THE GREAT GATSBY
BY BAZ LUHRMANN
While some thought the film lacked in certain departments, namely storytelling, I want to take this opportunity to defend the film for it's innovative use of music and soundtrack to cultivate a fresh take on the fatal attraction between Gatsby and his long lost love as well as to highlight and underscore the decadent decay of the 1920's society that surrounded them.
THE SOUNDTRACK AND VOICES OF GATSBYThe Great Gatsby: Music from Baz Luhrmann's Film was released on May 6, 2013 on Interscope Records and was produced by Luhrmann and Anton Monsted with Jay-Z heading the project as executive producer. Upon the albums release it immediately polarized critics and critical opinion as some saw the album as a genius retelling of Gatsby for modern audiences while others saw the album as a horrible atrocity that failed to accurately portray 1920's sensibility through its use of hip-hop and pop tracks. While I understand that the styles of hip-hop and pop did not exist in the 1920's I think that further critical, track-by-track examination of the soundtrack will help to elucidate the true genius, research, and finesse that went into making this soundtrack.
TRACK ONE "100$ BILL (PERFORMED BY JAY-Z)"
TRACK TWO "BACK TO BLACK (PERFORMED BY BEYONCE AND ANDRE 3000)"
This song is a slower version than the original, written by Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse, with chopped-and-screwed elements, a dark and haunting sound and instrumentally complete by a guitar, moody synth and electro bleeps.
TRACK THREE "BANG BANG (PERFORMED BY WILL.I.AM; ADDITIONAL VOCALS BY SHELBY SPALIONE)"
This song contains a sample of the jazz composition Charleston (1923) and features Louis Armstrong-inspired vocals along with hiNRG, EDM and electropop elements. It contains elements of hip-hop and 1920s-style dance music as well as a use of ukulele.
TRACK FOUR "A LITTLE PARTY NEVER KILLED NOBODY (ALL WE GOT)[PERFORMED BY FERGIE AND GOONROCK]"
TRACK FIVE "YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL (PERFORMED BY LANA DEL REY)"
TRACK SIX "LOVE IS A DRUG (PERFORMED BY BRYAN FERRY AND THE BRYAN FERRY ORCHESTRA)"
This song originally appeared on Roxy Music's 1975 album Siren; the song was written by band members Ferry and Andy Mackay. It contains jazz elements trumpet wails and skittering drums as well as honky-tonk, bass sax, sleazy strings and "oohs".
TRACK SEVEN "OVER THE LOVE (PERFORMED BY FLORENCE + MACHINE)"
TRACK EIGHT "WHERE THE WIND BLOWS (PERFORMED BY COCO O. OF QUADRON)"
TRACK NINE "CRAZY IN LOVE (PERFORMED BY EMELI SANDRE AND THE BRYAN FERRY ORCHESTRA)"
TRACK TEN "TOGETHER (PERFORMED BY XX)"
TRACK ELEVEN "HEARTS A MESS (PERFORMED BY GOTYE)"
TRACK TWELVE "LOVE IS BLINDNESS (PERFORMED BY JACK WHITE)"
TRACK THIRTEEN "INTO THE PAST (PERFORMED BY NERO)"
TRACK FOURTEEN "KILL AND RUN (PERFORMED BY SIA)"
So as you can clearly see from the track by track break down of all of these songs there is an eclectic mix of styles, genres, and periods represented in the soundtrack. This shows a tremendous amount of planning, research and execution because Baz Luhrmann truly understood the history of music that occurred in New York City at the time. There was jazz, swing, lindy hop, bee bop, and many other styles of music that all blended together to become the modern hip hop and pop traditions that are known today. I commend Mr. Lurhmann for respecting history enough to fully research that history and then take the base concept and make it contemporary for an audience to enjoy.