When I picked up the Pete Yorn/Scarlett Johansson collaboration "Break Up," I really didn't know what to expect, but I had heard some good things. In listening to the album, I found it generally good, with a couple of tracks really standing out, none more than the following:
I felt that this song was clearly the champion of the album ("Clean" coming in at a close second), mostly for the fact that it sounded so different from the rest of it. I later learned that there was a reason for that, it was a cover:
Chris Bell, former member of Big Star, is the original artist of this song, and I'm sorry I hadn't heard his version sooner. Many who favor the Bell version absolutely despise the SJ version. I personally enjoy them both, but after hearing the Bell version, my choice was clear. He sings the song with a certain pain that quite frankly, just felt real. Bell dealt with depression and heroin addiction, and died at the age of 27 when he lost control of his sports car and crashed into a light pole. No disrespect to Scarlett, add in the fact that she's singing it with a different context, but she is, in my opinion, unable to muster the emotion needed to really make this song poignant.
The idea of "Break Up" is that the songs represent an ongoing dialogue between two people going through a break up. Where "Cosmos" fits into that schematic, that's another conversation for another time, but the overall point is that each version is done in a different context, an idea I'll be exploring more when I go over the Johnny Cash and Nine Inch Nails Versions of "Hurt."
But what do you think? Do you favor the Johansson/Yorn version, or the Chris Bell version?