Anywhere I Lay My Head

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Anywhere I Lay My Head
Scarlett Johansson - Anywhere I Lay My Head.png
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 16, 2008 (2008-05-16)
StudioDockside Studios
(Maurice, Louisiana)
ProducerDavid Andrew Sitek
Scarlett Johansson chronology
Anywhere I Lay My Head
Break Up
Singles from Anywhere I Lay My Head
  1. "Falling Down"
    Released: March 18, 2008[1]

Anywhere I Lay My Head is the debut studio album by American actress Scarlett Johansson, released on May 16, 2008 by Atco Records. Johansson recorded the album over five weeks in spring 2007 at Dockside Studios in Maurice, Louisiana.[2] It was produced by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio and includes collaborations with David Bowie and members of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Celebration.[3]

Anywhere I Lay My Head contains four songs written by Tom Waits, six songs written by Waits and his wife Kathleen Brennan, and one original composition, "Song for Jo". Upon release, the album received mixed reviews from critics, and saw moderate commercial success. "Falling Down" was released as the album's lead single.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[6]
Drowned in Sound6/10[7]
Entertainment WeeklyC[8]
The Guardian4/5 stars[9]
The Observer4/5 stars[11]
Pitchfork Media5.5/10[12]
Rolling Stone2.5/5 stars[13]
Slant Magazine2.5/5 stars[14]

Anywhere I Lay My Head received mixed reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 58, based on 35 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[5] Priya Elan of the NME called the album "brilliant" and wrote that "just like Lou Reed with Nico and Serge Gainsbourg with Brigitte Bardot, Sitek has effortlessly translated Johansson's magnetism on to record", while comparing her "deep" voice to "latter-day Ronnie Spector's street-savvy tone".[10] The Observer's Barney Hoskyns commented that Johansson's "blankly androgynous alto timbre is nothing special, but that barely matters", praising the album as "a bravely eccentric selection and a captivating homage to a singular writer".[11] The Guardian's Dorian Lynskey described Johansson's voice as "a supple, languid instrument offering hints of Nico, Kim Deal and Martina Topley-Bird" and stated, "You might wish there was more from Waits' 70s barfly period [...] but it's a measure of this album's surprising allure that you're left wanting more."[9]

AllMusic reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine found Johansson to be "surprisingly deep and brittle as a singer", concluding that the album "doesn't quite work, but it can't quite be dismissed, either: unlike so many actor-turned-singer records, there's not a hint of vanity to this project and it's hard not to marvel at its ambition even as it fails."[6] Mikael Wood of Spin wrote, "Beyond the fact that her voice is deep enough for her to front Crash Test Dummies, there's nothing particularly compelling about Scarlett Johansson's singing", adding that "her vocals are buried deep beneath [...] Dave Sitek's mountain of reverbed space-gospel noise." Nevertheless, Wood opined the album is "[n]ot your typical Hollywood vanity project".[15] Chris Willman of Entertainment Weekly remarked, "In burying Johansson's vocals so deeply in the druggy ambiance, producer David Andrew Sitek [...] means well but ends up obscuring Waits' great tunes."[8]

Stephen M. Deusner of Pitchfork Media viewed the album as "a Brooklyn update on vintage 4AD bands like This Mortal Coil or Cocteau Twins", but noted that "[t]he only thing we've learned about her is that she really, really likes Tom Waits. That's more than enough to avoid catastrophe, but not quite enough to make Anywhere I Lay My Head much more than a curio."[12] Rolling Stone's Will Hermes critiqued that "Johansson's voice is unremarkable and her pitch sometimes unsteady", dubbing her "a faintly goth Marilyn Monroe lost in a sonic fog".[13] Dave Hughes of Slant Magazine expressed that Johansson is "neither a particularly interesting nor a particularly skillful singer, and she spends much of the record locked into a sub-Nico hum that's quite a bit less charismatic than her husky line readings might suggest."[14] Alex Denney of Drowned in Sound concluded, "Perversely given the record's comprehensive musical overhaul it's perhaps a surfeit of respect for the source material that proves Anywhere...'s undoing; for all its undoubted accomplishments there's a lingering suspicion that this is too safe, too respectable a record to do justice to an artist who remains forever mid-topple from the bar stool in the popular consciousness."[7]

Commercial performance[edit]

Anywhere I Lay My Head debuted at number 126 on the Billboard 200, selling 5,100 copies in its first week.[16] The album fared better in Europe, reaching number 15 in Switzerland, number 25 in Austria, number 26 in France, number 27 in Sweden, and number 30 in Belgium and Germany.[17] By August 2009, the album had sold about 25,000 copies worldwide.[18]

Track listing[edit]

1."Fawn" (from Alice)2:32
2."Town with No Cheer" (from Swordfishtrombones)Waits5:03
3."Falling Down" (from Big Time)Waits4:55
4."Anywhere I Lay My Head" (from Rain Dogs)Waits3:38
5."Fannin Street" (from Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards)
  • Waits
  • Brennan
6."Song for Jo"4:09
7."Green Grass" (from Real Gone)
  • Waits
  • Brennan
8."I Wish I Was in New Orleans" (from Small Change)Waits3:59
9."I Don't Wanna Grow Up" (from Bone Machine)
  • Waits
  • Brennan
10."No One Knows I'm Gone" (from Alice)
  • Waits
  • Brennan
11."Who Are You" (from Bone Machine)
  • Waits
  • Brennan


Credits adapted from the liner notes of Anywhere I Lay My Head.[21]


Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Ref.
Germany May 16, 2008 Warner [37]
France May 19, 2008 [38]
United Kingdom Rhino [39]
United States May 20, 2008 Atco [2]
Sweden May 21, 2008 Warner [40]
Australia May 23, 2008 [41]
Japan June 25, 2008 [20]


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  2. ^ a b Cohen, Jonathan (January 24, 2008). "Johansson Sets Date For Waits Covers Disc". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  3. ^ Solarski, Matthew (February 13, 2008). "Scarlett Johansson Album Has Tracklist, David Bowie!". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on March 3, 2009. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  4. ^ Goodman, William (May 7, 2008). "New Video: Scarlett Johansson, "Falling Down"". Spin. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
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  6. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Anywhere I Lay My Head – Scarlett Johansson". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved May 20, 2008.
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  10. ^ a b Elan, Priya (May 2, 2008). "Scarlett Johansson". NME. Time Inc. UK. Retrieved May 2, 2008.
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  13. ^ a b Hermes, Will (May 29, 2008). "Anywhere I Lay My Head : Scarlett Johansson". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on May 3, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2008.
  14. ^ a b Hughes, Dave (May 19, 2008). "Scarlett Johansson: Anywhere I Lay My Head". Slant Magazine. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  15. ^ a b Wood, Mikael (May 29, 2008). "Scarlett Johansson, 'Anywhere I Lay My Head' (ATCO)". Spin. Archived from the original on February 13, 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
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  20. ^ a b "Anywhere I Lay My Head / レイ・マイ・ヘッド" (in Japanese). Warner Music Japan. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  21. ^ Anywhere I Lay My Head (CD liner notes). Scarlett Johansson. Atco Records. 2008. R2 454524.
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  24. ^ " – Scarlett Johansson – Anywhere I Lay My Head" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
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  27. ^ " – Scarlett Johansson – Anywhere I Lay My Head" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
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  29. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
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  39. ^ "Anywhere I Lay My Head". Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  40. ^ "Anywhere I Lay My Head – Johansson Scarlett" (select "Fakta" tab) (in Swedish). Retrieved March 24, 2016.
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