Various Artists: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Track-by-Track Album Review

With a couple more days before the already record breaking, blockbuster Fifty Shades of Grey is released to the world, I’m sure women and men being dragged by their significant other are preparing for the intense romantic drama. I haven’t read the scandalous pages of the novel, but I’m assuming this steamy read needs to have a soundtrack that matches the passion that will be found in the movie. The 16 track soundtrack, which features classic artists like Annie Lennox and The Rolling Stones to new-comers like Jessie Ware and The Weeknd, is a collection of bedroom bangers and sappy ballads that may just become your go to soundtrack for a good night.

I can’t say that you would normally catch me listening to Annie Lennox (“I Put A Spell On You”) or Frank Sinatra (“Witchcraft”) but they add a tasteful element to the soundtrack. The Weeknd can be heard on two tracks (“Earned It”, “Where You Belong”) and the known bedroom crooner seems kind of tame on the soundtrack (A Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack is the perfect time to bring out the heat heard in Trilogy, Abel!). Jessie Ware’s soulful voice is on point in “Meet Me in the Middle,” and I like the old school vibe of the track.

“Love Me Like You Do” by Ellie Goulding is the second single from the soundtrack and is a definite highlight. With production from Max Martin and Tove Lo, an artist currently killing it on the charts, Goulding has never sounded more passionate than on this track. Plus the chorus is an ear-worm that will remain in your head well after the song is over. Beyonce makes two contributions on the soundtrack in the form of remixes (“Haunted (Michael Diamond Remix)”, “Crazy in Love (2014 Remix)”). I feel like I’m waiting for the bass to drop when listening to the build-up of “Haunted” and it’s unfortunately very underwhelming. The last 35 seconds of the song would’ve made the track better if that intensity was extended.  The “Crazy in Love” remix is the better Beyonce contribution out of the two, with deeper vocals and a pounding beat throughout – this is the kind of heat I’d been waiting for.

Slower ballads like Sia’s “Salted Wound” and Skylar Grey’s “I Know You” are hauntingly beautiful. They wouldn’t get too much replay value outside of the soundtrack though. “I’m on Fire” by Awolnation has a folk sound to it and the powerful production makes it an interesting, yet short listen. Vaults may be the least known group on the soundtrack but their string filled, pop track “One Last Night” is a solid track that definitely deserves a listen.

I think the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack will be similar to the film in terms of leaving the audience expecting a little more. While this album is filled with some solid mid tempo tracks and ballads, it’s missing the sensual energy that a plot reportedly revolving around sex should have. That heat can definitely be felt on tracks like “Crazy In Love”, “Where You Belong” and “Meet Me In The Middle,” but more passionate tracks like “Love Me Like You Do”, “I Know You” and “Undiscovered” make up the rest of the album, which makes this soundtrack an impressive yet very unexpected album. Maybe the movie will be more substance rather than flash after all?