"Music From Baz Luhrmann's Film 'The Great Gatsby'" review: Jazz to hip-hop

"The Great Gatsby" soundtrack. "The Great Gatsby" soundtrack. Photo Credit: Handout

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Jay-Z is perfectly suited to handle the soundtrack for the movie about Jay Gatsby -- they have more in common than just their chosen name.

He writes "$100 Bill" from a modern-day Gatsby's perspective, declaring that it's "1929 still," the period of showy extravagance before the Great Depression. He introduces himself -- "Write like Mark Twain, Jay Gatsby, I park things, yellow cars, yellow gold like Slick Rick."

That's the most direct link between now and then on "Music From Baz Luhrmann's Film 'The Great Gatsby' " (Interscope), but, as the soundtrack's executive producer, Jay fills it with songs that also draw the comparison.

For "Bang Bang," will.i.am raps over a sample of "Charleston!" surprisingly well. "A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)" starts off with a big band vibe before Fergie, Q-Tip and GoonRock transform it into a current club banger. And the Bryan Ferry Orchestra offers a jazzy reading of both Ferry's "Love Is the Drug," which Ferry sings, and Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love," on which newcomer Emile Sande handles the vocals.

Much of the soundtrack also features the sweeping, dramatic, icy electronic music that Luhrmann favored in his film "Romeo + Juliet." Beyoncé and Andre 3000's take on Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" is stripped down practically to an electronic pulse, while The xx provide the hauntingly simple "Together." Florence and the Machine turns the spare "Over the Love" into something gorgeous and moving.

The "Gatsby" soundtrack manages the difficult trick of serving the movie while still living up to its pop potential.

 

VARIOUS ARTISTS

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"Music From Baz Luhrmann's Film 'The Great Gatsby'"

GRADE A-

BOTTOM LINE Connecting the Jazz Age of the Roaring Twenties to today's hip-hop and EDM

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