The highly-anticipated big screen adaptation of E.L. James’ BDSM version of the Twilight series has FINALLY hit the big screen. As someone who has read the book and watched the movie, I honestly had no idea what to expect from the soundtrack or how the tracks would fit in the film. Despite the mixed reviews on the film, the Fifty Shades Of Grey soundtrack is breathtaking and completely embodies the plot and who Ana and Christian are as characters.
Since it was announced that Beyonce was contributing not one, but two tracks to the Fifty Shades Of Grey soundtrack, hardcore fans were counting the days until Queen Bey released the film’s unofficial theme song – a highly sexified version of her 2003 hit single “Crazy In Love.” It was revealed in the steamy first release trailer and opened up the door to the sexy and dark world of Mr. Christian Grey and became the background music of the now infamous Red Room of Pain scene. Heavy pianos and light percussion that enhance as the song continues paired with added distorted yet breathy vocals represents how the people you least expect (AKA Christian and later on Ana) to be into this sexy lifestyle.
Following shortly after getting hot and bothered by Beyonce’s steamy remix came Ellie Goulding‘s sugary sweet “Love Me Like You Do.” Appropriately placed during the scene where Christian takes Ana for a helicopter date before later deflowering her, it’s a musical embodiment of how their twisted love affair would lead to them slowly and deeply falling in love with each other. Lines like “I’ll let you set the pace/’cause I’m not thinking straight/my head’s spinning around I can’t see clear no more” show that it can be from the perspective of both Ana and Christian, but a few more lyrics tend to lead towards more Christian’s perspective than Ana.
The last two promo singles were very much Christian-inspired from the instrumentation to the lyrics. The Weeknd‘s “Earned It” toys with slight big band elements while ultimately staying a sexy R&B track that’s very fitting of how Christian feels for Ana – how he’s entranced by her even though their “love would be tragic.” Sia‘s chilling and emotional ballad is the complete opposite of the former musically, but it showcases the softer, vulnerable side of Christian that the whole plotline revolves around. Two very differently toned tracks, one universal theme of the tapping into the hidden brokenness of the seemingly put together Christian Grey.
Apart from it’s obviously sparkling singles, one of the best tracks on the album is hands down Skylar Grey‘s emotion driven “I Know You.” The piano heavy song incorporates elegant strings and pairs it with whispers of R&B beats to bring this obvious Anastasia Steele theme to life while holding some of the most passionate lyrics perfectly written for the story. From its beginning lines of “I believe, I believe there’s love in you/grid locked on the dusty avenues/inside your heart, just afraid to go” to its chillingly accurate “what I gave to you/I could never get back!” gives the listeners a glimpse into what Ana is experiencing in her relationship with Christian. Pleading (“believe you could love me/but you’re lost on the road to misery”) and harsh truth (“I have been patient, but slowly I’m losing faith”) are weaved throughout and in the end she comes to the realization to what their relationship has become (“the shadows of your heart are hanging in the sweet, sweet air/the secrets that you hide, control us and it’s just not fair”).
Rounding out the rest of the soundtrack include a pair of perfectly altered covers from Annie Lennox (“I Put A Spell On You”) and Awolnation (“I’m On Fire”), and classics from Frank Sinatra (“Witchcraft”) and The Rolling Stones (“Beast Of Burden”). It also kept up with the predominantly female singer-songwriter theme by including Laura Welsh (“Undiscovered”) and Vaults (“One Last Night”) to join the ranks of Goulding, Sia, Lennox and Grey. Oh yeah, and our R&B stars Beyonce and The Weeknd grace our presence again with their pseudo club tracks than have sultry, animalistic feels to them. The soundtrack ends with two very Twilight-esque cues from the score Danny Elfman composed for the film.
In an overall scheme, the Fifty Shades Of Grey soundtrack truly brings the film to life and it was a nice surprise that songs practically told the story all on their own. Each track tied into the film well and made whatever scene it was incorporated with a lot more real, especially when the lyrics matched perfectly to the scene itself. The track list pretty much stayed in chronological order during the film, which made it flow really easily, and is another example of how the soundtrack on its own tells the bittersweet love story between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.