Song: ‘Love Me Like You Do’
Artist: Ellie Goulding
US chart peak: 3
Release date: January 7, 2015
Writers: Max Martin, Savan Kotecha, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Ali Payami, Tove Nilsson
Producers: Max Martin, Ali Payami
Quintessential Max moment: That “what are you waiting forrrrrrr” bit
Video synopsis: Ellie Goulding lost in a stately home (it’s really boring)
‘Love Me Like You Do’ is one of those songs where you feel like it probably went through various iterations before it became Ellie Goulding’s biggest worldwide hit (Number 3 in America and Number One in the UK for a month). We know that the song was originally written with Demi Lovato in mind, and then that it wound up in the running for the soundtrack to S&M bonk-fest Fifty Shades Of Grey after Max and Savan Kotecha watched clips of the film and realised the song fit with the visuals. It was apparently director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s idea to have Ellie Goulding sing it, who then in turn took some persuading (Goulding wanted to focus on writing her third album and had basically done about fifteen soundtrack songs by then).
But I would hazard a guess that the song was also meant to be sung by Tove Lo, whose name appears on the song’s credits and whose ‘risque’ image would have made her a likely contender to deliver the film’s murky-but-mainstream sexual experimentation.
Anyway, what we do also know is that the song’s chorus was started by Ilya ad Ali, with Max coming in to tweak the song before Kotecha and Tove added some more lyrics. The other thing we know is that it’s an almost perfect example of the modern-day soundtrack song. It expertly encapsulates the themes of its parent film without being too specific, while its slow-burn build and big crashing drums are the perfect signpost for A Big Emotional Moment.
It’s also pretty interesting in terms of how it’s constructed, with the first verse and chorus constantly teasing some sort of explosion that initially doesn’t come. In fact, the first chorus is really low-key, the song not really getting going until the 1:45 mark when Goulding sings “I’ll let you set the pace”. It means that when the chorus does eventually arrive properly the whole roof comes off with pure unadulterated joy (PROBABLY TO DO WITH ORGASMS OR SOMETHING VAGUELY FILTHY).
From there the song doesn’t really look back, save a brief respite in the middle eight, which is more just an excuse to chuck in one last “what are you waiting for” before the whole thing launches skywards again. Brilliantly it then throws in some big syrupy strings for good measure.
As delightfully OTT as all the brilliant soundtrack songs of the last twenty years.