A Star is Born – Soundtrack – Album Review

I bought this on a 2LP Deluxe Edition vinyl for my daughter the week before it was actually released.  Not sure how we were able to do that, but there it was so we bought it.  I have to say it is one sensational package as you get a lot for your money which isn’t always the case. There are 34 tracks, but only 19 actual songs (which is still a lot).  The other tracks are little snippets from the movie.  So without seeing the movie myself, I know the movie pretty well now as the soundtrack follows the storyline.

The movie stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga and follows the story of an aging country singer (Bradley) and he meets this young woman (Gaga) and loves her singing voice and her as it turns out.  Her star goes up while his falls and the movie tells the story of how that impacts their relationship.  I won’t spoil it for you.  The movie is also Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut.  Oh yeah, he sings and writes some of the songs too.  Impressive.

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The songs were written by both Bradley and Lady Gaga as well as contributions from many other artists include DJ White Shadow, Lukas Nelson, Mark Ronson, Jason Isbell, Diane Warren and Andrew Wyatt (Miike Snow) to just name a few.  I have to say, musically the album sounded great with some stellar session musicians taking the rein.

The songs consist of songs strictly by Bradley Cooper, some by Lady Gaga and then a bunch of duets between the two of them.  We will start off with Bradley’s songs since the album starts mostly with his songs.

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Bradley Cooper’s character Jack’s music is mostly a hybrid of country and rock and he sounds amazing.  I really dug these songs.  The opening track, “Black Eyes” completely rocks out and then “Maybe It’s Time” is one of the best songs on the album.  A really powerful, emotional song with a strong message.

And then when you get to “Alibi” it is pure country and more outlaw type country… you know…the good stuff.  One of the best songs from the character is actually the instrumental song “Out of Time” which has some damn fine guitar work.  Any rocker will love this one.  And lastly, you have “Too Far Gone” is a country ballad and although a good song is my least favorite of his.  It is missing the rock edge of all the others he did, but the song fits the story and that is what matters.  Did you know Bradley Cooper can sing!  He does a fantastic job.

Lady Gaga’s character has a ton of songs that are solos.  She gets 9 to Bradley’s 4 vocal songs.  The first one of Lady Gaga’s is where the character Jack meets Ally in a Drag Bar with her singing the Edith Pilaf song “La Vie En Rose” (a french song, perfect for a drag bar).  She does sound amazing and you can see why Jack falls in love with that voice.

With the rest of her songs, you have two kind.  You have the pop songs where her character becomes a big pop star and all these songs kinda suck because they lack the personality and emotion that the rest of the songs have.  They are pure modern, electronica, pop songs with some heavy bass at times.  Ok, I kinda liked “Heal Me”, and maybe a “Why Did You Do That?” but don’t tell anyone. If you like Lady’ Gaga’s old pop sound this would closely resemble that.

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The Lady Gaga songs that have deep meaning to the characters and are more personal, those are the songs you feel and can connect with.  Starting with “Always Remember Me This Way” and “Is That Alright?” which is a beautiful piano ballad and her voice shines.  Then you get “Before I Cry” which is a bombastic love song with so much power when it builds up to its climax.

And the final song on the album is the emotionally sad song, “I’ll Never Love Again” which breaks your heart and that is the sign of a good song.  This is the reason I love Lady Gaga and what she can do vocally.  There are two versions of this song with one including Bradley at the end, but I won’t spoil it by saying anything more about that version.

The songs with both Bradley and Lady Gaga singing are hit and miss.  The two sound wonderful together and play nicely off each other, but not all of the songs work.  The single “Shallow” is one of the best songs and Lady Gaga shows off her true vocal talent.  The acoustic opening notes and Bradley’s vocals that will lead into Lady Gaga and later she has the big moment of her soaring vocals and power she shows that the crowd goes nuts.  I know it is a movie, but with her that would really happen.

The next duet, “Music to My Eyes”, was a miss for me.  Kinda lame and I just didn’t feel it.  But with the next song, “Diggin’ My Grave” which a good country, bluesy little rock song brought the excitement back.  The last real duet on the album is “I Don’t Know What Love Is” was another one I couldn’t get in to myself.

Now that is all on the songs, back to the packaging.  The album also came with 10 postcard size pictures from the album. A nice added feature that add some value to the album.

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The songs are interspersed with scenes from the movie and there is one called “Twelve Notes” that has the great Sam Elliott discussing the twelve notes in music and I have to say I really enjoyed that little clip.  It is really deep and meaningful (especially in the context of the movie).

I guess I need to rate the album.  I am only basing the track score off the 19 songs, so let’s score those.

Songs:

  1. Black Eyes – Keeper (Bradley Cooper – BC)
  2. La Vie en Rose – Keeper – (Lady Gaga – LG)
  3. Maybe It’s Time – Keeper (BC)
  4. Out of Time – Keeper (BC)
  5. Alibi – Keeper (BC)
  6. Shallow – Keeper (Both)
  7. Music to My Eyes – Delete (Both)
  8. Diggin’ My Grave – Keeper (Both)
  9. Always Remember Us This Way – Keeper (LG)
  10. Look What I Found – Delete (LG)
  11. Heal Me – Keeper/Delete (kinda liked it – so 1/2 point) (LG)
  12. I Don’t Know What Love Is – Delete (Both)
  13. Is That Alright? – Keeper (LG)
  14. Why Did You Do That? – Keeper/Delete (kinda liked it – so 1/2 point) (LG)
  15. Hair Body Face – Delete (LG)
  16. Before I Cry – Keeper (LG)
  17. Too Far Gone – Delete (BC)
  18. I’ll Never Love Again (Film Version) – Keeper (Both)
  19. I’ll Never Love Again (Extended Version – Keeper (LG)

The track score is 13 out of 19 tracks which is 68%.  But let me tell you these songs that are keepers are so damn good.  The album overall album and packaging is really great as well and as a result I will give it a 4.25 of 5.0 stars because it will get and has gotten a lot of repeat listens.  The songs that I listed as delete aren’t bad, just not my favorites and won’t stop me from listening to it down the road.  If you don’t see the movie, the soundtrack is worth a listen. Give it a try.  Hell, Bradley Cooper alone is going to be a pleasant surprise because we already know Lady Gaga can sing.

Thanks and let me know what you think if you have heard it or seen the movie.

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17 thoughts on “A Star is Born – Soundtrack – Album Review

  1. Nothing gets past your radar John. Best thing about what you wrote is that you bought this for your daughter. Nothing like hanging out with the kids and snapping up Vinyl!
    This soundtrack is not my cup of tea but I’m glad you and your daughter are digging it as well as the movie…
    Great Job!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. To echo what Deke has already said, while this isn’t one that interests me, it’s great that you and your daughter can bond over some music. Nothing better than that when you’re mad about music.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure she will. I still fondly remember sitting watching old westerns and TV like Land of the Giants, Star Trek, Bonanza, and Lost in Space with my brother and old man at the weekend. Things we shared that we enjoyed. Stuck with me.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Good question – it would be a close one for me, there’s drug use, swearing, implied sex (you do get to see Lady G’s nipple at one point) and mental issues. Difficult to give a blanket yes, or no. I think it would depend on how well you think your little one would react to some fairly mature themes.

        Liked by 1 person

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