A Star Is Born sound­track a five-star marvel


The sound­track to A Star Is

Born is no slim thing, thank good­ness. It con­tains a whop­ping 34 tracks, mostly due to the in­clu­sion of brief snatches of songs, di­a­logues or in­ter­ludes. It will put fans back into the film in a vis­ceral way. Haven’t seen it yet? With this al­bum, you may not need to.

The lat­est film in­car­na­tion of the doomed love af­fair be­tween two singer­song­writ­ers — one on the way up, the other down — has plenty of buzz thanks to its stars, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. But the sound­track is proof that it de­serves it. From bluesy rock to coun­try to bub­ble gum pop, the 19 orig­i­nal songs are var­ied and ad­dic­tive. We knew Lady Gaga was ca­pa­ble of great things, but Cooper’s mu­si­cal­ity is a won­der. We of­ten make fun of ac­tors who long to be rock stars, but Cooper shows real skill in front of the mi­cro­phone.

The sound­track is chrono­log­i­cal and, of course, in­cludes Gaga’s per­for­mance of Edith Piaf’s clas­sic La Vie

En Rose, which is her star turn mo­ment when Cooper’s char­ac­ter dis­cov­ers her in a cabaret. And it naturally has the huge tear­ful fi­nale, I’ll

Never Love Again — ac­tu­ally it has an ex­tended cut of that as well, if you have enough han­kies at home.

But a film about the power of mu­sic needs to have lots of it and the sound­track in­cludes vir­tu­ally ev­ery note heard on­screen, in­clud­ing

blis­ter­ing gui­tar in­stru­men­tals (Out of Time), duets (in­clud­ing the bluesy Al­ibi, the coun­try Mu­sic to My Eyes and the soft rocker I Don’t Know What Love Is),

and even di­a­logue about mu­sic (the minute-long

Twelve Notes speech de­liv­ered by Sam El­liott).

In many ways, the film’s tra­jec­tory can be boiled down to its first break­out hit,

Shal­low, co-writ­ten by Mark Ron­son. It starts in a folky vein with Cooper alone, then be­comes a duet with Cooper and Gaga be­fore end­ing with her tak­ing it over, belt­ing out the lyrics in a glam-rock style. (Gaga first singing it to Cooper in a park­ing lot is nicely in­cluded on the CD in an ear­lier snip­pet.) Like that song, the whole sound­track starts with Cooper’s blues and rock and ends with Gaga go­ing full Gaga.

Other high­lights in­clude

the sear­ing rock cut Black Eyes, the coun­try bal­lad

Al­ways Re­mem­ber Us This Way, the burn­ing Diggin’ My Grave, the Brit­ney Spears-ish

Hair Body Face, the moody

club banger Heal Me and the

sim­ple, beau­ti­ful Too Far


In ad­di­tion to Cooper and Gaga, who also co-wrote most of the tunes, some other names jump out on the al­bum, in­clud­ing Lukas Nel­son (son of Wil­lie Nel­son), who is cred­ited with co-writ­ing a slew of songs for both stars. Diane War­ren co-wrote Why Did You Do

That? while fre­quent Gaga col­lab­o­ra­tor DJ White Shadow co-wrote and co-pro­duced six of her new songs.

And for those of you with not enough Alec Bald­win in your lives, re­joice — he’s there, in a tiny au­dio ex­cerpt as a Satur­day Night Live host. There’s a good chance he could win a Grammy for ut­ter­ing four words. There’s no way this al­bum won’t be in con­tention.

Var­i­ous ArtistsA Star Is Born — Orig­i­nal Mo­tion Pic­ture Sound­track(In­ter­scope Records)

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