There’s been so much hype leading up to the release of The Great Gatsby this week. The same goes for the Jay-Z curated soundtrack. We’ve talked a lot recently about individual songs as they’ve been released but now the entire soundtrack is out and, as with most of these multi-artist soundtracks, it’s a bit of a mixed bag.
The album mixes hip-hop, rock, and electronica with a 1920s jazz era sound, which results in a sexy, vibrant take on the era. If you didn’t already know the movie was set almost 100 years ago, you certainly will after listening to the soundtrack.
The album opens with 100$ Bill by Jay-Z himself which includes a bunch of audio clips from the film which interestingly enough reminded me of that song on The Beach Soundtrack which did the exact same thing. Hits on the album include Will.i.am’s “Bang Bang”, Sia’s “Kill and Run” and Fergie’s “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody.” It’s nice to see her making music again. The ever-so-talented Jack White’s Love is Blindness is also a great track.
My absolute favorites on the album come from two of my favorite artists. Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” is a breathtaking song, which is really the centerpiece of the whole album. Florence and the Machine’s Over the Love is beautiful song that really showcases Welch’s talent. I also really enjoyed Together by The XX who put on an amazing show this year at Coachella.
I’m really torn on Beyoncé and Andre 3000’s cover of Back to Black by Amy Winehouse. While I think Beyoncé nailed it with a breathy, seductive take on the song, Andre seems out of place. I find myself skipping his part and going straight for Beyoncé. I think she could have killed that song all on her own.
Where the album fails is on Emeli Sande’s cover of Crazy in Love, which completely misses the mark. That’s Beyoncé’s song; don’t mess with it. I also found Nero’s Into the Past to be loud and boring. It did nothing for me.
Overall, I think Jay-Z did a great job pulling songs together and capturing the sound of the 20s, but they’re certainly not all winners for me. Having said that, the album makes me that much more excited to see the film tonight!
Rating: 3/5 Stars