning May 26. Prior to the release of BREAK UP, Yorn will release his fourth studio album, Back and Fourth, on Columbia Records June 23.
BREAK UP includes eight original compositions by Yorn, ranging in tone from the lilting opener “Relator” to the disarming, retro/futuristic “I Don’t Know What to Do” to the climactic “Someday.” Completing the collection is a powerful interpretation of the art-rock classic “I Am The Cosmos” by the late Chris Bell, co-founder of quintessential cult band Big Star. Produced by Sunny Levine, with Yorn and Max Goldblatt as executive producers, the album features contributions from guitarist Robert Francis; bassist Giuseppe Patane; and violinist Amir Yaghmai, with Goldblatt on banjo, synth bass and backing vocals, and Levine handling programming and mixing.
Predating Johansson’s debut album, Anywhere I Lay My Head, by nearly two years; BREAK UP was conceived and recorded in 2006, in Levine’s garage studio. “I always thought of it as just a small project between friends,” explains Johansson. “I’ve loved the album ever since I heard it completed. It perfectly captured where I was in my life at the time.” Yorn was as protective of BREAK UP as a father of his daughter, playing it for no one until last year. When those close to him finally heard BREAK UP, the overwhelming response convinced Yorn that it was simply too strong a work to remain under lock and key.
2. Wear And Tear
3. I Don’t Know What To Do
4. Search Your Heart
5. Blackie’s Dead
6. I Am The Cosmos
The album’s single, “Relator,” can be found on Myspace and iTunes