Tag Archives: Jack White

Great Expectations Fulfilled: Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” Soundtrack

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-Emily Fraysse

Director Baz Luhrmann has become infamous in the cinematic world for reworking, rejuvenating, and remixing old songs into a refreshing rendition. His latest film, The Great Gatsby, is no exception.

On May 2, the entire album was leaked to the public for listening-only. Combining an all-star collection of artists like Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Florence and the Machine, Jack White, The xx, and Fergie, the album captures the fame and glory of the main character, Jay Gatsby, and the over-the-top ragers he throws at his mansion in New York City during the roaring ’20s. The book, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, states that, “the tempo of the city had changed sharply. The buildings were higher, the parties were bigger, the morals were looser and the liquor was cheaper. The restlessness approached hysteria.” The soundtrack reflects this imagery.

Luhrmann’s post-modernistic style leaves the soundtrack with a juxtaposition of classic jazz and current styles of rap, pop, and hip-hop. NPR explains that by, “distilling the essence of the Jazz Age though never completely reflecting it, this soundtrack is as much an event as is the film that inspired it.”

This left many people in the NPR community and beyond disappointed because of the lack of the traditional Jazz music that was the epitome of that era. So, why did Luhrmann stray away from period music? Don’t get me wrong—there’s a bit of the ’20s sprinkled through a few of the songs. In the text, Fitzgerald makes references to jazz-influenced pop songs that capture the amplification of the parties Gatsby throws and the lusciousness of his filthy-rich lifestyle. The soundtrack portrays the period of music that we are in right now—the “hip-hop age.” The mixture of talented artists, ranging from rap to alternative, exemplify how hip-hop is deeply embedded in rock and dance music. With the juxtaposition of the roaring twenties period shown on the screen, the viewers get to feel the impact of modern-day music, just as Fitzgerald did for the readers of his novel when it was published in 1925.

The question is: will the work of a variety of artists reflect the work of this brilliant writer, or will it take away from the film? I guess we’ll have to wait and see when the film opens May 10.

Grade: A-

Image from http://last.fm.

The Epic Journey of an Accidental Sports Anthem: “Seven Nation Army”

-Casey Klekas

I should have been doing homework. I was watching sports on a friend’s computer, instead. F.C. Bayern Munich was playing F.C. Barcelona and after each of Bayern’s four goals played the song “Seven Nation Army.” Since its release in 2003 that song has become a global sports anthem. How did that happen?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Picture, if you can, a band of Belgians drinking beer. The year is 2003 and the sport is football (not the one with pads and pigskin and Peyton Manning). The Belgians were in hostile Italian territory to support their own F.C. Brugge against A.C. Milan. Legend has it, the Belgians were boozing up in a local pub, numbing the pain of an expected loss, when The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army came on the jukebox. If you haven’t heard the song or you ain’t got no soul, you should beware its invigorating effects, especially when played on drink-sodden ears. Soon, the Belgians were singing in the streets, beckoning the power of a Jack White guitar riff as they marched into the football stadium. F.C. Brugge pulled off a very unlikely victory, and “Seven Nation Army” followed them home as a lucky charm.

Three years later, Brugge blasted the song while hosting A.S. Roma in a UEFA Cup game. They lost to a triumphant soundtrack. However, “Seven Nation Army” made its way back to Italy where it was adopted as something of a national theme song. Italy went on to win that year’s World Cup and “Seven Nation Army” blared over the ensuing Roman riots. Asked about his song’s sports success, Jack White said, “I am honored that the Italians have adopted this song as their own. Nothing is more beautiful than when people embrace a melody and allow it to enter the pantheon of folk music. As a songwriter, it is something impossible to plan, especially in modern times. I love that most people who are chanting it have no idea where it came from. That’s folk music.”

America reclaimed the song later in 2006. Inspired by the events in Europe, the song started playing in college stadiums around the country. I always knew where “Seven Nation Army” came from. As a matter of fact, it was the first song I ever bought on iTunes. I guess I just didn’t know where it had been.

My Weekend with Sasquatch: Day 2 Recap

-Mike Munoz

Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein perform skits from Portlandia at the Banana Shack

The crowd dances along to beats by Grynch at the Maine Stage

The Dum Dum Girls perform at the Bigfoot Stage

Tune-Yards perform at the Bigfoot Stage

Coeur de Pirate performs at the Yeti Stage

St. Vincent performs at the Bigfoot Stage

Jack White performs at the Main Stage

The Year of the Sasquatch

-Mike Munoz

It’s that magical time of the year, when the Sasquatch! Music Festival line-up is revealed, giving us music junkies approximately 112 days to obsessively research each and every one of the 114 bands and comedians who will be there. But hey, who’s counting?

In past years Sasquatch has had some great line-ups, but has missed out on some of the bigger artists that play festivals such as Coachella and Bonnaroo. And this is mainly because Sasquatch tries really hard to maintain its indie/ alternative rock roots. But this year festival organizers have proven they can stick to their roots and still compete with the big boys.

Two of the biggest acts revealed last night were Jack White and Beck. White recently announced that his debut solo album, Blunderbuss, will drop in April, so it makes sense that he would be touring in the spring. But I would never in a million years imagine him playing at the Gorge.  I was also very excited to see Beck in the line-up, but surprised considering he hasn’t released anything since his 2008 album, Modern Guilt. Regardless, both of these artists were huge gets for Sasquatch, and last I checked neither is playing Coachella.

The line-up will also feature big names such as Bon Iver, who is fresh off a few Grammy nominations for their self-titled sophomore album. Sasquatch has also grabbed a couple of DJs and techno artists to satisfy the needs of those who love to dance and rave into the night. Both Pretty Lights and Girl Talk have played Sasquatch recently; however this will be their first times playing on the main stage.

Sasquatch also picked up some great comedic acts. Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein will bring a little slice of Portlandia to the Gorge, performing songs and sketches from their show. Brownstein will have a busy weekend as she will also perform with her punk band, Wild Flag. I was also very surprised to see Tenacious D on the line-up, but got excited thinking of the possibility of a Jack White and Jack Black duet. Sasquatch will also feature comedian Nick Kroll, whom some of you may know as Ruxin from the popular TV show The League.

While I was very happy with the Sasquatch line-up, there were a couple of names I was surprised to see left of the list. For the second year in a row, Sasquatch has missed out on booking The Black Keys. But if you really have to see the blues rock duo from Ohio, their tour hits Portland and Seattle in early May. I was also surprised by the absence of Florence + the Machine considering the duo is confirmed for Coachella and will be touring to promote their latest album, Ceremonials. That being said, the line-up seems to be just fine without them.

The bottom line is that Sasquatch has a stacked line-up that even festivals like Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo will have a hard time competing with. It has a great set of headliners in Jack White, Beck, Bon Iver and Pretty Lights, and I didn’t even mention The Shins, The Roots, Feist, Metric and Explosions in the Sky are also booked to perform. According to the Chinese calendar, 2012 is the year of the Dragon. But after seeing the line-up for Memorial Day Weekend, 2012 may be remembered as the year of the Sasquatch.

Follow Mike at @MikeMunoz12