Break Up - Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson

Mixed or average reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
  1. Between Yorn’s ingratiating tunes, Johansson’s harmonies and the lush, inventive production, Break Up ultimately succeeds in its ambitious goal of capturing the spirit--if not the sound--of the late-’60s musical partnership between Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot
  2. Johansson sounds more in her element in this one, starting off strong with the bittersweat bounce of 'Relator.' The only misfire on Break Up is an overly arty rendition of 'I Am The Cosmos' by Chris Bell of Big Star. [Oct 2009, p.115]
  3. Johansson's throaty vocals fit Break Up's intimate vibe better than they did on her overly ambitious Tom Waits-covers album. Still, aside from the jangle 'n' twang ditty 'Relator' and remake of Chris Bell's classic 'I Am the Cosmos,' the project never really achieves liftoff.
  4. Yorn and Johannson cut their album long before She & Him, but surfacing in its wake, they can't help but seem a bit like the polished, polite answer to the twee, precious charms of Zooey & M. Ward. Break Up does trump Vol. 1 conceptually, chronicling the dissolution of a romance as a series of duets, and Scarlett is a more-than-worthy foil to Yorn.
  5. There’s a mopey, self-pitying quality to the lyrics, and the duo never once connect with or transmit the sultry passion that existed between those 60s icons [Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot].
  6. It is entirely listenable, but this sort of album suggests the power to either break or fortify hearts. To that extent, it does not follow through.
  7. Mostly, the record suffers from the same symptoms most flings do: In time, the dreaminess dissipates, leaving those involved searching for something with a little more weight to it.
  8. Break Up's nine songs have plenty of sweet harmonies, but there's just no sexual chemistry between these two friends.
  9. Eliminate the stilted pursuit of Artistry oozing out of the cracks here, and ignore the notion that there’s some sort of emphasis on an unraveling journey-through-song, and Break Up is actually a pleasant enough detour as a light-hearted, retro-pop affair.
  10. 'Relator' aside, there's little about this duo's chemistry that lives up to Matt and Kim, let alone Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra.
  11. 40
    There's an absence of audible heat, no palpable anguish or tantrums. [Oct 2009. p.108]
  12. Chalk this one down purely to an arrangement of Tinseltown convenience. [Oct 2009, p.115]
  13. 20
    These tuneless songs which either brim with maudlin self-pity or bounce along with enforced jollity. [Oct 2009, p.123]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. HelenJe
    Sep 20, 2009
    Beautiful collection of fresh, unique sounding songs from an amazing talent, Pete Yorn. And he seems to have been able to bring out the best in Scarlett as well. Love This Album! Full Review »
  2. RichieF.
    Sep 19, 2009
    This album is plain and simply good music. Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson have created a wonderfully enjoyable and, frankly, unique set of nine songs in which they have entitled "Break Up." Although the album doesn't even add up to a full half hour of music, don't underestimate the effects of it. I definitely got the indie-esque feel for the album after about the second listen all the way through, and loved every minute of it. Though it may not be the best album of 2009, it could definitely be a favorite. Give it a few listens and you will see how well Yorn's masterful instrumentals and lyricism mix with ScarJo's organically sexy voice. Ignore the negative reviews and pick this fun duet album up, it may be the best money you spend all week! The top 3 standouts for me include the ultra-fun "I Don't Know What to Do," the catchy "Search Your Heart," and the beautiful "Clean." Full Review »
  3. AnieR
    Sep 19, 2009
    I feel all the way that gainsbourg spirit on this album. really great i love so much the deepful voice of Miss Johansson.