A Song A Day: I Am the Cosmos

Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson's Break Up album
Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson's Break Up album

Song #2 Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson’s I Am the Cosmos

Why I Picked It: I was on my lunch break and listening to my ipod when this song came up at random. I’m a great fan of Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson’s duo effort “Break Up”, about the demise of a relationship, but this song wasn’t the first song to catch my attention nor is it my favorite.  This is perhaps because musically it begins a little odd/off with its slightly off-beat percussive.  Then even when the vocals start, the bass that begins is almost too low – continuing the jarring experience.  I am aware that this is a cover from Chris Bell’s original piece (see YouTube), which – between the two – Bell’s is easier to digest musically, smooth like a good beer.  But there was a moment today where Yorn & Johansson’s version suddenly grew on me.

Why I Liked It: Unlike my pick yesterday, this song really is about that struggle of “yes” and “no” and it doesn’t have the character/singer’s strength emulated in Kate Voegele’s 99 Times, but the character wanting that power.  I realized I liked this song today because I connected the dissonance in the opening with the lyrics, the musical structure of the song echoing the back and forth, the singer who “every night…tell[s] [herself] ‘I am the cosmos, I am the wind’, but that don’t get [her lover] back again.”  And as you continue listening, that dissonance fades and is layered with other sounds, so that the song feels like this complete idea/existence of this character among “the cosmos”.