Annie Lennox, AWOLNATION, Beyonce, Danny Elfman, Ellie Goulding, Fifty Shades of Grey Soundtrack, Fifty Shades of Grey Track Listing, Frank Sinatra, Jessie Ware, Rolling Stones, Sia, Skylar Gray, The Weeknd, Vaults
Like any good soundtrack, the music reflects the theme of the movie. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like they really went out of their way to make sure of this. Not a single one deviates from the I’m-stalking-you-but-we’re-getting-our-freak-on vibe of the film. I’ll also admit up front to not being familiar with a lot of these artists.
A lot of the tracks are remakes- modernized versions of some great stuff, with some pretty good performances. Some are remixes and rounding out the batch is a few pieces from the score, which is composed by none other than Danny Elfman. Who’d you think they were gonna ask for a movie like this- Hans Zimmer?
Speaking of Elfman, nearly every song uses strings in an attempt to be romantic, evocative and Byron-esque. Doesn’t always work.
1- I Put a Spell on You by Annie Lennox: Sets the tone for the proceedings right off the bat. No complaints here; the lady nailed it. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins would be proud. This one also appears on her new album from last fall, Nostalgia- where she does jazz & blues standards.
2- Undiscovered by Laura Welsh: Beat’s ok and she has a decent voice. Nothing special.
3- Earned It by The Weeknd: The first single, released last December. He’s starting to carve out a niche for himself, appearing on all these soundtracks. It’s ok.
4- Meet Me in the Middle by Jessie Ware: I’m getting a 70’s-ish, Fifth Dimension vibe from this one. Not bad at all, just old school.
5- Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding: The second single to be released from the album. Aside from the Stones, this is the most upbeat song- and it’s still emo!
6- Haunted (Michael Diamond Remix) by Beyonce: this is where we really start ranging into the creepy, stalker-ish stuff. I’d guess this one’s playing during their first time together.
7- Salted Wound by Sia: another making her niche on soundtracks; and this is the second one she’s appeared on with The Weeknd (Hunger Games Catching Fire). The title tells you all you need to know.
8- Beast of Burden by the Rolling Stones: ’nuff said.
9- I’m On Fire by AWOLNATION: this one caught me surprise; a Springsteen standard done by these guys. Pretty good.
10- Crazy In Love (Remix) by Beyonce: I can just see Anastasia sitting in darkened room, staring out at nothing, her thoughts echoing around inside her head while listening to this. Or Christian staring at his closet full of gadgets as his mind wanders. Sexy, yeah?
11- Witchcraft by Frank Sinatra: again, nothing to add here.
12- One Last Night by Vaults: not great, not bad. Filler.
13- Where You Belong by The Weeknd: I kinda got into it, especially for the hook. Brotha did his thing with this one.
14- I Know You by Skylar Gray: Another minimalist track over-relying on strings and keys to draw you in. Plus her high-pitched whine annoyed the crap outta me.
15- Ana & Christian by Danny Elfman: one of the tracks from the score, Elfman did a good job capturing the essence of the two lovers.
16- Did That Hurt? by Danny Elfman: Do you even have to ask?
All the songs key off of that moody, smash-the-mirror, slit-my-wrists-in-a-bathtub, darker emo stuff which is, again, a pitch perfect reflection of the movie. Who’d have thought it from some Twilight fanfic? Maybe I’m projecting too much association with the movie into this, but isn’t that the point of a soundtrack- association with the movie? The soundtrack’s been getting mixed reviews overall, mostly in the tepid range and I can’t really argue. In another context this might be a decent listen, but given that it’s FSoG it all comes off as kinda… creepy.
3 of 5 stars.