@GatsbyMovie and @LanaDelRey a match made in heaven with #YoungAndBeautiful #SongOfTheMoment
Dear lord, when I get to heaven | Please let me bring my man | When he comes tell me that you’ll let him in | Father tell me if you can | All that grace, all that body | All that face makes me wanna party| He’s my sun, he makes me shine like diamonds…
– Lana Del Rey, “Young and Beautiful”
Where do I start? I was definitely blown away by “The Great Gatsby” film (and soundtrack). From the elaborate and
borderline-gaudy but still epic extravagant set design to the trademark Luhrmann zooms and camera techniques, “Gatsby” delivers to showcase the angst and hope-stained classic in the most innocent of ways.
I’ll start with the ballad that creeps its way into almost every scene in the second and third acts of the film: Lana Del Rey‘s “Young And Beautiful.” With her timeless voice (one that wouldn’t stick out in the ’60s, ’70s or even the ’80s – see her rendition of “Blue Velvet“), Del Rey adds just the right amount of ambiguous emotional crooning that allows audience members and listeners to experience a magnified version of that emotion. For example, when the audience member heard the song for the first time in the film, it seems cheerful and full of hope, similar to how Gatsby (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) himself feels at the moment. But upon hearing it creep up again within the film, the audience can begin to hear the desperation that plagues Gatsby after he finally tastes his forbidden fruit (Daisy, played by Carey Mulligan). There is also a longing and sadness that filters through toward the end. So, in other words, the song is emotionally ambiguous, a trademark of Del Rey’s music (check out “Blue Jeans” for more).
The song itself features Del Rey asking her lover if he will stay faithful to her as she will to him even as they age. It’s the eternal unsettling question for every expiring relationship: “will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?” Del Rey captures this uncertain sentiment that couples everywhere face and is able to make it sound celebrated and mournful at the same time. “Beautiful” is able to convey all of the emotions that Gatsby feels while taking the audience on the crazy roller coaster of emotion known to us as Gatsby’s anticlimactic view on life.
As for the film, I expected to see the crazy lifestyles of flappers and bootleggers, juxtaposed with the elegant and dramatic lives of high society. And yes, Baz delivered just that. While there were cheesy moments and (if you’re a fan of the book itself) even many parts that were indeed predictable, Baz executed the film gracefully. The only real complaint I have about the film is the party scene – I expected cameos from celebrities, more lavishness and better dance moves. I also expected to see more people dancing than that one smiling guy… Next time you watch the film be sure to look for him.
Side note: one thing I was very happy about was the inclusion of one of my favorite actors: Amitabh Bachchan. He’s a Bollywood legend, having acted in over 180 films, many of which were considered blockbusters. So, in other words, he’s a baller.
In terms of the soundtrack, I was thoroughly pleased. With only one song I truly detested (the “Crazy In Love” cover by Emeli Sandé), I was pleasantly surprised at how Baz and Jay-Z were able to incorporate 1920s music and themes into modern renditions while still keeping them sounding periodic instead of contemporary. Standout tracks include Fergie’s “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody,” Beyoncé’s “Back To Black” cover (originally by Amy Winehouse), Florence + The Machine‘s “Over The Love,” Will.I.Am’s “Bang Bang,” The XX’s “Together” and Nero’s “Into The Past.” Obviously, my favorite is Del Rey’s grand opus. Overall, it’s definitely worth the iTunes download or physical purchase.
With all this in mind, go see Great Gatsby and listen to the soundtrack! It’s totally worth it!
What were your thoughts on the film and Lana’s ode to the uncertainty of fleeting love?
Song GRADE: ★★★★¾
Film GRADE: ★★¼☆