While Scarlett Johansson seemed to receive a plethora of criticism regarding her first two albums, it was her voice that got the most flack. Speaking of her vocal performance on 2008’s Anywhere I Lay My Head, Pitchfork called her vocals “limited and her pitch occasionally shaky.” But the publication noted, in a praise sandwich, that the actress has “a wide textural range, spanning from low, smooth, and melancholy.” According to BBC Music, “Much has already been made about the double-tracked, bathed in reverb vocals of SJ. Aha, say detractors, she obviously can’t sing! Well, yes, it’s hard to tell here, but frankly it matters not.”
Salon similarly mused in 2008, “The critical consensus on Johansson’s voice is that it’s flimsy and expressionless, and that it’s buried deep beneath the record’s cottony, somewhat synth-heavy production.” Salon did note some the actress’s strong points as a singer: “her throaty whisper is velvety, soothing and vaguely sinister.” Even so, it’s impossible to deny that negative reviews have outweighed positive ones when it comes to Johansson’s vocals. As Highsnobiety wrote in 2018, “Regardless of how people feel about ScarJo, there’s no denying that she possess many talents — singing just might not be one of them.” Pass the Burn Book.