I’m no film critic, or Jazz Age historian, but I must say that Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby seemed to capture the true essence of the era- in its flaws. The decadent cinematography, the enamouring fashions, and the star-studded soundtrack are ironically exemplary of the no expenses spared attitude of the wealthy New Yorkers portrayed in the book and film. While the music and fashions were exciting and entertaining, especially within the astounding and opulent sets (the scene where the audience first meets Daisy is stunning), it seemed to mask the lack of true quality and could have probably been done better on a smaller budget (why all the big names?).
We can see a little bit of Electro-Swing making its way in on the will.i.am and Fergie tracks, no surprise given the context of the film. It’s also no surprise that Fergie’s track aproppriates the swing aspect much better and outshines will.i.am in nearly every aspect. While the tracks are entertaining, and I’m happy to see that trend entering mainstream, it’s been done for some time and much better by the likes of Parov Stellar and Caravan Palace, among many others. Why not feature some of those artists?
Young and Beautiful gives Lana fans what they already love about her other great tracks- a beautiful yet simple hook dripping in desperate romanticism, but my favorite tracks are obviously Beyoncé related: Her and Andre 3000’s version of Back to Black is different enough from the original to be great, and really introduces a new facet to the sexuality of the track while Emeli Sandé’s version of Crazy In Love is adorable and catchy. The bill continues, featuring Jay-Z, the xx, Jack White, Sia, Nero, Florence Welch, and Gotye (name drop, name drop, name drop!), a list promising yet forgettable.
So, is a ‘great’ soundtrack working as a selling point for the film? It’s definitely one of the more exciting soundtracks in recent years, and got me out of my seat. The gems stand on their own, and the others do work well within the movie itself- far from a perfect movie, or soundtrack, but a worthwhile experience at the theater.