Monday, May 13, 2013

The Great Gatsby Soundtrack (Notable Tracks Review)

         The Great Gatsby debuted to mixed reviews as critics and fans alike seemed to either love or hate the big screen adaptation of the classic novel. However, what's been getting seemingly equal buzz is the long awaited soundtrack for the film, produced by Jay-Z himself. With jazzy influences twining with a hip hop oriented sound, this soundtrack has a little bit for everyone. You may not be able to repeat the past, but according to this soundtrack, you can rewrite it with Beyonce.

$100 Bill - Jay-Z
Jay-Z shows us why he helms the reigns in this music project as he sets the tone with his opening track about a life of extravagance and luxury. As he lays some crisp rhymes on an engaging beat, there's no doubt the sound is reminiscent of his Hard Knock Life days. A definite stand-out in the album.

Back to Black - Andre 3000 & Beyonce
Andre 3000 and Beyonce deliver the late Amy Winehouse's lyrics in an eerie, mysterious fashion while remaining sultry over a polarizing yet subtle beat. The beat accompanying the smooth, jazzy vocals can be described as having a subdued tinge of dubstep cloaking each and every silky word. The Outkast rapper and Sasha Fierce most definitely do not disappoint.

Bang Bang -
One of the better songs has produced and featured his vocals on since The Black Eyed Peas delivered 2009's The E.N.D., the EDM rapper uses a sample of the Charleston rather brilliantly, and it's nice to hear Will's voice used rather charismatically again. If only all of #willpower sounded like this. (sigh)

The BEP front-man took to the Idol stage a few weeks ago to perform the track.

A Little Party Never Killed Nobody - Fergie feat. Goonrock
Goonrock is at it again, producing the same old beat that's dominated radio airwaves for the past few years. Fergie sounds okay here, even if the effect used on her voice is a bit disconnecting and strange. The two have collaborated before on David Guetta's No Getting Over You, and that song made much better use of her voice. But, for the film's whole era and inspiration's sake, we'll say her voice works here too.

Young & Beautiful - Lana Del Rey
"Will you still love me when I am no longer young and beautiful?" the Video Games singer croons on the original track. This song has all the components of an average Lana Del Rey song: angst, an other-wordly melody, and the only pout in music you can detect without seeing. Lana paints a luscious dream with her words here. Nothing new. But nothing to complain about. It's Lana doing exactly what only Lana can do (aside from spinning in circles and embarrassing herself on one of television's longest running tv series).

Over the Love - Florence + The Machine
Florence Welch shatters the emotional boundaries with her voice that Lana Del Rey merely touches with this song. Displaying the kind of music talent that first gained the Dog Days singer recognition, the beautiful lyrics flow seamlessly while telling the story of a Great Gatsby character who's faced heartbreak. Just. Dazzling.

Crazy in Love - Emeli Sande & the Bryan Ferry Orcehstra
First off, I don't know much about Emeli Sande. I've had as much exposure to her as the average American, only really knowing her hit "Next to Me".  The first time I heard her voice, I realized she sounded slightly similar to Beyonce, except without as great a range. However, Emeli's range worked well for her individual songs. So, when Emeli covers Beyonce's famous track on the soundtrack, the direct comparison of vocal talent leaves Emeli looking like a lackluster R&B singer compared to Bey. Sure, the big band arrangement is pleasant, but the song is ultimately ineffective in adding a strong element to the album (mostly because of the singer and her song cover choice). I really like Emeli, and I love Beyonce (who doesn't?), but this was just a bad situation for the upcoming UK singer to put herself in. She's no Beyonce, and that's GOOD. So then why have her cover a Beyonce song? The cover sounds good in theory  but is weak in practice. But perhaps it's just late and I'm ranting senselessly. Either way, I could've done without it.

Into the Past - Nero
This electronic dance song paints a vivid pictures across the 1920s landscape of the film. Unfolding like an sweeping, sonic epic, this song transports you to another world. One of the best electronic cuts of the album.

Kill & Run - Sia
Referring to one of the film's most essential plot points, Kill and Run provides a sort of unwinding for the entire album. Sia's beautiful vocals help craft this piano ballad into the finishing piece of this ambitious, if sometimes misguided, musical masterpiece of an album.

Overall Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars