Although The Great Gatsby takes place in the '20s, the genuine anticipation for its soundtrack is more like a throwback to 1997. But this album—which is streaming at NPR in full—is no ordinary movie soundtrack.
Not only did it cause a bit of a controversy before it was even released—Beyonce & Andre 3000's Amy Winehouse cover made her father Mitch publicly wail and gnash his teeth—but it features a new Jay-Z jam, Jack White covering U2 and plenty of other highlights.
Florence + the Machine stick to their strengths on the heartfelt, bombastic "Over the Love," while Bryan Ferry turns in an era-faithful remake of Roxy Music's "Love is the Drug." Lana Del Rey and The xx deliver subdued, strong songs as well.
But Fergie's attempt to mash 1922 with 2013 is the album's boldest track, which haters may be surprised to learn is not an embarrassment. She surrounds her jazzy vocal delivery of "A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)" with pounding electronic wub-wubs that make her tune sound as suited to the film as for the club.
Even Jay-Z's contribution leans toward the past, although he doesn't quite reach as far back to the Jazz Age. "100$ Bill" nods toward the '80s with its 8-Bit bleeps and brittle beat, while his lyrics call back to the '50s with a Jackie Gleason/Honeymooners shout-out. But don't hold it against Jay. After all, in 2013, everything pre-rock n' roll is essentially the same, right? Right!?
Stream the album in its entirety over at NPR and get ready for its vinyl release via Jack White's Third Man Records. Which is cool, but c'mon, Jack: If you want to be true to the era, you should really be releasing the Gatsby soundtrack on shellac.