Monday, May 13, 2013

Borne Back Ceaselessly Into the Past

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby 

"Hip hop was not around in the 1920's," a reviewer sniffs in a dismissal of the soundtrack to the new film version of The Great Gatsby.  "They just ruined the film."

The use of contemporary popular music in a film that takes place in 1922 doesn't offend me.  I reckon that today's versions of the title character would listen to Jay-Z, BeyoncĂ© and Kanye West.  Had the filmmakers elected to present a soundtrack that's true to the setting, however, some of the selections would likely have originated in Kansas City.

The Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra's swanky "Oriental Love Dreams" would complement a dance scene.  And hip attendees of Gatsby's parties would probably have been aware of Bennie Moten.  The rowdy rendition of "Evil Mama Blues" with Ada Brown evokes all kinds of unlawful sin.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

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