Lyriquediscorde favorite, Pete Yorn, has paired up again with his “Break-Up” partner Scarlett Johansson for the much anticipated EP, Apart. We’ve been waiting for this release since April when Pete and Scarlett released a pre-EP single, “Bad Dreams”, a brilliant, synth-rock-pop, getting over someone/not getting over someone ode. “Bad Dreams”, an excellent cover of “Worried” by Echo Friendly had us longing for more. Just as kids countdown the final days before summer break, we’ve been counting down to June 1, when the EP Apart, in its entirety, would finally be here.
Readers and listeners, it was worth the wait.
Apart by Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson
New Release Friday
Listening to Apart in the late night/early morning is the best choice. An EP that traverses the tricky terrain of post-breakup seems fitting to dive into at the time of insomniacs, when the world around is sleeping, all except the unrequited and heartbroken. Whereas Pete and Scarlett’s first album was about breaking up, Apart feels more like the aftermath of the break. Maybe it’s singing about a week later, a month, a year, or maybe even a decade. Two that were once an “us” have had to go on alone. They’ve had to sort through the rubble of loss and disappointment and sadness in order to mark a path that leads to being on your own again and going on. Everyone knows what that feels like. Everyone knows how hard it is. Thus making this EP immediately relatable.
photo by Sophie Muller
Let’s take it song by song, shall we?
Apart – A Lyriquediscorde Song by Song Review
The first track is “Iguana Bird”. The quick start pulls you right into the EP, and the story that you can immediately feel coming with Apart. The “la-la-la-la-love you” chorus is reminiscent of a Phil Spector “wall of sound” production. Yesterdays sensibilities collide with an updated, ethereal synth sound that works so perfectly. Wistful. I think that feeling is going to hit multiple times on this EP. I really do.
The back-and-forth at the end from Pete’s questioning vocal of “do you like how your spending your time?” answered back by Scarlett’s “la-la-la-la-love you” says everything. Two people, flown far away from each other, still wanting, still longing, still not over it – even if they are Apart.
“Iguana Bird” by Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson
Next up is “Bad Dreams”, Pete and Scarlett’s catchy synth-pop cover of Echo Friendly’s song “Worried”. Here is an excerpt from the single review for “Bad Dreams”:
The give-and-take of the verses plays out like a therapy session or a confessional one-on-one with a best friend. It’s time to be over the Break Up, at least that’s what they all keep telling you, but it’s never that easy. Not sleep, not awake, not being Apart.
Sleeplessness leads to exhaustion, and then when you finally close your eyes, the dreams come. “Bad Dreams” of being back together, of never being back together, of being alone. The manifestations of all those fears that your psyche plays out, they feel brought to life in this Song. Being afraid of the mess in your life, and in your self, to being afraid of age and forgetfulness, and of never sleeping well, or loving well, again. Anyone who’s been through a serious Break Up knows what their Singing about.
You keep breaking post Break Up. But, at least you have Songs to Sing while you try to piece it all back together, now that you’re Apart.
“Break Up” by Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson
Originally by Echo Friendly
“Movies” is next. Right from the start, it feels like a movie. The ambient beginning that ebbs and flows into an ethereal vocal by Pete. This feels like a dream pop gift. Wistful (that word again), and beautiful. I feel like the ocean should be right outside my window as the song unfolds. There is so much longing in this track.
“Take me to the movies. Take to me to where you’re going. I don’t want to live without you.”
I’m reminded of how I felt the first time I listened to The Cure’s Disintegration album, cross-pollinated with a little Ride, and a dreamy, foreign film score. This track is gorgeous. I need to drive to the ocean, sit close to the waves, and play “Movies” on repeat.
“Movies” by Pete Yorn
Written by Pete Yorn and R. Walt Vincent
“Cigarillo” is my first listen favorite off the EP. I keep hitting repeat. Over and over again.
This is the most quintessential Pete sounding song to me, which may be why I feel so immediately connected to it. Pop sensibilities the likes of Brian Wilson/Beach Boys weaved into the singer-songwriter brilliance that is what has always drawn me to Pete’s music. Catchy and poetic, full of wishing and longing. There’s this feeling that no matter how much one tries to get over someone – that certain kind of “someone” – there is a part of your heart that refuses. That part that no matter how much of a “long, long time since I knew you” has transpired, you still wish for that someone to return.
Maybe there is a better time, a different time, a new reality for “us”. Even in the impossibility of reuniting, there is this wanting a possibility.
“Cigarillo” by Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson
The final track is a reworking of “Tomorrow”, a song originally from Pete’s solo album, arrangingtime. The addition of Scarlett’s vocals adds a layer to the song that changes the narrative. It feels like a call and response between two people who once were planning out their tomorrow’s together, but are now looking towards tomorrow “apart”, waiting for that “tomorrow is another day” to be the days when it all gets easier. Anyone who’s been through a break-up knows what people say to somehow ease your pain. All that “time heals” stuff. “Wind the clock” and at some point, it will all be better. And the “I can take you anywhere, I just want to get to love you” sounds bittersweet and wistful in this rendition, much more than it ever was before.
What a way to end this brilliant EP.
“Tomorrow” (Remix/Audio) by Pete Yorn, featuring Scarlett Johansson
photo by Sophie Muller
This EP is so good. It is perfect for the onset of Summer, for the unseasonable rain outside in Southern California, and for long nights driving around in your car with the windows down. On a personal note, this is just what I needed right now as I try to get over an unexpected break-up that has me very wistful.
The only complaint I have about Apart is I wish there was more. Five songs are not nearly enough.
If you like what you hear order yourself a copy here.
Thank you, Pete and Scarlett. Love it! A++++