Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Signature Song: The Great Gatsby

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at Movies with Abe. Original songs in films certainly add to the overall experience of going to or watching a movie, whether they play over the end credits or during a particular scene during the movie. There is an Oscar category to recognize the Best Original Song of each year, and this feature will aim to spotlight one terrific song that defined a movie but didn’t end up getting nominated. Submissions are welcome – offer your thoughts on this song and others like it in the comments below!

Song: Young and Beautiful
Artist: Lana Del Rey
Film: The Great Gatsby
Year: 2013

Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel is full of excess in so many ways, and it’s fitting that its most memorable song is one that talks about age, attractiveness, and the impossibility of it lasting. This is just one of a few songs in the film, including “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody,” that feel extremely anachronistic, making this 1925 story spring to life with more modern yet still dated music that energizes the already roaring melodies of the 1920s. There’s something about Lana Del Rey’s soft voice that makes this young incredibly haunting, pleading to be able to “bring her man” when she “gets to heaven” and asking “Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?” That’s really what the film is about, as the allure of Gatsby’s parties are the fact that they are so lavish and productive, yet when he is no longer there to run them, it’s as if they never existed at all. Competing against “Let It Go” from “Frozen,” this song was never going to win the Oscar, but it at least deserved a nomination alongside the film’s other two recognized qualities, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. Del Rey followed up this up with the title theme from “Big Eyes,” which got nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song in 2014, but that song, while still haunting, wasn’t nearly as effective or positively memorable. This tune, on the other hand, is sure to be remembered long after the film in which it first played.

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