To be fair, I am not the target/intended audience for the Fifty Shades of Grey film trilogy and I’m totally okay with that. I only saw the first film because my ex wanted to see it and thought it would, well you know the reason why. It’s safe to say that the Fifty Shades of Grey the film did not live up to any of the hype or scintillating aura it created for itself. However, I did notice that the music from the film was incredible.
I always enjoy a film that has a great soundtrack. Grease, Juno, Space Jam, are a few to be specific that have iconic and legitimate memorable soundtracks. That’s not to say that there aren’t a few duds on each of these soundtracks, but overall, they can often overshadow the movie.
I’m going to break down the seven (7) best songs from the Fifty Shades trilogy across the three soundtracks.
1. Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding: In my opinion, this is the best song to be used/created for the trilogy and is my favorite from the original Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack. Ellie Goulding’s voice is actual perfection, her range is incredible and she gives me the chills. On top of all of that, the song is the definition of an earworm. The catchy chorus of Goulding singing and the way the song builds to a large climax at the end, her impassioned plea asking her lover “what are you waiting for” is so moving. The song can be played on repeat for hours at a time and you will never get tired of it.
2. For You – Liam Payne & Rita Ora: Whoever is working with Rita Ora the past year should be given a raise. In the past, my school of thought on Rita Ora was why is she a singer, and more importantly, why is she relevant. Well , 2017 came along and she had two catchy songs (Anywhere & Your Song) and then For You dropped as the first official single for Fifty Shades Freed. Rita Ora, while not necessarily the best vocalist amongst her contemporaries, has an extremely sultry sound and can make anything catchy. Pair that with Liam Payne’s ability to do very little on a song but still make a hit, this song is already off to a great start. The beat is haunting but still very upbeat, and is reminiscent of Love Me Like You Do. It has that big moment feeling. To be honest, if you heard this on the radio you’d think this was a bop and have no clue it’s from the soundtrack to a mom-porn movie.
3. Earned It – The Weeknd: The Weeknd can do no wrong. His voice is beyond soothing, he can sing the telephone book and it’d still be incredible. Earned It was the first song released ahead of Fifty Shades of Grey. Of course it went on to win a Grammy and was nominated for an Academy Award. Aside from the obvious accolades it earned (pun intended), the song is slow, seductive & sultry, but again, has all the properties of being an earworm.
4. I Don’t Wanna Live Forever – Zayn & Taylor Swift: While I am already hating myself for including Taylor Swift in a “best of” list, I can’t deny that she played a large part of one of the biggest songs of 2017. When I first heard the song I had to listen to it a few times because Zayn and The Weeknd have similar vocal traits, but Zayn’s falsetto is a lot fainter than The Weeknd’s. When he belts out the title of the track (for Fifty Shades Darker), you can hear the pain and the yearning the song is asking listeners to relate to. Taylor does her typical talk-singing that she has made her “thing” the past couple of albums, but the moments where she belts out in actual song is amazing, it elevates the emotion of the song.
5. Crazy In Love (Remix) – Beyonce: Crazy In Love is arguably one of Beyonce’s biggest songs of her career and truly helped launch her solo career. The original is upbeat, fast paced and a fun sing-along. When Beyonce released the Crazy In Love remix for the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack, I was interested to see how she would make it fit for the movie. With the remixed version, she channels more of her 2013 era surprise Beyonce album than anything she had done previously. The song is slowed down, in the same vein as Earned It and many of the other songs on the album (including Haunted). Beyonce is almost leading the listener on, taking them for a ride. This version of Crazy In Love is much more erotic, lending to the theme of the film, all the while reinventing a true Beyonce classic.
6. Capital Letters – Hailee Steinfeld & Bloodpop: Capital Letters is a new entry into the Fifty Shades trilogy, being featured on the latest movie soundtrack. Hailee Steinfeld has really been on a role with her music career finding songs that are catchy and certified bops. It helps that she’s paired with Bloodpop, who also shot to mainstream success with their song Friends featuring Justin Bieber. Her ability to harmonize with the infectious beat and emote powerful feelings is very clearly heard on the track. Don’t sleep on this track in 2018.
7. Not Afraid Anymore – Halsey: It took me a while, but I am definitely a big fan of Halsey. Her voice is so unique and her message as an artist transcends the commercial aspect of her music. The song, featured on the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack, showcases Halsey’s vocal abilities and her infamous skill of highlighting her vulnerability. What works so well with this song is that it can stand alone as a Halsey track, but also fits perfectly into the aesthetic of being a part of the Fifty Shades film. The way she carries certain notes on the chorus give you the chills and also tugs on the heartstrings.
While there are other great songs featured across all three albums, I feel that these seven songs best showcase the commerciality of pairing music with a film and letting songs stand the test of time outside of the release of the film they’re related to. These songs all have the commonality of the Fifty Shades trilogy and underlying thematic tones featured in the songs, but the artists elevate each and every one of these songs to make them memorable.
Featured image via Fifty Shades Freed