Stop whatever you are doing and listen to The Great Gatsby soundtrack, which is streaming in full over at NPR days before its May 7 release. The album arrives pre-buzzed, thanks to behind-the-scenes work from Jay-Z and a series of tracks from a series of high-wattage artists such as Florence + The Machine, Beyoncé, Fergie, and Jack White.
What results is very good (Lana) and very bad (Florence) and very, very interesting, as is the nature of projects that overflow with talented people all working at once. Also: very period. If you didn’t know the movie is set almost 100 years ago, the soundtrack shouts it out at you, all honking brass and a preference for tempos that slide up the scale like liquor, getting hot just as they hit the chorus. It’s Baz Luhrmann’s costume party-version of the ’20s. But it’s fun! Also sad! (People have a way of dying in Gatsby.) Talking points from the 14-track soundtrack:
”Back to Black:” The cover is seven-tenths André 3000 — though Beyoncé’s vocal is dreamy-forceful, swapping sex for grit — and his warped spin does switch up Amy Winehouse’s original energy for the song, stretching and tugging at each word. But it’s also kind of a slow-jam snooze.
Fergie, Q Tip, and GoonRock’s ”A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)” is the one and only song to play for your Gatsby viewing parties. It’s just the right amount of cheap.
Has Lana Del Rey released her best song to-date/ever with the gorgeously high-strung ”Young & Beautiful”? Because Florence Welch is releasing one of her worst with the wail-y, on-the-nose ”Over the Love.”
The xx do their xx-thing on ”Together,” a chilly baton-passing duet which sounds almost nothing like the rest of the album — in a good way. Even better is Jack White’s ”Love Is Blindness,” already the trailer’s calling card. If you loved Blunderbuss (as if you didn’t), you’ll devour this. Sounding not-similar in a bad way are Gotye’s ”Hearts A Mess” and Nero’s ”Into the Past,” which swarm with sound but little purpose.
So click over and listen — what else is worth mentioning?