Today's Observer (our butler reads it) has an interesting interview with Tom Waits.
For those of you not in the know, Tom Waits is to music what Phil Collins is to music divided into ten to the power of Candle In the Wind's awfulness. If Beefheart is God, then Waits is His messenger on earth.
The fantastic news is that Waits has a new 3-CD box set of rarities out next month entitled Orphans (Amazon UK|US), which is split into three themes: Brawlers, Bawlers and (Peter McGrath please note) Bastards.
But the Observer piece contained a blonde bombshell:
The actor Scarlett Johansson has just announced her plan to record an entire album of Waits's songs next year.
Which suggests one rather obvious question:
W H Y ? ! !
Don't get me wrong, I haven't got anything against Scarlett Johansson (unfortunately). In fact, I have a bit of a soft spot for her, so to speak, because, in the right light, she bears an uncanny resemblance to Stense's babe sister. But why do people who clearly aren't Tom Waits have to go and make entire albums of Tom Waits songs as if they had anything to add?
It simply isn't possible to cover a Tom Waits song without messing it up. Hasn't Ms Johansson heard the travesty that was Rod Stewart's version of Tom Traubert's Blues, or Screaming Jay Hawkins's rendition of Heartattack and Vine (which was doing OK until Screaming Jay inexplicably decided to substitute himself for the Supreme Creator in the immortal line, Don't you know there ain't no devil, there's just God when he's drunk)? I mean, even the Boss struggled which his version of Jersey Girl, which is all well and good, but how do you improve on perfection?
No offence, Ms J, but, if you really feel the need to record some songs, why not try writing some of your own? Failing that, why not cover some Phil Collins classics (I use the word loosely)? It would be difficult indeed to do injustice to You And Me In Paradise.