Jason Lindquist (jlindquist) wrote,
Jason Lindquist
jlindquist

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No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!

We got another good theme song with this Bond movie. Sometimes they're timeless, and I never get tired of hearing them. Other times, it's just filler background for the nekkid girlie silhouettes that fly across the opening credits.

Someone else's livejournal listed Madonna's "Die Another Day" as her background music, so I dug through the film's website for a sound file or a video, they had the latter. Ten minutes later, I ran out to Whorehouse for the CD single (a domestic one, a rarity these days,) which I've already encoded and started abusing. The theme song, for me at least, really sets the tone for a whole movie. This is true to an exceptional degree for the Bond series, as the theme tends to be the most noteworthy piece of music. I'll walk out of the theater with scenes running through my head and the theme playing over them. That mental sequence is how I'll remember the experience.

They're making heavy use of Moby's "re-version" of the classic Monty Norman jazz orchestral theme in TV ads and the recent special edition DVDs. I hope it finally gets used in a film this time around...

Abusable:

TitleArtist 
Dr. No
("James Bond Theme")
Monty Norman OrchestraThis is the classic theme we hear over the pre-credits teaser scenes, that weaves through the scores of most of the films. There wasn't a big-name lyrical theme over the credits in the first film of the series.
GoldfingerShirley BasseyLoud and bombastic, with Shirley Bassey's intense, hard-edged voice, it's so 60's. For some reason, I associate this sound with the Cold War era on-top-of-the-world character of the United States, and this was the first of the Bond films to be set entirely here.
Live And Let DiePaul McCartney & WingsQuintessential 70s film score orchestration mixed with McCartney pop. And I like that when it's done as well as it is here. (See also: Michael Kamen's work with Aerosmith, Metallica, and Eric Clapton.) I still remember this theme fading up on an ABC commercial promoting their prime-time showing when I was a kid, with that deep announcer's voice giving the title. (I forget the guy's name, he does a lot of voiceover talent, including a lot of the "next week on..." trailers for ST:TNG.) This is another big movie theme
Nobody Does It Better
"The Spy Who Loved Me"
Carly SimonI like it better as a closing theme than an opener, but it's classically descriptive of Bond. He's supposed to be the world's greatest spy, right? Even though it's an elegant slow-tempo song, it's a tribute to the character, a pat on the back for a job well done. I play the Me First And The Gimme Gimmes cover (much faster punk rock) after baseball victories.
A View To A KillDuran DuranI think I missed "For Your Eyes Only" and "Octopussy" in the theaters, so this was the next one I saw. Again, a Bond film mostly set in the US. The theme is catchy, mid-80s current, and carries the mysterious air one would associate with a spy movie, while being loud and noisy appropriate for an action movie.
The Living DaylightsA-HaAnother theme from another 80s staple band (okay, they only had one other hit, "Take On Me", but that song's video was memorable enough to merit the distinction.) Much like "A View To A Kill", it taps both the mystery and action veins, though not as bombastically as Duran Duran.
GoldenEyeTina TurnerAhh, another edgy deep 60's Motown voice. This is so 90s, a wonderful full-bodied orchestral introduction to the Pierce Brosnan era of the series, and Tina Turner's voice is so damned classic. The lyrics talk about Bond, with the name "Golden Eye" irrelevant in context, but obviously there as a tie to the movie. You're supposed to have a theme like this for a movie where the action feels like it will explode out of the screen, into the audience.
Tomorrow Never DiesSheryl CrowI hadn't listened to this much 'till I started compiling this list. It's not really big and loud, just at moments during the chorus. But it's elegant, and I like Sheryl Crow's sultry voice. If I were as smooth as Bond, and had any sense of rhythm, this is exactly what I would've liked to hear at a school dance growing up. It's slow, you can dance to it, but it's not a sappy, sissy tune. On a side note, this was the film Moby's "re-version" was written for, and then left unused
The World Is Not EnoughGarbageSee above. Both of these are similar, not in melody, but in pacing and feel, but without being repetitive. They're both elegant big-movie themes.
Die Another DayMadonnaHow the hell did Madonna go this long before doing a Bond theme? We're talking about one of the biggest names in popular music. Maybe they asked her before and she wasn't inclined, or she was in a phase where the producers weren't inclined to ask her. (Would you want the petty "Material Girl"-era or the slutty "Justify My Love"-era Madonna to do something so classy as a Bond theme?) It's Naughties (00s) pop, perhaps more heavily steeped in the time of a film's release than we've seen in a Bond theme in a while. It's urgent, and while not explosively powerful, it's still something I can imagine behind an action scene. A poetic, dance-like action sequence in the vein of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "The Matrix" (the lobby scene with the Propellerheads' "Spybreak", or what Rob D.'s "Clubbed To Death" could easily have been used for.) Silent, deadly ass-whupping. The strings might be what evokes my comparison to "Clubbed To Death", the heavy bass to "Spybreak". The title even works in context in the lyrics, and beautifully. I don't know if strains of this song will pervade the score, as is common in Bond films, but if the studio's aim in releasing this single now was to spur excitement about the film in the two weeks leading up to its release, it's sure as hell working for me.

Snoozers:

From Russia With LoveMatt MonroZzzzzzz.... too sleepy to write anything.
ThunderballTom JonesI'm not a fan of the Vegas lounge act style, I guess.
On Her Majesty's Secret ServiceJames BarryThis was the movie with George Lazenby as Bond, just one of many aspects that make this film distinct in the series. This theme was instrumental. It's another (albeit good) piece of the score, but I like a lyrical introduction to these films, even if it has nothing to do with the plot.
You Only Live TwiceNancy SinatraMaybe it's a bit too gentle in tone and relaxed in rhythm, it just fails to grab me.
Diamonds Are ForeverShirley BasseyZzzzzz... this lacks the punch of "GoldFINGer!"
The Man With The Golden GunLuluToo 70s in orchestration, too wah-wah-y in vocal delivery.
MoonrakerShirley BasseyI kinda like this one, probably 'cause Moonraker was the first Bond theme I'd seen in the theater (back when movie theaters were actually big places.) But it's another slow theme song...
For Your Eyes OnlySheena EastonTypical late-70s pop, and another slow one...
All Time High
"Octopussy"
Rita CoolidgeZzzzz... see above
License to KillGladys KnightOrchestrally, it starts out powerfully, and I love Gladys Knight's voice, but I dunno, it gets kinda sappy in the middle. Too happy, and kicks into a major key for the chorus. It should've stayed in the minor key of the verses.
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