By Emily Roseman, Alumna of American University
This year’s highly anticipated film is perhaps on par with its score and subsequent soundtrack. Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary classic, "The Great Gatsby," is proving far beyond its shock factor by boasting a star-studded cast and an even more powerful soundtrack.
Strongly based on the classic novel, the blockbuster film is leaving many Fitzgerald fans satisfied at the least, but does not shy away from criticism for its 3D-heavy theatrics and clearly evident 21st century score. But what made the movie unique was Lurhmann’s ability to connect the theme of social-climbing aristocrats’ failure to find happiness with modern beats, sultry bows to the Jazz Age and artistic collaborations that created a stunning visual menagerie.
The film’s soundtrack includes top-charting artists like Lana Del Ray, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Gotye and Andre 3000 — to name a few. But the standout tracks range from the well-known to more indie, all complementing each other naturally through Lurhmann’s silk-like production.
Lana Del Ray – “Young and Beautiful”
A quintessential “Lana” song with sweeping orchestral movements guides the crooning songstress’ love-bent lyrics. A prefect theme song for the love-hate relationship that exists between Gatsby’s rich-girl heroine, Daisy Buchanan, and her forbidden fruit, Jay Gatsby. Lana’s lyrics sums up the question that Daisy must always contemplate with her unrequited romance, “Will you still love me when I am no longer young and beautiful?”
Beyonce/Andre 3000 –“Back to Black”
Perhaps one of the more controversial tracks that was leaked before the film’s release, this is a masterful and complex cover of the late great jazz crooner Amy Winehouse. Andre 3000 brings head-bobbing reverb to the notorious song, slowing down the lyrics to a molasses-like liquid groove as Beyonce retorts with her own sultry cover. Many Winehouse fans have dubbed the cover as a sad attempt in recreating a song about a drug-fueled romance, but the duo surely stirs the pot and adds pure sex appeal with perfect “Gatsby” nuance, bringing the Jazz Age back to life.
Coco O. of Quardron – "Where the Wind Blows"
An unknown when stacked up against her Gatsby counterparts, this track is exactly what the film stands for, a nod to a classic that will stand the test of time. This Roaring 20s jazz-influenced song acts as a beautiful visual, embodying the sentiment that Jay Gatsby yearned to seek a life outside of the party, but in the end, he partied to truly live.
Honorable mentions: The xx – “Together," Jack White – “Love is Blindness," Filter – “Happy Together”