Fifty Shades of Gray Soundtrack Review

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A soundtrack: it can make a great movie better or give a terrible movie at least a slight consolation prize.  Even though Fifty Shades of Grey may not take home an Oscar, its soundtrack is one of those that has the ability to transform a sub-par movie, based on an erotic novel that your mother probably picked up in an airport bookstore, into something that just may be worth watching, if only to hear the music. I can proudly say that I was not one of the hundreds of thousands to flock to theaters on February 14th for the Fifty Shades of Grey premier.  However I must admit, with a compilation of new and old artists, ranging from The Rolling Stones to Sia, the soundtrack already has some bragging rights.  The movie may, very reasonably, not draw your attention, but that doesn’t mean that the soundtrack should get lost in the ridiculousness of Grey.

"I Put A Spell On You” - Annie Lennox 

This cover of The Screamin’ Jay Hawkins classic is strong, pure and moody.  Simply put, Lennox is a vocal powerhouse.  Seeing her name at the top of the track list is what kept me listening.

"Undiscovered" - Laura Welsh 

Unlike her well known, powerhouse forerunner Lennox, Laura Welsh is brand new.  In fact, a Google search of the artist brings up Laura Bush, which would in fact be quite a bold choice of artist for a movie about bondage.  Regardless, Welsh’s “Undiscovered” has a simple beat, bringing out the artist’s smooth vocals and catchy tune.

"Earned It (Fifty Shades Of Grey)" - The Weeknd 

Like always, The Weeknd slays.  Complete with his classic velvet vocals, slow, synthed beats, and dare I say it, sexually charged lyrics, “Earned It” is, to me, the soundtrack’s stand out track, among many greats. "Meet Me In The Middle" - Jessie Ware 

Another soulful voice joins the crew.  Ware’s track brings her typical soulful vocals, and combines them with the soundtrack’s overarching blues-rock vibe.  Despite Ware’s interesting sound this track is just a little too slow for my taste. "Love Me Like You Do" - Ellie Goulding 

A classic Ellie Goulding Track, treading between delicacy and strength.  I stand with my conviction that this girl has one of the most interesting voices out there.  “Love Me Like You Do” is not an exception, mixing Goulding’s gauzy vocals, with heavily echoed beats and dense synthesizers.

"Haunted (Michael Diamond Remix)" - Beyoncé 

Put Queen Bey on the soundtrack and your fate is sealed as a sure chart topper.  I still prefer the original track, but definitely a solid remix.

"Salted Wound" - Sia 

This subdued song screams Sia.  And while it is certainly delicately beautiful, an almost lullaby-like track, I can’t help but compare it to her latest hits, which I don’t think it quite matches up to.

"Beast Of Burden" - The Rolling Stones 

It seems like anything I say about such a classic will be redundant praise at this point.

"I'm On Fire" - AWOLNATION 

This doesn’t compare to the original Springsteen version, or for that matter, the smooth John Mayer cover.   But AWOLNATION’s cover is by no means a track to skip.  I just think it’s hard to compare to the original, when the original is Springsteen – but maybe that’s just me? "Crazy In Love (2014 Remix)" - Beyoncé 

Over a decade ago Beyoncé debuted as a solo act.  “Crazy in Love” was the perfect introduction for the soon to be star.  Now, years later, the track has been chopped up and remixed into a haunting vestige of the original.  This sinister remake may be better than the first.

"Witchcraft" - Frank Sinatra 

Well it’s Sinatra.  So obviously it’s great.

"One Last Night" - Vaults 

Another smaller, possibly up and coming name on the soundtrack, Vaults has those Sia-like, wispy vocals accompanied by an easy and pretty melody.  Not bad, not great. "Where You Belong" - The Weeknd 

As, the Weeknd’s second track on the album, “Where You Belong” pales in comparison to “Earned It.”  It seems like it works with the film, or what I know of it, but based on the high standards that the Weeknd has set for himself, the song just kind of drags. "I Know You" - Skylar Grey 

Skylar Grey is almost always the “featured artist.”  She was a background voice in Diddy’s “Coming Home” and Eminem’s “I Need A Doctor.”  But Grey’s “I Know You” stands all on its own.

Even when a movie seems to be begging me not to see it, a great soundtrack like Fifty Shades of Grey’s makes me kind of want to — at least as a last minute, free, On-demand selection.

The soundtrack’s ability to seamlessly mix talented young artist’s new releases, with classics from some of music’s legends creates a sophisticated entity, that neither new, nor old could do on their own.  Maybe Christian Grey’s weird fetishes aren’t your thing.  But there’s no way a combination of Beyoncé and Frank Sinatra isn’t.

Overall Score: 8.5

Image source: http://images.fashionnstyle.com/data/images/full/67814/fifty-shades-of-grey.jpg?w=600

What We ThinkStaci Dubow