Best Music Producer (2008)

Dave Sitek

The news that Hollywood queen Scarlett Johansson would record an entire album of Tom Waits covers triggered much teeth-gnashing and garment-rending among both Waits diehards and those generally averse to movie stars masquerading as rock stars. This would not go well. Parsing the result (Anywhere I Lay My Head), we cannot in good conscience recommend Ms. Johansson as a singer (though she can sure hit those low notes), but it must be said that the record sounds gorgeous; in that vein, all praise is due to producer Dave Sitek, member of wildly inventive art-rockers TV on the Radio. The eerie, echoey music-box lilt of I Wish I Was in New Orleans or the luscious organ-driven dirge that powers Town With No Cheer would be mesmerizing regardless of who was delivering the words. Siteks aesthetic, as evidenced on TVOTRs own records and in his collaborations with other NYC artists like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Apollo Heights, and Dragons of Zynth, is dense and shiny and disquieting, like looking at a flaming junkyard through a kaleidoscope. It can make apocalypse and squalor sound profoundly beautiful, and make a potentially disastrous record sound 100 times better than it had any right to.

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