Great New Song: Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson – “Bad Dreams”



Last week we poked fun at some actors who recorded gawd-awful versions of Bob Dylan songs and wondered whatever could have convinced them they were good enough to record an album of music. Maybe it stems from the big ego an actor needs, or maybe they put an inflated value on their musical theater training, but whatever it is, there are dozens and dozens of actors – including many current day stars – who have recorded music albums, and it’s probably safe to say that not many of them are very good.

There are a few actors that are not bad singers, like Jeff Bridges and Jamie Foxx and Kevin Bacon and Anna Kendrick, but the very best singing actor right now may very well be Scarlett Johansson. She sounds fantastic on this excellent new single recorded with indie singer/songwriter Pete Yorn. Her voice has such a natural, lived-in warmth to it, and the vocal interplay with Yorn is rich with musical chemistry. The song is from a five-track EP called Apart which hits the shelves on June 1.

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ScarJo released an album to mild critical acclaim in 2008, and in 2009 she collaborated with Yorn on the album Break Up that had some really excellent moments. But she’s never sounded as good as she does on this, her second go-around with Yorn. The song itself is a really well-written number done originally by the husband and wife indie band The Echo-Friendly, a poignant little meditation on the nagging worries that beset us all at night:

Worried I’m getting older, that my fangs have grown too long
Worried I lost my car keys or that I said something wrong
Worried about the mess that’s in my house, that’s in my heart
Worried that I’ll go crazy every time that we’re apart
Pessimistic as it seems sleep will never come that easy
We will always have bad dreams

The call-and-answer structure of the song is perfectly suited to the way Johansson and Yorn make music. This is a combination of song and singers that really clicks.

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