The Modern Soundtrack

Recently, I was asked my impression on the recent trend of using hip hop and contemporary pop music in films like The Great Gatsby and the upcoming Wolf of Wall Street. When I reflected back on the use of this music, I really didn’t have much to say because it hadn’t registered as something to be concerned with. Reactions, like with most new trends/techniques, tend to be polarized. Having seen this musical treatment in previous movies like Moulin Rouge gives it a slight history, but this is the first time that there seems to be such a widespread acknowledgment of it. From what I’ve heard, there tends to be an overall negative take on the contemporary musical treatment. However, this is to be expected and in some cases welcomed as a sign that it is a legitimate road to follow. When it really comes down to it though, it seems pretty ridiculous to pass judgement on such a wide sweeping and general pattern. Yes, Jay Z scored The Great Gatsby, and this is definitely unorthodox considering the setting and history of the story; but it should be understood that each expression must be taken individually. Just as Moulin Rouge’s aesthetic lent itself to such a wide range of modern music, so do the glamorous shots and confident nature of these two newest DiCaprio films. In my opinion, this treatment will work better in The Wolf of Wall Street than in The Great Gatsby, but the factors that play into this are very subjective and require a decision based on personal analysis. Unfortunately, the film makers have to contend with critics that will inevitably negatively target the changes to traditional standards.