It’s been teased endlessly through a series of snippets and television commercials, but now it’s here for your streaming pleasure – the entire Jay Z-cultivated soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann’s hellzapoppin’ “The Great Gatsby,” courtesy of NPR. Turn off Spotify, close your iTunes, this will be the soundtrack to the rest of your day. Pink pinstripe suit optional.
The soundtrack starts off with Jay-Z’s original contribution to the movie, “100$ Bills,” which includes samples from the scene where it appears in the movie (as Leonardo DiCaprio’s mysterious Jay Gatsby descends into New York’s jazzy criminal underworld) and is followed by a slinky electro-pop cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black,” performed by Beyoncé and Andre 3000. Yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds. From there the album is more of a mixed bag – the shticky will.i.am (did he really say “Tom and Jerry and Scooby-Doo?”) and Fergie songs are worse than forgettable, they’re actively disposable. The Lana Del Rey song is okay, capturing a kind of old school romanticism, but after hearing it nine times in the actual movie, we never need to hear it again. More powerful are the new songs by the xx, Sia and Florence + The Machine, and Emeli Sande’s cover of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” is, admittedly, pretty cool. Sadly, tracks the original score by Craig Armstrong are only available on the deluxe edition. Still.
Over all, though, the soundtrack is pretty unstoppable. Luhrmann has always handled music incredibly well, particularly with his undisputed masterpiece “Moulin Rouge!,” which skillfully combined pop songs from every era into a whirling musical bouillabaisse. As a pop album, “The Great Gatsby” hums like a turbo-charged '20s roadster, even divorced from the movie it accompanies.
The soundtrack is out May 7th, the movie opens on May 13th. Listen at the link above -- we'll add an embed as soon as we can.