Music reviews: Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack, Transfixiation, Ne-Yo

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 March, 2015, 8:30pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 March, 2015, 8:30pm

Various artists
Fifty Shades of Grey Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Universal Studios

As Fifty Shades fever spreads across the world, no doubt spurring absurd movie tie-ins to adorn your S&M dungeon, it’s the soundtrack’s turn to get pulses racing.

When you have only one thing on your mind, who do you turn to? Beyoncé, of course. Here, the sultry songstress gives us steamy remixes of two previous hits. While Michael Diamond adds a dark and dirty house beat to Haunted, making it totally, ummm, different to its pulsating original, Crazy in Love is reduced to an ultra-sexy crawl; Beyoncé can barely pant out the words through all the heavy breathing and swelling strings.

The rest of the soundtrack aims for the more sensual side of erotic playtime, but Sia (Salted Wound), Laura Welsh (Undiscovered) and Jesse Ware (Meet Me in the Middle) struggle to get the heart even remotely pounding.

Pop goddess Annie Lennox takes on I Put a Spell on You , but despite her admirable howling, it can’t compare to the bewitching Nina Simone version. However you take your pleasure and pain, this soundtrack offers very little kink to spice up your life.

 

A Place to Bury Strangers
Transfixiation
Dead Oceans

Renowned for their dynamic and brutal ear-bleeding live shows, the Brooklyn post-punk noisemakers return after a three-year break with a fourth shoegazing release that travels the same chaos-harnessing path as 2012's Worship.

The 11 tracks on Transfixiation may be more focused and, upon first listen, less expansive than their earlier material, but it doesn't mean APTBS have any new desire to turn down the volume. On the searing doom epic Deeper, squalling guitars mix with scorching feedback to create a frenzied drone that is sure to realign the internal body organs of anyone brave enough to crank it up.

Welcoming new drummer Robi Gonzalez, frontman and effects pedal maestro Oliver Ackermann's usual shrill of white noise gives equal footing to the concrete-pounding rhythm section on Supermaster, and the opening line, "I'm like a child, showing anger/ What have I become", sets the ominous tone from the outset. If a battering of relentless energy is what you're after, then you can't go wrong with APTBS, but if you're expecting more than a racket of brooding distortion, you've come to the wrong party.

 

Ne-Yo
Non-Fiction
Motown Records

Despite being chock-full of smooth and infectious R&B hits, Ne-Yo's 2010 album Libra Scale was widely derided for its preposterous concept: a tale of three dustmen who attain superpowers, fame and fortune, but at the cost of never being able to fall in love. It was received with the scorn it deserved.

Unshaken, the hitmaker returns to the pop fray with Non-Fiction, his sixth studio album. And once again, the album has a back story. Every song is inspired by a true story. They are mainly about love and sexual conquests, of course, because, well, you don't get many R&B tunes about losing the car after a big night down at the pub. Some of these tales are Ne-Yo's, and some are supplied by his fans, who he reached out to via social media.

The single Money Can't Buy with Young Jeezy was released a full eight months before the album. So whether Ne-Yo is banging on about threesomes ( Story Time) or not letting poverty get in the way of a good party ( Time of Our Lives with Pitbull), all this bragging would sound ridiculous if sung with any less of a voice than Ne-Yo's dulcet tones.