Lookbacks: Break Up by Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson

This week’s Lookback goes into 2009’s Break Up by veteran folk musician Pete Yorn and actress Scarlett Johansson.


Now, this isn’t the first time Johansson picked up a mic. Before teaming up with Pete on Break Up, Johansson released ‘Anywhere I Lay My Head,’ a collection of songs written by Tom Waits and Waits’ wife Kathleen Brennan. The album also included one song, titled “Song For Jo,” as an original track.

So, Break Up wasn’t the actress’ first rodeo by any means.

Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson were brought together by one unlikely connection: Pete Yorn’s brother, Rick, is Johansson’s manager.

Soon enough, Johansson and Yorn got together to create an album about two individuals experiencing the same kind of post-break up desperation. The thing is, Break Up doesn’t hit you at first as a “break up” album.

Songs like “Relator” and “I Don’t Know What to Do” are catchy and upbeat. Most notably is “Relator,” with its foot-tapping, roots rock rhythm and the harmonization between Yorn and Johansson’s distinct vocals.

“Relator” is the perfect song to start off Break Up. Happy vibes, with deeper lyrics. A theme that holds true throughout the entire LP.

“I Don’t Know What to Do” is a song that outlines Johansson’s vocals more than any other track on the album, and honestly, it’s my favorite track on the album. It’s a simple folk tune that’ll make you want to sit back and reflect.

There are several other tracks on the album such as “Clean,” “Blackie’s Dead” and “Search Your Heart” that stood out to me mainly because of the duets Yorn and Johansson pull off. Some songs tend to have vocals that overshadow Johansson’s, but all-in-all, the talent depicted by both musicians is a wonderful thing to hear. Funny enough, Johansson recorded her vocals in studio within a two afternoon sessions.

Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson’s Break Up is a folk rock record with two talented musicians to vent their thoughts post-breakup, creating something for listeners to grasp a hold of and never let go.

You can stream Break Up below.

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