A soundtrack is born

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A soundtrack is born

(Courtesy of A Star is Born Official Facebook Page)

(Courtesy of A Star is Born Official Facebook Page)

(Courtesy of A Star is Born Official Facebook Page)

(Courtesy of A Star is Born Official Facebook Page)

By Cassandra McGrath, Collegian Staff

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“A Star is Born” hit the box office and cleared $100 million in 12 days. The film is a remake of David O. Selznick’s original 1937 version, starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. In 1954, it was remade starring Judy Garland and James Mason, then it was remade again in 1976 with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson in the leading roles. Each film is a more modern interpretation on a classic story. A famous, misunderstood man falls in love with an unknown, but very talented, woman. The woman rises to fame as the man falls into failure and despair. Each remake created a new soundtrack, fitting with the music of the decade.

The 2018 version of “A Star is Born” reinvented Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in our eyes. Gaga, known for her unique outfits and larger-than-life performance style, has rarely been seen as more than a pop artist. In more recent years the “Born this Way” singer used her platform to speak out about important political issues and even sang duets with Tony Bennett. Gaga’s rise to acting received a considerable amount of attention for her role in “American Horror Story.” Fans had mixed reviews about her performance, but when she took to the big screen for “A Star is Born,” she became the obvious choice for the role.

Cooper plays the role of a rock legend. The movie opens with his song, “Black Eyes,” a classic hard rock tune, reminding me a bit of Black Sabbath. The song is a big opener for the movie, drawing in the audience with Cooper’s deep and powerful voice. The band playing instrumentals in this song is the same that played for Neil Young, which becomes apparent in the guitar riff of the song.

Cooper takes the mic again for, “Maybe It’s Time.” This tune has a bit of a folk sound to it, with meaningful lyrics, relating to the movie itself. The instrumentals are soft but detailed, maintaining a beautifully-written pricking of the guitar. This song is great for any fans of  the Zac Brown Band. “Out of Time” is next on the soundtrack, which is a song consisting only of instrumentals. This is used as a transition in the soundtrack, but on its own, it is a great guitar solo. Soon after, “Alibi” hits the audience’s ears, which is another excellent classic rock-sounding tune with another great guitar riff. After this song, we get a full sense of Jackson Maine, Bradley Cooper’s character, and his style of rock. When listening to “Alibi,” it almost feels as though you have heard the song before. Cooper blows the audience away with his first three tunes.

“Shallow” is the lead single of the soundtrack and a song many people have fallen in love with since the film’s release. This track is Cooper and Gaga’s first duet of the movie. The introduction of the song is consistent with the guitar instrumentals audience members are now used to behind Cooper’s voice. Gaga comes in for the second verse, her voice as beautiful and tuned as always. At this point, some strings join the background of the music. This was a great touch and fills out the song wonderfully. There is also a live feel to the tune where the listener can hear the audience cheering in the back of the singing, making everything feel much more real and as if you have floor seats to witness the rising stardom of Gaga’s character with your own ears.

When Gaga hits the bridge of the song, she brings it up an octave and really goes for it. I had chills the first few times I heard her do this. The instrumental is simple, but it fulfills all of the desires of the audience. As the rest of the band comes in, Cooper and Gaga begin their harmonies and stretch out the word ‘Shallow,’ creating an intimate feel between the artists. Overall, the song is a smash and has now hit the radio on pop stations. A year ago, it seems impossible that we would be listening to Cooper on Kiss 108, but as the director and co-star of the film, he blows us out of the water.

“Music to my Eyes” is up next, which narrates Cooper and Gaga’s love story in its early stages. It is a romantic tune, and its sound is consistent with the rest of the album. This song has some of the best lyrics in the whole movie. It is a soft and easy tune and the second duet for Gaga and Cooper. Once again, she blows it out of the park, and the couple’s harmonies are heartwarming.

Another romantic hit from the soundtrack is “Always Remember Us This Way,” a solo performance for Gaga. This is the first song Gaga really comes into her own and shows off her voice. This is one of my favorite tracks off the album.

Gaga is at it again next for “Look What I Found;” a catchy, smooth tune. It feels like it was hand-picked off of Lady Gaga’s “Joanne” album. It has a bit of a jazzy feel and is one of the more fun songs on the soundtrack.

The last song on the album is, “I’ll Never Love Again,”one of the most heart-wrenching songs I have ever heard. Gaga’s vocals are perfect and the lyrics will bring you to tears, especially while watching the movie due to its storyline infused with intense emotion. It is a timeless ballad and a great way to sum up the movie.

Cassie McGrath can be reached at [email protected].