Pete Yorn recorded Break Up in 2006 on the heels of one, but it sat on the shelf until 2009, appearing just a matter of months after Back & Fourth, and a year after his duet partner, Scarlett Johannson, cast as Brigitte Bardot to Yorn's Serge Gainsbourg, made an awkwardly arty splash with a Tom Waits' cover album, but the album that really casts a shadow over this is Vol. 1, the 2008 record by She & Him, the teaming of M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel. 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. If anything, her hushed, husky voice -- showcased better here than on her own debut -- is a greater presence than his self-pity. In this tasteful context, it's easy to hear why he pines after her but not so clear what she ever saw in him in the first place.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine