Picture this: A single spotlight illuminates the Dolby Theatre stage, on which a regal-looking Lady Gaga belts out a prolonged note. It is the 91st Academy Awards ceremony, and several cameras point to the songstress — so that us regular folk can witness the glory from our living rooms — save for one intended to capture Bradley Cooper’s emotional reactions. Or maybe the newly minted director stands beside her as the two perform a duet from “A Star Is Born,” his remake of a now thrice-remade movie and one that he says he spent nearly three years preparing to film.
Will something like this happen? Maybe! While “A Star Is Born” seems boldly on track to either be a masterpiece or a complete disaster, the attention it has received ahead of its Venice Film Festival premiere Friday is undeniable. Robert De Niro called the film “terrific,” a prematurely published review posted on Talkhouse.net deemed it “the most impressive directorial debut by an actor since Robert Redford’s Ordinary People, ” and someone on the Internet already made a Pokémon joke out of Gaga’s singing in the trailer. Yes, memes count as buzz.
By the time Interscope Records released the tracklist for the soundtrack Thursday, we knew to expect a whole lot of Gaga (obviously) and a whole lot of Cooper (slightly less obvious!), the latter of whom took singing lessons for the role. His buddy De Niro said the hard work paid off — hopefully, because the entire soundtrack was reportedly recorded live! — but we won’t find out for sure until Oct. 5, the wide release date of both the album and film. Until then, we must pore over a tracklist that lays out the entire plot of the movie: Cooper plays Jackson Maine, a veteran country singer who discovers and eventually falls in love with a struggling singer-songwriter named Ally, played by Gaga. Her star power soars as his decays. Drama ensues.
The soundtrack features 19 songs “in a wide range of musical styles,” Interscope tweeted, as well as 15 dialogue tracks that supposedly mirror the experience of watching the movie, which explains the existence of gems such as “Parking Lot (Dialogue)” and “SNL (Dialogue).” Standouts among the actual musical numbers include: “I Don’t Know What Love Is,” which makes us sad. “Why Did You Do That?” which makes us angry. “Music to My Eyes,” which makes us confused, and “Hair Body Face,” which makes us even more confused.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times — which includes a very Reynolds Woodcock-esque tale of Cooper wiping off Gaga’s makeup to expose her true self during a screen test in her home — Gaga is said to have “helped inform Cooper’s performance as a musician.” She answered his questions about what it feels like to be backstage at a concert and even wrote a number of songs for the movie. Her own musical journey differed quite a bit from her character’s, she said. While she “hit the concrete running” from the get-go, Ally is introduced as someone who has “given up on herself. And that’s very different from me.”
Cooper just seems grateful to have been in Gaga’s presence, telling the L.A. Times: “Everybody already knows that she’s got a God-given talent as a singer, and she was able to utilize that plutonium to act. If this is something she wants to pursue, I will just have been lucky to have been part of her story as an actress.”
Ah, music to our eyes.
The full tracklist, with dialogue tracks italicized:
- “Black Eyes” by Bradley Cooper
- “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”
- “Fabulous French”
- “La Vie en rose” by Lady Gaga
- “I’ll Wait for You”
- “Maybe It’s Time” by Bradley Cooper
- “Parking Lot”
- “Out of Time” by Bradley Cooper
- “Alibi” by Bradley Cooper
- “Trust Me” — this one is explicit!
- “Shallow” by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga
- “First Stop, Arizona”
- “Music to My Eyes” by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga
- “Diggin’ My Grave” by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga
- “I Love You”
- “Always Remember Us This Way” by Lady Gaga
- “How Do You Hear It?”
- “Look What I Found” by Lady Gaga
- “Heal Me” by Lady Gaga
- “I Don’t Know What Love Is” by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga
- “Is That Alright?” by Lady Gaga
- “Why Did You Do That?” by Lady Gaga
- “Hair Body Face” by Lady Gaga
- “Scene 98″
- “Before I Cry” by Lady Gaga
- “Too Far Gone” by Bradley Cooper
- “Twelve Notes”
- “I’ll Never Love Again (Film Version)” by Lady Gaga
- “I’ll Never Love Again (Extended Version)” by Lady Gaga