The old saying is that a good book makes a bad film, while a paperback potboiler like The Godfather makes a great film. But this wisdom is derived from the idea that a good book is made by the writing, and if it’s adapted into whatever, its magic is lost. As just about every (film) critique has already noted – and they’re right, if repetitive – most of what makes The Great Gatsby great is Fitzgerald’s prose. We allow the classics to get away with so much because we love the characters. But when older stories are revived for film, the issue of the past and present must be rectified. But that lack was not a function of anything missing in the actors or the general direction as much as it is a result of the passage of time, the encasing of a book in the precious container of "classic" status.
When adapting Gatsby to the big screen, the main questions Baz Luhrmann faced were: What will work? And, like Romeo and Juliet before, How do I make this older material live in a new medium for a modern audience? And somehow Luhrmann managed to be loyal to both the original text and to his contemporary audience. The jazz music of the 20s was raw and dangerous, but if Luhrmann had used that music today, it would have been a museum piece – irrelevant to mainstream and high culture alike, because they would’ve already known what’s coming.
Luhrmann’s film is his reading and adaptation of a text – his critique, if you will. Would anyone object to a production of Hamlet in outer space? Not as much as they object to the Gatsby adaptation, apparently. Maybe that’s because Gatsby is so much about a time and a place, while Shakespeare, in my mind, is more about universal ideas, ideals and feelings. Luhrmann needed to breathe life into the ephemera and aura of the 20s and that’s just what he succeeded at.
Alright, so what does this have to do with Tune Tape Tuesdays, I hear you ask. Well, the answer to that is, the MUSIC. The Great Gatsby, along with Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge have some of the most epic soundtracks in cinematic/musical history. I know I've been including tracks here and there, but I thought I'd stream the whole OST on here so y'all can recreate Gatsby in your own homes.
Alright, let's move on from The Great Gatsby for a moment or two, and bring you some unrelated music. First up is, somewhat unusually, a Dubstep track. Usually these don't feature until much further down the Tune Tape, but Leave Me by Kailo & Moralo caught my attention from the word go by using a sample from Ain't Too Proud to Beg. Classic. I have to say, they've treated the original with a lot of respect, placing embracing wobbles around the incredible vocals of The Temptations - who may not be too proud to beg, but definitely too proud to be messed with. Sorry, bad joke. All in all, they've created a pretty restrained, but powerful Dubstep track that leaves you begging for more (pun intended). Continuing on the 'reinterpretation' theme, this week Daughter released a cover of Daft Punk's huge track, Get Lucky. I heard it on its own, and have to say I didn't think much of it. Daughter have been releasing quite a few covers of late - some good, some not-so-good - and this fell in the latter category. But after a poorly-titled listing on HypeM I had a play of Pretty Pink's Edit of their cover, and really liked it - especially the inclusion of on-beat piano chords. Have a listen, and see what you think. Next up is Hiatus, with We Can Be Ghosts Now, a stripped-down Chillwave song that includes beautiful vocals from Shura (similar to the lead singer of Daughter, now I think about it). If you like a bit more Wave to your Chill, check out Tropics's new track, Courage. With soulful vocals and a sexy, swinging bassline, it's perfect for days spent lazing about in the sunshine. Increasing the tempo another notch, we have the new single Everything from Maya Jane Coles, one of my favourite artists at the moment. What I like about MJC is that they're as good live, or played in a club as they are at home or on your headphones. Very few artists are so transferable - it's a rare thing. Savour the beauty, y'feel me? Another artist of a similar style is Mount Kimbie, who this week released a collaboration with another TTT favourite, King Krule, on their track You Took Your Time. Mount Kimbie lays down a fantastic backing beat that both stands up to and masterfully accompanies the unique vocals of King Krule. This is what 'collabs' are all about. It seems like every week I'm featuring another Lana Del Rey song, but hey, she's amazing so live with it. This week she's brought out Queen of Disaster, which whilst probably not a classic like Video Games or Ride, is nevertheless daymn catchy. Enjoy that in your head for the rest of the week. You're welcome. For those that weren't content with the first serving of Dubstep this week, press play on 12th Planet & Mayhem's track, Whoops, which combines pop-style lyrics and vocals with filthy drops and wobbles. It might be one for the teenyboppers, but I reckon it's still worth a listen. See what you think. The antidote to this is next; a beautiful folk song by Badlands called Sleeping Beauty, whose vocals drift around your head and through your ears until you're completely calm, relaxed, and happy. Try it. Finally, everyone's favourite band The Weeknd have put out a few new tracks this week, including this one - Kiss Land. For me, it's a bit of a track of two halves. The first half, I really like, but then I have to sit through the second half and I begin to lose the will to live. Still, worth a mention. Until next week, y'all - and GOOD LUCK to those of you still slogging away at exams!