“Fifty Shades of Grey” soundtrack matches film's sexy, sultry content

Columbia Records

By Christian Kennedy, Daily Arts Writer
Published January 11, 2015

“Fifty Shades of Grey.” Romance. Sex. BDSM. Music?

It all started about six months ago when Beyoncé posted a teaser for the “Fifty Shades of Grey” film featuring a slow and intensely sensual “uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, oh no no.” It’s a clear rework of her debut solo single, “Crazy in Love.”

Movie soundtracks have picked up considerable steam in the past year. Some recent examples include Charli XCX’s “Boom Clap” for “The Fault in Our Stars” and the Lorde-curated “Mockingjay” soundtrack. Never have soundtracks been as star-studded and successful as they are now. As one of the most talked about books/movies, it comes as no surprise that the “Fifty Shades” soundtrack will be nothing short of incredible (especially with the legitimacy Beyoncé grants everything she touches).

Clearly, Beyoncé didn’t simply remake the short clip. Five days later the full trailer was released, revealing a nearly entire remix. It’s sultry, to say the least, and it works perfectly with the premise of “Fifty Shades.” Then to throw gas on the fire, a second trailer was released in November featuring Beyoncé’s appropriately-titled “Haunted,” another tantalizingly sexual track.

Originally, it seemed that Bey might have been curating this soundtrack in the same manner Lorde handled “Mockingjay.” However, in past weeks, it seemed as if Universal Studios were rolling the album out as just that: an album. More than that, they’re doing it brilliantly. A Beyoncé teaser to get the entire world’s attention on the project? Check. Now, instead of simply releasing the full rework, “Earned It” by The Weeknd pops up on iTunes, landing itself in the top ten a couple days before Christmas. The Weeknd’s electric vocals keep the song's sound in check with its content. Even the title, “Earned It,” lends an air of dominance to the track. Now, just as the newness of “Earned It” has worn off, and the Beyoncé void has opened up again, Ellie Goulding has released the beautifully crafted “Love Me Like You Do” on iTunes.

The lyrics are infatuated, yearning and intelligent. They embody everything that is Ana Steele, the novel’s protagonist. Alternatively, “Earned It” is protective and demanding, akin to Christian Grey himself. This musical representation of today’s most controversial love story is completed by expertly designed cover art. “Earned It” showcases strength undone in love — Jamie Dornan (“Once Upon A Time”) in a designer suit and undone tie. “Love Me Like You Do” features a nose-to-chest shot of Dakota Johnson (“The Five-Year Engagement”) biting her lip. Both covers are in shades of black, white and silver, thus tying the movie, books and soundtrack into a perfectly orchestrated multi-media brand.

Music has always been an intricate aspect of film, but recently it has gone beyond enhancing the stories told through movies. Now, a good soundtrack tells the complete story through a separate medium. While fans of the trilogy are feverishly rereading the first installment in anticipation of the film, I will be patiently waiting for the soundtrack.