All my high school grads will feel me on this: the only good book we read in pretty much all of sophomore English is being mercilessly adapted, and the latest soundtrack announcement only adds to the upset.
Honestly, we were all pretty stoked to hear that The Great Gatsby’s latest film incarnation would star Carrie Mulligan as Daisie and Leo DiCaprio as Gatsby. What awesome casting choices!, we led ourselves to believe. Maybe Baz Luhrmann won’t totally screw us with a clusterfuck of historical inaccuracy and schmaltzy soundtrack choices!
Yeah so our optimism was clearly misguided. Maybe it was wrong to assume that Luhrmann and his band of miscreants would honor Fitzgerald’s most beloved work. But instead of a delicately-rendered, cinematic love note to the original novel, we get Jay-Z’s fevered imaginings of what people in the ’20s would be partying to if they had access to Spotify, I guess?
Behold, the soundtrack for what I will henceforth refer to as Moulin Rouge Part Deux: Romeo + Juliet Do Long Island:
1. 100$ Bill -- JAY Z
2. Back To Black -- Beyoncé x André 3000
3. Bang Bang -- will.i.am
4. A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got) -- Fergie + Q Tip + GoonRock
5. Young And Beautiful -- Lana Del Rey
6. Love Is The Drug -- Bryan Ferry with The Bryan Ferry Orchestra
7. Over The Love -- Florence + The Machine
8. Where The Wind Blows -- Coco O. of Quadron
9. Crazy in Love -- Emeli Sandé and The Bryan Ferry Orchestra
10. Together – The xx
11. Hearts A Mess -- Gotye
12. Love Is Blindness – Jack White
13. Into the Past -- Nero
14. Kill and Run -- Sia
So as you can see, it is supremely authentic to the period.
I guess the 1974 Robert Redford interpretation will remain canon until somebody in the future does another interpretation and we can all lament that one and pretend this whole thing never happened.
By the way, I leave open the possibility of being totally wrong about this.
I mean, BEYONCE WILL BE COVERING AMY WINEHOUSE! How bad could that really be as an auditory experience?
And none of us have even seen the movie yet, so it’s plausible that the LED displays and 3D imagery actually add up to the kind of conspicuously consumed spectacle that would make even Gatsby himself proud. And isn’t that one of the main struggles in trying to adapt great literature? That no matter how one chooses to do it–whether a director stays hyper-close to the source material or significantly re-imagines the original concept–most people are going to find some major problem with their interpretation?
Then again, doing the over-the-top, musical extravaganza novel adaptation got old, like, a decade ago.
And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into 2002.