Music

The Great Gatsby Soundtrack: What is it and where did it come from?

The 2013 film used songs from all across the 21st century.  Here you’ll find out which ones are covers, which ones are original, which ones rock and which ones blow.

100$ Bill : Performed by Jay- Z

Original, written for the film by Jay-Z and Evan Mast

I guess Jay-Z executive produced the album, so he gets dibs on the first track.  In the movie, Jay-Z’s voice comes out of a black flapper at the seedy barbershop club were Gatsby conducts his business.

Back to Black: Performed by Beyonce and Andre 3000

Originally by:  Amy Winehouse (Back To Black)

Slow, soulful and trancelike.  Weird but good.  Beyonce makes a good Amy.

Young & Beautiful:  Performed by Lana Del Rey

Original, written for the film by Lana Del Rey and Rick Nowles

Young & Beautiful easily slips into its love theme role.  Lana Del Rey’s voice and persona mesh so well with the film’s aesthetic that you wonder why she didn’t do more for the soundtrack.

Bang Bang:  Performed by will.i.am

Originally by:  will.i.am, Sonny Bono (willpower:  Deluxe Edition bonus tracks )

will.i.am can’t do anything right.  His vocals are too loud on the verses and don’t fit in with the chorus.  “Bang Bang” starts out sounding weird and awkward, redeemed only by  vocals by Shelby Spalione.  The ending gets better.  The sleeve notes say will.i.am’s vocals were recorded at “will.i.am’s hotel room in France.”  Maybe that’s the problem.

Love Is Blindness:  Performed by Jack White

Originally by:  u2 (Achtung Baby)

Jack White’s  cover of U2’s song plays as Gatsby’s infamous yellow car barrels through the Valley of Ashes at the film’s climax. Awesome blues/ rock rendition of the last track on U2’s 1991 Achtung Baby , originally written for Nina Simone.

Crazy In Love (Kid Koala Version) Performed by Emeli Sande and the Bryan Ferry Orchestra

Originally by:  Beyonce Knowles and Jay-Z (Dangerously In Love)

This track should quit while it’s ahead.  The instrumental lead- in sounds great and you even think you’ll enjoy the song after Emele Sande starts singing.  But her R&B style is too modern and Bryan Ferry’s ragtime style is too retro, and the styles fail to meet in the middle.  Crazy In Love‘s composition, however, works wonderfully with the style, and instrumental versions of the track sound great.

A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got):  Performed by Fergie, Q Tip, Goonrock

Original, written for the film by David Listenbee, Jordan Orvash, Maureen Ann McDonald, Francesca Richard,  and Andre Smith

Follows the same format at Bang Bang but sounds way better, maybe because Fergie didn’t record her vocals in a hotel room.  She sounds more appropriate to the time period.  Club- ready and cool.  This one’s a winner.

Love Is The Drug:  Performed by Bryan Ferry with the Bryan Ferry Orchestra

Originally by:  Roxy Music (Siren)

One of the most underrated tracks on the album.  The arrangement fits the speakeasy style without clash.

Hearts A Mess:  Performed by Gotye

Originally by:  Gotye (Like Drawing Blood)

One of the only places you remember director Baz Lurhman hails from Australia, where Gotye was huge.  The eerie drip- drops and resonant bass plays during the end credits.

Where the Wind Blows:  Performed by Coco o. of Quadron

Originally Written for the film by Martin, D. Doughtery & P. Ponce

No Church In The Wild:  Performed by Kanye West & Jay-Z featuring Frank Ocean & The Dream

Originally By: Kanye West & Jay-Z featuring Frank Ocean & The Dream (Watch The Throne)

I love this song.  I wonder if Kanye and Jay-Z put in the ending because of the movie.  Epic and representative of the film’s underbelly.

Over The Love:  Performed by Florence + The Machine

Original, written for the film by Stuart Hammond, Kid Harpoon, SBTRKT, Florence Welch

Flo’s theatric vocals make her a favorite among soundtrack producers, but too much of this song falls too far out of Florence’s range.  It actually kind of hurts to listen to.  The last 10 seconds are the best. A mellower piano version plays at the end of one of Gatsby’s parties, when guests are sprawled all over his gigantic house.

Together:  Performed by The xx

Original, written for the film by The xx (Jamie Smith, Oliver Sim & Romy Madley Coft)

Critically acclaimed as one of the album’s best tracks.  I agree.  Fits producer Craig Armstrong’s style.  This song pops up about as many times as Young and Beautiful in the movie and supplies one of its core themes.

Into The Past:  Performed by Nero

Original, written for the film by Joseph Ray, Daniel Stephens, Alana Watson & Craig Armstrong

My favorite “electronica” track on the album.  Nero has a secret weapon in vocalist Alana Watson.

Kill and Run:  Performed by Sia

Original, written for the film by Sia Furler and Chris Braide

Sia shines on this piano- driven ballad.  She and Florence end up on many of the same soundtracks, and I like hearing their songs together.

Soundtrack Album produced by Baz Luhrmann

Soundtrack Album executie produced by Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter

 

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