There are worse things in the world than two beautiful people singing “la la la la love you.” Listening to Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson’s new EP Apart is not even close to the worst use of your time. But if you don’t have much patience for shallow, slightly overproduced pop music, you may want to skip this one.
“Iguana Bird” is the song closest to classic Pete Yorn. A sweet summer tune, it’s easy to hum along to. “Bad Dreams” has some edge, opening like Blue Oyster Cult and then turning into swingy pop rock. On “Movies,” they prop each other up well, Yorn adding gravelly vocals to Johansson’s whispery crooning. It’s the best song from the album, sexy and slow, without much more than keyboard and guitar.
The twangy guitars and relaxed drumming on “Cigarillo” are what you would expect from Apart. It has a Western twang, another affectation you wish that the duo had leaned into a little harder. The silliness of “Tomorrow” (rehashed and remixed Yorn) is the nadir of Apart, an unnecessary after-thought.
Due to either the length of the album, or the insignificant songwriting, once Apart is over, it’s like it never happened. Both Yorn and Johansson have distinctive voices, though neither are exceptional singers. Apart is snappy, enjoyable and forgettable. Earlier collaborations between the two had more character, but were not much meatier than what’s served here. Apart will play out well in coffee shops and retail spaces, popping up until it feels dated, then will fade quietly into a footnote within the histories of two people much more famous for other reasons.
Notable Tracks: “Cigarillo” | “Movies”