Song of the Summer: Model-Slash-Actress Edition


We have little-to-no stakes in the summer-song horserace, except in a “If I hear that Drake song one more time I’ll happily slit his throat with the jagged shards of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” kind of way. But we are interested in “Relator,” the improbably buoyant Scarlett Johansson/Pete Yorn collaboration from the forthcoming Break Up album. This chirpy, playful American pop homage would actually be our stealth nominee for song of the summer if not for a), that thing about us not caring, and b), the fact that any official summer song must have bump-in-your-titanic-SUV potential, which the lightweight “Relator” assuredly doesn’t. But we do feel protective of the project, nonetheless, so the news that both Kate Moss and Mandy Moore are making incursions into Johansson’s model-slash-actress-slash-singer territory is threatening indeed.

Moore has actually had a long and largely terrible music career already, and thus isn’t much of a contender to take Johansson’s dilettante crown. Her new single, “I Could Break Your Heart Any Day of the Week,” off last month’s Amanda Leigh, is a bit of Sheryl Crow-type adult contemporary that sadly belies the fact that Moore is only 25-years-old. Maura calls it “disarming,” and notes, hilariously, the high incidence of “references to rivers and summers and dells.” So maybe Moore is gunning for “Relator”‘s summer spot? Anyway, despite a trenchcoat-and-flashing-themed video, we deem this song no real threat.

More concerning is the Kate Moss-featuring “Dirty Robot,” the forthcoming Arling & Cameron cover off the Lemonheads’ new VARSHONS. Moss has also had a bit of career in pop music, notably on the electro-glam Primal Scream version of “Some Velvet Morning.” Both covers use Moss in a way that seems to take her flawless, hard-edged android looks literally–on “Dirty Robot,” she recites “You’re a dirty robot” in duet with an actual robot, her voice scarcely separable from the track’s ice-cold synthesizers and mechanical percussion. Compared to her, Johansson is Billie Fucking Holiday. But on the charisma front, this battle is perilously close to a draw. So which model-slash-actress-slash-singer will emerge dominant? Stay tuned…