After collecting a reverent and respectful collection of song's for his 2008 film Australia, The Great Gatsby is an opportunity for director Baz Luhrmann to get back to the glitz, garish, and campy ways that made his earlier soundtracks Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge such delights. What made them delicious was how smart and savvy they were under all that glittery make-up. With Jay-Z and the Bullitts as executive producers, Luhrmann's soundtrack to his lavish adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous 1925 novel is smart, savvy, and more than just a Jazz Age-meets-iPod Age mash-up, although sometimes, it is just the latter, like when will.i.am makes the Charleston flappers go electro with his entirely obvious and irresistibly fun "Bang Bang." Cute to hear Bryan Ferry doing the Roxy Music rag with his "and the Orchestra"'s take on "Love Is the Drug", and while the Fergie, Q-Tip, and GoonRock cut called "A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)" is the film's fireworks exploding with posterity, decadence, and disco, many of the soundtrack's meatier cuts are post-explosion and post-paradise. Meatiest and most surprising has to be the Lana Del Rey and Luhrmann composition "Young and Beautiful" ("Will you still love me when I have nothing but my aching soul?"), but Fitzgerald fans could make a case for the tortured and "green light"-referencing "Over the Love" from Florence + the Machine. Elsewhere, there's Beyoncé and André 3000's icy cold reading of Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black," the xx offering intimate and indie chamber music with "Together," and Sia's wonderful closer "Kill and Run," an elegant ballad which is tossed about the sea before it crashes on the rocks. Buying into Luhrmann's vision is always the issue, but here, the music is crafted enough, inspired enough, and deep enough that it's worth diving into without reservations. Luckily, you can wring all that disappointment and despair out of your fine, stylish suit after surfacing.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries