The Great Gatsby Soundtrack Beats on, Borne Ceaselessly into Success

The Great Gatsby Soundtrack Beats on, Borne Ceaselessly into Success

Kelsey Whittier


The highly anticipated adaptation of the everlasting classic The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald has finally hit theaters and proves to live up to the hype. The soundtrack to the film, released on May 7, compliments the movie wonderfully with songs about love, parties, and money— all of which Gatsby stands for. Director Baz Luhrmann and executive producer and rap artist Jay Z do an excellent job of blending  twenties jazz and hip-hop and using big name mainstream artists like Fergie, Kanye West, and Jay Z himself—along with lesser known indie artists such as  Sia and The xx.

The star-studded soundtrack to the Baz Luhrmann literary vision will score the runner-up spot on next week’s Billboard 200 album chart, close behind Lady Antebellum’s newest album Golden. However, Gatsby came out on top on the iTunes album chart, leaving Golden to settle for the number two spot.

They clearly worked to re-invent the Jazz Age, rather than make a wreck of merging different generations of music. Luhrmann said of the soundtrack, “F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is peppered with contemporary music references specific to the story’s setting of 1922.  While we acknowledge, as Fitzgerald phrased it, ‘the Jazz Age,’ and this is the period represented on screen, we—our audience—are living in the ‘hip-hop age’ and want our viewers to feel the impact of modern-day music the way Fitzgerald did for the readers of his novel at the time of its publication.”  Baz Luhrmann raised some confusion last year when he released a trailer for The Great Gatsby in which he chose Jay-Z and Kanye  West’s “No Church in the Wild” instead of Jazz-Age music.

In the months since,  Luhrmann has made the reason for his the musical choices clear: to prove a point that the songs of the Jazz Age are not very different from the songs of the hip-hop era. Jay-Z said, “Jazz was this almost underground music at the time, like hip-hop started out. I like to think of it as a character, because it’s so interwoven into the storyline.” Many can agree that once music becomes a true part of a movie, the creators have succeeded in producing a piece of art. Music allows the audience to really feel the different parts of a movie, almost as if they are a part of it. Perfect music placement can either pump up or cause an audience to burst into tears.

One of the less Gatsby party-esque songs, Lana Del Rey’s alluring and haunting track  “Young and Beautiful,” is definitely a favorite among many. The song focuses on the question of whether love is vain or not, and it is a perfect track to complement Gatsby’s tragic love for a woman he has been in love with for years, Daisy Buchanan. “Young and Beautiful” was released as a single before the album came out and definitely helped increase hype for the album, due to Lana’s rapidly increasing popularity. Her old fashioned style is refreshing to many. She seamlessly blends modern lyrics with her 60’s style, which she reflects not only in her music, but also her appearance.

The soundtrack also includes some re-invented covers including André 3000 and Beyoncé putting their spin on Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” and Jack White’s rendition of U2’s “Love is Blindness.” The artists all do an excellent job doing justice to the classic songs and are just as entertaining as the brand new ones.

The bold, modern turn on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic story by Luhrmann and Jay-Z will definitely excite and engage moviegoers this year in the same way the book has been enchanting readers for nearly 100 years.