Scarlett Johansson and Pete Yorn to Break Up

May 26, 2009  |  6:23am

The Hollywood starlet is to release Break Up, an album of duets with 'indie dreamboat' Pete Yorn, inspired by Brigitte Bardot's work with Serge Gainsbourg

Actress Scarlett Johansson has announced an album of duets, to be released in September. Whereas Johansson's first musical foray, last year's Anywhere I Lay My Head, was a collection of songs by the legendary and extraordinary Tom Waits, this record, entitled Break Up, was mostly written by, er, the un-legendary and rather ordinary American singer-songwriter Pete Yorn.

Yorn and Johansson sing together on each of Break Up's nine tracks, offering a musical account of the beginning, middle and end of a tormented love-affair. The songs, Yorn told USA Today, were in fact recorded two years before Anywhere I Lay My Head – and Johansson recorded her parts in just two afternoon sessions.

Though Yorn said the album's concept came to him in a dream, its musical inspiration is precise: Serge Gainsbourg's 1967 and 1968 albums with Brigitte Bardot. But while Gainsbourg was a notorious Gallic sexpot, Yorn is just a rugged "indie-dreamboat" from New Jersey.

Eight of Break Up's songs were written by Yorn, one by Big Star's Chris Bell, and all were produced by Quincy Jones's grandson Sunny Levine. Though a UK release has not yet been announced, the first single, Relator, is already streaming at the project's website.

Instead of the sensuality of Gainsbourg and Bardot, Yorn offers a chugging mid-tempo rock song – with Johannson's voice resembling that of Amy Winehouse. It sounds about as illicit as a packed lunch.

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