Once part of a renowned collection of infamous novels, The Great Gatsby has evolved into a global phenomenon, revolutionizing the meaning behind classic American literature and vastly outlasting its humble beginnings. Baz Luhrmann modernizes the environment surrounding prohibition, the Jazz Age, as well as the pursuit of the American Dream through his recent adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 fictional story following the lives of adults consumed by an avidity for excess, idealism, and the social climbing cataclysm of that time. Audiences have come to recognize this film to be far from our grandparents’ Gatsby, but rather a transformed spectacle, roaring with sensuality and modernity from its vivid visual effects to its cinematic soundtrack. The music of the film is easily the main feature in updating the roaring 20’s from the outdated Jazz orchestras of trombones and trumpets into orchestrated beats as musicians such as, Will.i.am spew rap over jazzed up pulses in “Bang Bang” and Beyonce and Andre 3000 hypnotize listeners through their sexy and sultry rendition of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black." Responsible for bringing together some of the boldest frontrunners in pop and hip-hop, Jay-Z creates a phenomenal musical sequence featuring a variety of artists, from Florence + the Machine to Fergie and even recording his own track right alongside them. His rap anthem of “$100 bills” is money in itself as Jay-Z’s words not only flow seamlessly over the drumming thumps and jazz echoes that play in the background, but showcase his abilities as a lyricist. Yet Jay- Z is not the only frontrunner. Lana Del Rey stunningly captures the love affair of Daisy and Gatsby through her song, "Young & Beautiful," whisking the audience into a whimsical, yet eerie matter of the past that plights their future through her sensual vocals. Similarly, Florence Welch overpowers the meaning of the Green Light in her potent vocal performance of “Over the Love”.
The bass swaggering instants and beat thumping moments throughout the film lull the audience, making them feel as though they too are flapping around in fringe jeweled mini-dresses and clinking their scotch filled glasses against their companion’s. And while many reviews claim that the soundtrack is “Borne Back Ceaselessly into Failure” in taking away from the nostalgia or centrality of Nick Carraway’s tale, it is the fresh voices that give way to the sounds of the film that ultimately provide The Great Gatsby with its current flavor after all. Although the story of Gatsby and Daisy has continued to play on repeat over the course of decades past, it is Jay-Z’s production of gifted engaging musicians juxtaposed with womps and pulsating rhythms throughout, which leaves listeners tuning in again and again as the soundtrack beats on.