Just when we thought the Fifty Shades franchise had reached as far and wide as it possibly could (yes, we were naive), the news arrives that we were wrong. Bedsheets and perfume and lingerie and jewelry are not enough; more than 20 million copies of the books sold in the U.S. alone are not enough. There will be music, too, an album to listen to as you read the book, to use as background while considering who might star in the movie, to do whatever one will do with Fifty Shades of Grey-themed music. E.L. James, author of the trilogy, has "curated" the album, which, via the press release, "aims to provide the perfect accompaniment to the Fifty Shades reading experience, setting a mysterious and alluring atmosphere with just the slightest hint of danger." The song includes 15 classical tracks composed by Chopin, Debussy, Bach, Rachmaninoff, and Verdi, among others—songs that are also mentioned in the books themselves.
This will provide a valuable lesson in the ongoing debate over the question "If you make it, will they buy it?" (I'm guessing yes, though not in the same numbers as book purchases.) EMI Classics will release the album digitally on August 21, with a CD to follow on September 18. Perhaps aspiring writers of future erotic trilogies will be inspired; others may simply find this a bit creepy or overreaching. But however you feel, it's hard not to be astounded for a minute that a book has acquired an associated album before it's even become a movie.
Note also that the album is titled Fifty Shades of Grey: The Classical Album, which seems to keep the door wide open for future soundtracks related to the books, even peripherally—the movie soundtrack, surely, but maybe a house remix, too? The world is E.L. James' oyster! If only we could say the same for poor old Bach. On the possible plus side, maybe the album will do for music sales what E.L. James is doing for book sales. According to the release, "The books' various references to classical music have [already] spurred sales of the pieces mentioned – even going so far as to cause Spem in Alium, a 16th century motet for 40 voices by Thomas Tallis, to jump to the top of the classical charts in the UK."
Here's the first track, Lakme (Act I): "Flower Duet" (Mady Mesple, Danielle Millet)
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