ALBUM REVIEW: The Great Gatsby Soundtrack
It’s only fitting that the opulent, Jay-Z-produced Great Gatsby soundtrack starts off with a song from the legendary rapper himself. Boasting like a lavish, modern-day Jay Gatsby, the lyrics flow about a fabulous life full of “Benjamin Franklins filled/folded just for the thrill.” It’s a telling start for a luxurious film about the Roaring Twenties, based on the famous book by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The soundtrack is full of tonal, ‘20s influences and quirky, reimagined tracks, like the slow-pulsing, funky cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” by Beyoncé and Andree 3000, and Emeli Sande’s vintage, orchestral take on Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love.”
Given the film’s portrayal of decadent nightlife, there are some fun, throwaway club bangers like “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (We All Got) by Fergie, Q-Tip, and GoonRock, and “Bang Bang” by will.i.am. Though these tracks could find a home in any modern nightclub, they’re filled with vintage trumpet trills and fun vocals that recall a ‘20s-esque singing style.
But this is The Great Gatsby, so there has to be lush, dramatic tracks as well. Perhaps the most talked-about track thus far has been Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful.” It slides the soundtrack out of its party mentality and slows it down to Del Rey’s trademark doom-pop sound, replete with her cooing voice, dripping fatalist, honey sweet lyrics from a perfectly shaped pout. Del Rey’s drama is only matched by that of British songstress Florence and the Machine, whose track “Over the Love” sticks to her already well-known sonic territory: heavenly vocals, echoey orchestral backing, and a slow verses that build into an explosive chorus. Both of these songs seem to be built for the Daisy Buchanans of the world, those shallow, pretty party girls who lead doomed lives.
Though the album has its problems here and there, it’s Jay-Z doing what he does best — entertaining the masses with a wave of his million-dollar hand, as Gatsby would have wanted.
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