When it was announced that Jay-Z would be playing a role in the music for The Great Gatsby, I won’t lie, I was excited to hear what kind of vibe he would be bringing to the table. The book is a classic (I’m still in the process of reading) and a lot of people expected the movie to live up to its expectations – so it’s only fair to assume that the Soundtrack was going to be nothing short of ‘great’ since one of the greatest of all time rappers has his name attached to it (there’s a lot of emphasis on the word great, if you haven’t noticed already). From previewing the album, there’s a mash-up of various styles that one wouldn’t have heard on a soundtrack before, and given the fact that this book was written in the 1920s, it hinted towards the fact that the movie wasn’t going to be in any form, traditional. But enough talk, let’s get into this.
Jay-Z is working on a new album, but $100 Bill sounds like it was a Watch the Throne throwaway. Gatsby is a character who flaunted wealth and threw major parties to over shadow a hidden secret, so this just seemed fitting for Hov to make a song to since he has a lot of money, flaunts it like no other, and, well he’s not so secretive about his life. I think it’s time for him to retire. He’s been on a decline for a while now, but diehard fans will definitely fight you for any questions of him. It’s time for him to go (take Snoop LionDogg with you too), and it’s funny because he doesn’t even have to try anymore. At this point, it’s just like he’s just taking up space, but at times has the odd glimpse of old. Let it go, Hov. Let it go.
If you never heard Back to Black before Andre 3000 & Beyonce did the cover, then you’re doing yourself a great disservice by not listening to Amy Winehouse’s version first (RIP). There was a lot of controversy when it was announced that the two would make the cover, because people thought they would just ruin it more than help. After hearing the preview, I could definitely see where those people were coming from. The original version would have been more served to being used in the movie, because it had a classic jazz soul behind it, and that was pretty much emphasized since it was the ‘Roaring 20s.’ I’m not a Beyonce fan, I don’t listen to her music, and it’s not that I don’t like her; she just has nothing for me. Andre 3K has been steady killing feature verses, and he was probably the only highlight of the song. The production itself wasn’t anything memorable. It had some bounce and also had elements from the original, but I feel as though the cover wasn’t suited for the direction of this movie (mind you, I listened to this before I watched it). So far, the soundtrack was 0/2 and it wasn’t looking pretty given the fact that Lana Del Ray was also on the tracklist.
I keep giving her chances – ever since Kanye tweeted her songs and all that, I gave her a shot, and I thought something was there, but then nothing came out for me. Young and Beautiful is a lovely song, I will definitely admit that, but I just can’t stand Lana’s voice. If you know me, you know where I stand about her already, but I won’t deny that the song fit the storyline of the movie. The lyrics are raw because everyone wants that “I want to grow old with you” love, and usually when two young people do fall in love with each other, there’s always the question if they’ll still feel the same when the wrinkles come in heavier and the energy has gone down. It hits home for many, and I believe that’s why a lot of people can feel Lana’s songs. You guys can have her, I’m okay.
I’m glad that this soundtrack wasn’t going to be specifically focused on 2 or 3 genres, but as a whole it would fit the theme of the storyline in the movie: Love, Passion, Secrets, Dramatics, and Parties all the time – basically what the post-war era in the United States was like in New York. It was flashy, glamorous and bright, and the music was bound to reflect that imagery. Love Is Blindness by Jack White had a spark of pitted darkness that revolved more so in the perspective of Gatsby and his inner struggle to secure Daisy in his life (don’t worry, it’s not really a spoiler). I won’t lie to you, I haven’t heard a full Jack White song since Seven Nation Army (I don’t listen to rock, don’t judge me), but I was definitely into this song here. It’s the best song I’ve heard so far, and hopefully it would remain this way.
Emeli Sandé is a new name to me, but definitely an artist that I’ll be checking out before I see her perform at Made In America this year. Keeping with the love theme (this will be consistent throughout), she was the focal point behind the Crazy In Love cover (we all know the Beyonce original). I love the way that it was done in a jazzy setting with The Bryan Ferry Orchestra playing in the background. I actually like it more than the original because it was the first song on the soundtrack that at least held that 1920s sound behind it with the ragtime style. There was still a basic Hip Hop presence behind it, but all in all, this was quite the toe tapper.
When you’re throwing a grand party, it seems as if you need the proper music to keep the night going strong and for long; who else to keep it going than Black Eyed Peas members Will.I.Am & Fergie to help along the way. Bang Bang and A Little Party Never Killed Nobody were the pop/techno songs that I wouldn’t have expected to hear on this, but like I said, they emphasized the party music that Gatsby through for a host of people on numerous occasions. I felt as though LMFAO was going to come out of nowhere and start doing their usual shtick. These songs are useful in a club; on this soundtrack? Not so much, but that’s just me. Shout out to Q-Tip, however. Tribe for life.
Bryan Ferry & The Bryan Ferry Orchestra brought it back to the ragtime jazz era with Love is the Drug (might as well have just had ‘Pusher Love Girl’ on this soundtrack too, Mr. Carter). I feel like the whole soundtrack should have sounded like this and the Crazy in Love cover, because it was inspired by the 1920s, but the plan for this movie was to…actually, I don’t know what the plan was – it just seems like a random mashing up of things and delivered just as that. There’s no real consistency to it. What I can appreciate however, was the fact that Jay-Z included artists that had found recent success and were on their way to blowing up. Gotye was a random name that I hadn’t heard of until the Grammys, but Heart’s a Mess might just have me change that. He delivered a great song here and I loved the beat more than anything because everything just flowed well. I felt like the soundtrack was finally starting to get somewhere that I would enjoy going. I first heard Coco O on Tyler, The Creator’s WOLF album (listen to Treehome95) and I absolutely fell in love with her voice. She didn’t disappoint with Where the Wind Blows, and I’d go as far as saying that there was an Amy Winehouse style to her. It may sound redundant, since there are so many artists that I hadn’t heard about, but yet again I have to check out what else she has out there.
I don’t know why No Church In the Wild was on this soundtrack, like…wasn’t this in 2 other movie trailers? I don’t know, man. I know it won a Grammy, and it is a great song, but c’mon Hov, do better. The remaining songs on the soundtrack were provided by Florence + The Machine, the xx, Nero, and Sia. The styles emulate alternative rock that still had the theme of love attached to them. Musically, this soundtrack brought out the themes that were highlighted in the book and the movie. What the movie would bring out would be the mystery since it was hyped like crazy since last year (unfortunately it got pushed back). The elements of the 1920s was there, but I feel like many songs on the soundtrack served no purpose into actually relating to the story, and as for the movie and what the Soundtrack would play towards anticipating, it’s like you had to prepare yourself for a random dosage of entertainment. It’s not something that I would consider memorable out of the soundtracks I’ve heard, but maybe the movie will do it justice. This is my opinion, this is my review, but for now
That’s My Word & It STiXX