The A Star Is Born soundtrack accompanies Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, starring Lady Gaga. Only one of these names is familiar to me as an established singer, yet both performers’ contributions to the soundtrack are brilliant.
The album begins with Cooper’s gruff country has-been Jackson Maine’s ‘Black Eyes’ and its intense thumping beat opening the film; perfectly encapsulating Maine’s character. It’s impossible to separate the music from the film, yet each song stands on its own merit as a solid track. The contrast between Maine’s heavier performances and Ally’s (Lady Gaga) pop-infused ‘Heal Me’ and ‘Look What I Found’ are brought together by the duets between the two. ‘Shallow’, the lead single and most recognisable from the film’s trailer, brings together Cooper’s softer capabilities and Gaga’s incredible belting ability at its chorus. The lyrics, although certainly crafted for the film’s narrative, are nevertheless relatable outside the premise of the plotline. Many of the lyrics throughout focus on longing, the power of change and the pair’s deep connection; universal feelings which would make many of these songs pop successes individually.
As a chronological journey through the film’s narrative of Maine’s struggle with sobriety whilst Ally’s stardom rises, the album hits every note. Ally’s style shifts with her fame, but the track listing allows the listener to flit between her piano-driven, emotional ballads and her light-hearted upbeat hits. Despite my bias towards Gaga’s features, Cooper’s work on ‘Out of Time’ and its transition into ‘Alibi’ excited me too. Within the film this plays in the background as Ally is rushed backstage during Maine’s performance, creating incredible atmosphere and anticipation that had me tapping my foot in the cinema. For me, it captures the rush of being amongst many festival-goers waiting as your favourite artist hypes up the crowd with their long musical introduction before the iconic first lyrics are sung, and all tension is relieved.
A Star Is Born has been on repeat for me ever since I saw the film both a rarity for me (even as a musical lover) and a true testament to its excellence. My only complaint? That Ally’s album isn’t real, because I need a copy – stat.