Scarlett Johansson: Duets A La Bardot

Some works of art take years of labor, frustration and even heartache. But for songwriter Pete Yorn, his latest album came to him instantly, in something of a dream.

Scarlett Johansson and Pete Yorn i i

Scarlett Johansson and Pete Yorn have released Break Up, a new album of duets. Jim Wright hide caption

itoggle caption Jim Wright
Scarlett Johansson and Pete Yorn

Scarlett Johansson and Pete Yorn have released Break Up, a new album of duets.

Jim Wright

Yorn envisioned a series of male-female duets inspired by the late-1960s recordings of Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot. For Yorn, finding today's Bardot was easy; he called actress Scarlett Johansson to see if she would collaborate — and she said yes. The result is their new record, Break Up.

Yorn says the songs came to him easily and he wrote them quickly, in a "mad flurry" over a short period of time.

Johansson says that for her, the project was more about Yorn trying to capture a certain type of sound, rather than comparing her directly to Bardot.

"When I asked him what he envisioned, he mentioned Serge and Brigitte, Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra," Johansson says. "So for me, I kind of saw it more as 'he said, she said' duets, as opposed to something that was just two people singing together. It's the kind of interplay between a male perspective and a female perspective, so they were a great example of that."

Johansson says the songs capture the interplay of any relationship, and that each performer could have sung the other's parts.

"They're sort of interchangeable," she says, "which I think is an apt description of a relationship. I don't think the perspective is necessarily gender specific; two people can feel particular ways about one another that have nothing to do with their gender. I think this is an example of that."

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Break Up

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Album
Break Up
Artist
Pete Yorn/Scarlett Johansson
Label
Rhino
Released
2009

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