fiftyshades-1484165163#1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, week of 3/4/17

What it is: The soundtrack to the new movie Fifty Shades Darker, based on the novel of the same name, the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey. The book and movie focus on the relationship between protagonist Ana and wealthy BDSM enthusiast Christian Grey; the soundtrack consists of sultry pop songs by various artists, as well as two instrumental selections from the film’s score by Danny Elfman.

It’s a bit weird to see the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack at #1. The last film soundtrack to hit the top spot was Suicide Squad: The Album, which was very bad but was at least affiliated with a huge blockbuster of a movie, one which was #1 at the box office for three weekends in a row. Fifty Shades Darker wasn’t #1 for any weekends at all, having been beaten upon its debut by The LEGO Batman Movie (which I’ll get around to eventually, I promise). Nor is it known for having a notable soundtrack, like, say, La La Land or whatever.

What this record  does have in common with Suicide Squad: The Album is a penchant for collaborations between seemingly random combinations of pop stars. The most star-studded of these is “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever,” a duet between Taylor Swift and One Direction’s Zayn Malik produced (according to Wikipedia) by Jack Antonoff of the band fun. There’s also “Bom Bidi Bom,” which finally unites Nick Jonas and Nicki Minaj. The album’s lyrics feature a whole lot of lyrics vague enough to be read as BDSM allusions but only if you’re really looking for that sort of thing, which I guess is typical of pop music in general: “I want something so impure,” “Love and pain go hand in hand,” etc. If you’re in the market for some make-out background music, this would probably work fine.

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