Things were pretty hairy there for awhile in Florida, in fact they basically went straight to hell, but now I’m home on a brief break before Germany and ready to bring you another round of
In the interest of timeliness and inspiration, this week I’ve chosen
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Baz Luhrmann is one of my favorite directors (sharing the title with Danny Boyle). He takes a mighty swing with every film, and even if he doesn’t quite hit the target it’s still a spectacular effort to behold. I particularly enjoy the ways he plays with music on his soundtracks, and that’s what inspired me to pick Gatsby this week. It’s a rich American tale of spectacle, status, and accumulation confused with love. The songs I’ve chosen and the order I’ve put them in reflects the whiplash narrative of a novel that swings from flashy to morose, breezy to desolate and back without stopping for breath.
1. Glam! Electro Swing Remix – Dimie Cat
It all looks like one big party to onlooker Nick Carraway, the biggest party. A jazz-age explosion of beautiful people with the most expensive trappings spilling from neighbor Gatsby’s house. It’s alluring, and he is soon swept into orbit around Gatsby’s planet.
2. Cooler Than Me – Mike Posner
Jay Gatsby puts on a good show, but at the end of the day his planet orbits around its own star: Daisy Buchanan. Every ounce of spectacle is calculated to catch her eye and draw her near.
3. Money – Flying Lizards
The detached delivery of the lyric echoes the way that all of the money folks in the world of Gatsby interact with the world around them. The green is what it all comes back to: who has it, and for how long.
4. Puttin’ On the Ritz (Club Des Belugas Remix) – Fred Astaire
If money’s what it takes to win Daisy Buchanan, Gatsby’ll get it all and flash it around.
5. Can’t Stay Away From You – Gloria Estefan
There’s a lot of this going around in Gatsby: Jay Gatsby can’t stay away from Daisy, Daisy is herself drawn toward Gatsby and his intensity, and so is everyone else. Especially Nick Carraway, who follows him all the way down his own personal rabbit hole.
6. Aicha – Cheb Khaleb
A yearning song about a man who has devoted the whole of his life to pleasing one woman, who passes by as though he did not even exist.
7. The “In” Crowd – Bryan Ferry
The weirdly sinister delivery of this version puts me in mind of the latter half of Gatsby, when Nick Carraway begins to see how empty and low this glitzy world really is. Rich and bored, slumming with working-class girls and renting hotel rooms for an icy bath on a hot day.
8. It’s My Life – No Doubt
As Daisy’s ambivalence becomes more apparent, Gatsby’s frustration grows. He’s bet the house on her and it’s barely turned her head.
9. Sideways – Citizen Cope
Having sailed by no star other than the green light at the end of the Buchanans’ dock, Gatsby is left adrift when his gamble doesn’t pay off.