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Album Review: ‘A Star Is Born’ Original Soundtrack

You almost don’t need to watch the movie to understand what’s happening on the soundtrack.

Romané Salazar

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On October 5, 2018 the fourth remake of the 1937 film A Star Is Born was released in theaters, and along with it, a powerful journey through music.

In this reboot of A Star is Born — starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga — singer-songwriter Ally is discovered by country-rock artist Jackson “Jack” Maine. Instantly, almost instinctively, these two become as connected to each other as the audience becomes to their music. Their passion to each other is embedded in each lyric, making for a truly remarkable soundtrack. 

Cooper found himself as a musician in this album.

Making his directional debut, he is proving himself a worthy director, actor, and a phenomenal musician.

Cooper spent two years developing his own musical voice in order to discover what type of musician he would create with Maine. 

Gaga, on the other hand, has been in the music industry for years. She’s an incredible performer whether she’s singing pop, moving the world with a piano ballad, or irocking a duet.

She shows her musical diversity on A Star is Born through pop songs like “Why Did You Do That?” to her entrancing rendition of “La Vie En Rose.” Gaga’s commitment to songwriting gives the character Ally a depth that only she could create. This passion echoes in “I’ll Never Love Again,” where Gaga’s emotion can be heard until her final breath.  

It’s ironic, of course, that Bradley plays the veteran musician and Gaga the undiscovered talent, but the soundtrack proves Bradley has been an undiscovered talent for years. Still, Gaga’s ability to capture an audience is incomparable, her voice quakes with emotion everytime.

The album has a mixture of pop, rock, indie vibes that are sprinkled throughout the album. Songs like “Black Eyes” and “Diggin’ my Grave” are classic rock songs that wouldn’t sound out of place at a Florida Georgia Line concert. Cooper notes that, “If I had another year of prep, it would have been complete rock, but now it’s some sort of hybrid.” 

It’s interesting how literal the album is.

You almost don’t need to watch the movie to understand what’s happening on the soundtrack. The decision to include dialogue steers the narrative in a clear direction. However, for this reason the dialogue becomes extra anecdotes that is unnecessary in an album. Unless the listener is going to listen to each song in chronological order, it has no place especially if you’ve seen the film. If you haven’t, it takes you out of mood and disrupts the mood. 

A Star is Born may have not existed in the form it eventually took if anyone else had taken up the opportunity to work on this project. To name a few, Beyonce was approached as the lead, Clint Eastwood as the director, as well as Will Smith as a costar. 

Imagine if this album had been a hip-hop based album? That decision would have directly impacted the entirety of the film.

This album fully embodies the cinematic masterpiece. The film moves in time through montage, and in turn, these songs not only move the story forward, but bring it to life. The narrative is clear, and thanks to Cooper and Gaga, the message is beautiful, even heart breaking. 

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Romané graduated from St. John’s University in Queens, New York with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Photojournalism and a minor in International Studies. Romané has since moved from the east coast all the way to sunny Los Angeles where she now works at Burke Williams Day Spa. Always an overachiever, she was promoted in six months to management. While a job with great perks, Romané is diving back into her photojournalism roots and likes to write, take photos at Disneyland, and drive to Malibu in her free time. Check out her sister-run Instagram for more Disney magic: @thesalazarsistas

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