CD review: The Great Gatsby
What would F Scott Fitzgerald do? That is the question the fabulous Jay-Z, who co-produced this soundtrack, ought to have asked himself first.
One assumes his partner, the equally intriguing Baz Luhrmann, must have spent hours tackling that problem before setting out to film the 1925 novel. Even a cursory listen to this batch of songs, however, yields this tragic answer: Irrespective of what Fitzgerald could have done, this would probably not be it.
The novel in question uses a mysterious protagonist to explore everything from greed and corruption to a society caught in the process of change beyond its control. Juxtapose that lofty ambition against, if you will, these lines from the song Bang Bang by the ubiquitous Will.I.Am: ‘My baby shot me down again, shot me down with the love and it go bang bang. That girl’s a killer from a gang, shot me down with the love and it go bang bang.’
This exploration of contemporary Hip-Hop is supposedly meant to mirror the role played by America’s Jazz age in the novel. Apart from the gorgeous (and now two years old) No Church In The Wild by Jay-Z and Kanye West, there is no strong representative of the genre at all. Beyonce and Andre 3000’s cover of Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black stumbles and falls, as does British singer Emeli Sandé’s cover of Crazy In Love.
There’s more of the banal in the form of Fergie’s A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got). The only thing that manages to work is Together, by English indie darlings The xx.
-- The Great Gatsby OST, Various Artistes, Universal, Rs 395. Available at leading music stores.