Music for studying: A review of ‘The Great Gatsby’ soundtrack

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Finals suck, but The Great Gatsby soundtrack doesn’t. In the midst of this stressful time, music is always a great thing to turn to. So instead of flipping the pages of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel for your English final, take a listen to The Great Gatsby album instead.

Our thoughts on this new soundtrack? It’s pretty damn awesome and drenched in pleasurable sounds. Using jazz and instrumentals, each track commingles two different eras, creating unique and modern notes that resonate within the twenties. Did F. Scott Fitzgerald ever imagine this would happen?

http://youtu.be/2SkqL1xXGjI

Who knows? But it did – and we like it. Check out our breakdown of each track after the jump.

1. 100$ Bill” — Jay-Z

Jay- Z is the great Gatsby of hip-hop – swaggered out, a man of affairs in every respect. This novel is all about hedonism and hustle, and what better expresses this than Jay’s coke-dealer-turned-mogul flow? This song perfectly encapsulates the decadence and loose morals that characterize this novel. Rotting from the inside out, but just so damn flashy. The difference between Jay-Z and Gatsby? Beyoncé.

2.Back To Black” — Beyoncé + Andre 3000

In “Back To Black,” Beyoncé shows us a completely different side of her vocal prowess, taking us to the dark side with her sultry tones. But really, this song is kind of AMAZING. Beyoncé’s sensual voice accompanied by Andre 3000’s raw tones creates for a duo that is really quite different. Interspersed within the vocals is an SES 808 drum sample, used tastefully and wisely to ornament the song.

3. Bang Bang” — will.i.am

In this track, will.i.am samples a famous 1923 tune called “The Charleston.” The song is as jazz club as it is Spring Weekend After Dark. The interplay between the classic, will.i.am’s auto-tuned voice and his upbeat production makes for a truly interesting track that is sure to pair well with Baz Luhrmann’s cinematics. It’s catchy as hell too, because I can’t write and listen to it at the same time. Here two pop eras come together to create some unique and unheard sounds.

4. “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)” — Fergie + Q Tip + GoonRock

Again this song mixes the old and the new, interspersing scatting and Duke Ellington’s well-known lyrics “it don’t mean a thing” to bring this modern song back to the Roaring Twenties.  Propelled by Fergie’s powerful voice,  I almost forgot this song is a garden variety club track. It’s good in the sense that I’m still listening to it.

5. Young And Beautiful” — Lana Del Rey

This track doesn’t stray too far from the typical Lana Del Rey, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hold some serious weight. She asks, “Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?” – a verse that just might resonate within the Gatsby plot. Let’s wait and find out.

6. Love Is The Drug” — Bryan Ferry with The Bryan Ferry Orchestra

Byran Ferry is an English singer, musician, and songwriter. His 1975 single, “Love Is the Drug” has been repurposed for the film, bringing his sultry and jazzy voice back for our listening pleasure.

7. Over The Love” — Florence + The Machine

All I’ve got to say is that this track is very Florence. Impressive and impassioned vocals make this song noteworthy as it rises in drama.  Doesn’t stray too far from what Florence has been giving us for the last couple years, yet it’s a solid choice for the film.

8. Where The Wind Blows” — Coco O. of Quadron

An interesting mix of an old time piano, an intricate back beat, and the sultry vocals of Coco of Quadron makes this song entrancing. Coco is part of a Danish duo called Quadron that is known for electronic soul music. You can definitely hear this resonating within the song.

9. Crazy in Love” — Emeli Sande and The Bryan Ferry Orchestra

A really fun spin off of Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love” that we all know so well. Really sweet trumpets in the background provide for a very upbeat rendition of this Beyoncé classic. I’m personally very excited to see how this song will be used in the movie — perhaps it might represent Gatsby’s crazy love for Daisy? Just a guess.

10. “Together” — The xx

Quiet and subdued vocals once again mark this track by The xx. Melodramatic yet touching lyrics suggest a level of despair. It’ll be interesting to see how this  understated track fits in with the rest of the Gatsby film as we expect it to be quite the wild affair. I have a feeling that this song might be a ballad centered around Jay Gatsby’s character.

11. Hearts A Mess” — Gotye

“Pick apart the pieces of your heart/ Let me peer inside/ Let me in where only your thoughts have been/ Let me occupy your mind as you do mine.” These are the lyrics that open this Gotye track – a very mellow song, with simple yet touching lyrics that gesture directly at the story’s plot. “Love ain’t fair/ So there you are, my love/ Your hearts a mess/ You wont admit to it/ It makes no sense/ But I’m desperate to connect/ And you, you can’t live like this.”

12. Love Is Blindness” — Jack White of the White Stripes

This track was described by New York Daily News as a “rock-hip-hop rave-up of U2’s ‘Love Is Blindness.'” A standout track on this soundtrack, featuring the grim and acidic tones that mark Jack White’s distinct voice.

13. Into the Past” — Nero

A really intense layering of sounds and vocals sets this track apart by the British EDM group, Nero. Heavy breathing starts off this track, leading into “aggressive bass that’s as dark and ominous as the chorus is transcendent.” Idolator described this song as “rich and luminous and sad and textured and absolutely enormous.” I’d have to agree.

14. “Kill and Run” — Sia

Hmm…interesting title given the plotline of the book. Any ideas where this song might be used in the film? I’ve got a few…Anyways, this track is haunting and beautiful as the pop and jazz balladeer shows off her chops.

 

You can listen to the Deluxe Edition of The Great Gatsby Soundtrack at rdio.com or go see the film tomorrow when it comes out in theatres. I cannot wait to see how this rich and textured soundtrack accompanies this much-anticipated film. Hopefully we’ll be able to say that the re-imagination of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic was worth it.

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6 Comments

  1. FM

    Hi. I’m wondering if ANYONE has access to or knows where I can find the SCORE for The Great Gatsby? And no, I don’t mean the soundtrack that was “composed” by Jay-Z and features Lana Del Ray and others, i mean the actual movie score, as in the background instrumental that plays during the movie?

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