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Album Review

The Fifty Shades franchise has attracted millions of fans to its pornographic, sadomasochistic content—both in print and on the big screen. And the soundtrack to the latest film, Fifty Shades Freed, pairs another batch of often racy tracks with this raw R-rated film (which Plugged In chose not to review).

The soundtrack boasts 22 songs, featuring popular artists such as Liam Payne, Ellie Goulding, Sia, Julia Michaels, Rita Ora, Dua Lipa and others. It's a pop-, EDM- and R&B-fueled collaboration that emphasizes love and lust, obsession and addiction.

Much of this soundtrack is exactly as you’d imagine: filled with sexually oriented content, just like the movie itself. But a handful of tracks also strive to address the subject of real love—even if that message at times seems at odds with the fleshier ones we're exposed to more frequently here.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

In “Capital Letters,” actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld gushes about a guy who renews her self-confidence: “And you tell me it’s OK to be the light/And not to swim in the shadows.” In “For You,” Rita Ora similarly sings of a man with whom she feels at home as he erases her “every tear, every fear.”

Sia admits in “Deer in Headlights” that she’s “hoping for a miracle” to get her through a tough time. And in “Diddy Bop,” Jacob Banks surprisingly tells a woman at a club, “Don’t need nobody to take you home.” He also seems to suggest that two people with hollow souls can't fill one another up: "Two empty souls won't fill the vacancy." Banks also advises, "Cigarette smoke won't make you feel at home," even as he counsels relinquishing old hurts ("Yesterdays are made for letting go").

“Never Tear Us Apart” (Bishop Briggs' cover of INXS's 1987 hit) romantically pictures an enduring relationship: "Don’t have to tell you, oh, I love your precious heart/ … And they could never tear us apart.” And in Mattman and Robin's “Are You,” a relationship is “too real to let it slide.” Meanwhile, Kiana Lede tells us in “Big Spender” that she doesn’t “have the time to play with pretenders.”

Objectionable Content

Themes of jealousy, obsession, sexual addiction and sadomasochism can be heard on the majority of this soundtrack's songs, including “Pearls,” I Got You,” “Come On Back,” “Change Your Mind,” “Cross Your Mind,” “Capital Letters,” “Heaven,” “High,” “Sacrifice,” “Are You,” “For You” and “The Wolf.”

On the latter, for example, the Spencer Lee Band sings, "Your body sweating, dripping wet/And I just can't control myself, no, baby/Be my obsession/My possession." Later, in that track, we hear, "Move that a--/And raise a glass to how you love to misbehave, baby/Be my addiction/My prescription." Black Atlass and Jessie Reyez sing on "Sacrifice," "Turn me on, take it all night/So let me, let me just lay you down." And there are plenty more lyrics like those—and more explicit ones, too—throughout the rest of the album.

Dia Lupa asks repeatedly, "So why, why/Don't we get a little high" in the track "High." In “Never Tear Us Apart,” Bishop Briggs sings to a lover, “If I hurt you, I’d make wine from your tears.” A man tells a woman in “Diddy Bop” to “grab a drink or four.” And Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do” (the franchise's overall theme, remixed again here) is about an intoxicating and addicting partner who is both “the pain” and “the cure” to all she needs. "Fading in, fading out, on the edge of paradise," Goulding sings, "Every inch of your skin is a holy grail I've got to find."

Profanity includes uses of the f-word, the s-word, "a--," "h---" and "d--n."

Summary Advisory

It's laudable that the two main characters in this film, Christian and Anastasia Grey, are actually married this time around. But even in a fictitious marriage such as theirs, exposing what goes on behind closed doors is not only unnecessary, but potentially very harmful for viewers. And that's doubly true when their choices still involve bondage that degrades their individual dignity and erodes the sanctity of their union.

Something similar can be said of this soundtrack. Though filled with talented artists and a handful of tender moments, it’s mostly packed with harmful and explicit themes that simply can’t be overlooked or minimized in the name of romance.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Debuted at No. 5 on Billboard's album chart.

Record Label

Island Records

Platform

Publisher

Released

February 9, 2018

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Kristin Smith

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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