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Album Review: Jay’s Surprising Star-Packed ‘Gatsby’ Mixtape

Hova salutes a fellow large-living New Yorker with help from Beyoncé, Jack White and more

Jody Rosen May 02, 2013
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Jay-Z leads the way on the soundtrack to 'The Great Gatsby'.

Jay-Z leads the way on the soundtrack to ‘The Great Gatsby’.

Various Artists

[easyreview cat1title = “The Great Gatsby: Music From Baz Luhrmann’s Film” cat1rating = 3.5]

Gatsby OSTThis ain’t your great-grandfather’s West Egg. Jay-Z executive-produced this score, which infuses F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age tale with the sounds of the hip-hop age. The result is an unusually diverting mixtape, with an all-star lineup: Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” is here ”“ in a jauntily jitterbugging cover version by the Bryan Ferry Orchestra, with vocals by British soul upstart Emeli Sandé. Queen B herself teams with André 3000 for a moodily downtempo version of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.” There are other surprises: Jack White stomps and howls through U2’s “Love Is Blindness.” Gotye’s “Hearts a Mess” is an insinuating piece of neo-lounge ballad. The xx sound ”“ mesmerizingly ”“ like the xx. 

Not everything works. Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” is meant to be one of the album’s centerpieces; instead, it’s inert, a drag. But the LP conjures a consistent mood of noirish, doomed romance ”“ and succeeds, in songs like Will.i.am’s lovably doofy “Bang Bang,” in mashing up hip-hop with 1920s-style dance music. Then there’s Jay-Z, whose “100$ Bills” draws witty comparisons between the nouveau riches of the Roaring Twenties and our own 21st-century Gatsbys. So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly to the 40/40 Club.

Also See  The 21 Best Albums Of 2021 (Part Three)

Key tracks:  “100$ Bills,” “Back to Black”

Listen to a sampler from The Great Gatsby: Music From Baz Luhrmann’s Film here

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