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Track Review

There's the briefest of moments of innocent romantic longing at the outset of English chanteuse Ellie Goulding's contribution to the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack: "You're the light," she begins ardently in this song of praise to her lover.

And that's where romance ends and brooding, addictive, pain-laced sensuality begins—suggestively mirroring the story arc of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in author E L James' controversial, best-selling novel about bondage-based attraction.

This synth-filled, '80s-sounding hit has Goulding contrasting her opening metaphor with this more ominously accurate description of her dangerous squeeze: "You're the night." As light molts into night, then, she tells the tale of a woman entranced and seduced by someone whose touch leaves her begging for more, even when—or perhaps especially when—it hurts.

"You're the cure," Goulding rhapsodizes, "you're the pain/You're the only thing I wanna touch/Never knew that it could mean so much, so much." Perhaps that aforementioned pain is what gives her momentary pause, as she then admits, "You're the fear," before plunging recklessly forward again with, "I don't care!" As for why she doesn't care, well, all that supposed pleasure mixed with the pain yields an addictive rush she just can't resist ("'Cause I've never been so high").

The way her pain-dispensing lover makes her feel has come to define this woman's identity ("You can see the world you brought to life"), which leaves her impatient for more ("Love me like you do/ ... Touch me like you do/ ... What are you waiting for?").

The next verse describes this couple's erotic entanglement as "Fading in, fading out/On the edge of paradise." It's an intoxicating experience that leaves her worshipping his body ("Every inch of your skin is a holy grail I've got to find"). And that expressed ecstasy leads to further surrender to the man into whose hurtful hands she's entrusted herself ("Yeah, I'll let you set the pace/'Cause I'm not thinking straight/My head's spinning, I can't see no more/What are you waiting for?").

Still need a summary? Just as happens in the movie this song accompanies, romance degenerates into reckless submission to a dominating man who gets his kicks inflicting pain upon the woman who's convinced herself she's in "love" with him. Not surprisingly, the track's video plays up that trajectory as Goulding wanders dreamily through classic architecture while intercut clips from the film give glimpses of the early moments of Anastasia and Christian's descent into their mutual addiction, ending with brief, racy images of her shackled, blindfolded and gasping.

"'Cause I'm not thinking straight." Indeed.

Positive Elements

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Peaked at No. 3.

Record Label





January 7, 2015

On Video

Year Published



Adam R. Holz

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