Various artists - Fifty Shades of Grey | Album review
The smutty smash novel gets its own soundtrack.
Erotic novelist E.L. James claims to have listened to classical music on headphones while penning her smutty smash hit, Fifty Shades of Grey. “It’s music to fuck to,” she declared at a recent appearance in London. Indeed, the book’s main character, young billionaire Christian Grey, is an amateur pianist with a penchant for playing Bach’s Transcriptions post-coitus and acting out S&M antics to the sound of Debussy sonatas.
The British author’s goofy kink trilogy has sold more than 20 million copies in the U.S. The phenomenon continues to expand with Fifty Shades of Grey: The Classical Album, which features 15 tracks that apparently “inspired” James during the writing process. It’s hard not to be irked by the blatant cash grab and weak angle, yet James’s picks aren’t bad, just predictable: Pachelbel’s Canon in D conducted by Sir Neville Marriner, a Chopin Nocturne from Samson François, Maria Tipo’s take on Bach’s Aria from Goldberg Variations.
So, who’s going to buy this album? Just as anyone who takes literature or feminism seriously wouldn’t be caught dead flicking through Fifty Shades on the El (or, at least, not without a Kindle), it’s difficult to imagine a classical buff proudly displaying this comp next to her Mahler box set. But it isn’t designed for music fans. It’s nothing more than an extension of the franchise that’s left bored housewives hot under the collar and given teenage girls screwed-up ideas about intimacy. The only positive thing about this album’s existence is its potential for exposing an unlikely crowd to Villa-Lobos and Canteloube.