Archive for the ‘The Music of Bond’ Category

In Review: The Bond Music of the 90's

June 17, 2009

The Scores:

Ranking The Scores:

My ranking is chronological. The quality seems to decrease as the years roll on:

  1. “GoldenEye”
  2. “Tomorrow Never Dies”
  3. “The World Is Not Enough”

Composer Eric Serra opened Pierce Brosnan’s Bond era with a fresh, original score which not only complimented the post-Cold War era, but also the new Bond era.

David Arnold’s debut Bond score was one of his best efforts. It contained quite a bit of music, and generally stayed orchestral, rather than relying heavily on synth/techno trash. Another good debut score.

“The World Is Not Enough” had few perks, and sounds more and more like a video game score whenever I hear it. The music sounds messy through out most of the score.

The Best Tracks of the 90’s:

“GoldenEye”

Track 02: The GoldenEye Overture
All around stylish. Definitely the most original Bond theme rendition of the 90’s … and perhaps one of the most original of all time.

Tank Drive Around St. Petersburg (Theatrical Version)
Very stylish action piece. The track sounds very much like a Barry action piece, and compliments the scene in the film perfectly. There’s a nice take on the Bond theme in this track, also.

Track 08: Whispering Statues
Perhaps one of the most original tracks of the 90’s Bond music, also. Definitely very different than what we’ve heard pre-1995, and sets the mood of the scene very well.

“Tomorrow Never Dies”

– Track 14: Bike Shop Fight
One of his finest tracks. The opening cues really set the mood of the scene, and the music following compliments the location of Saigon.

– Track 15: Kowloon Bay
Though not a very romantic scene in the film, it’s a very romantic piece. Shame he couldn’t have done more like this with “Casino Royale”.

“The World Is Not Enough”

– Track 09: Elektra’s Theme
Definitely one of Arnold’s finest themes of the 90’s. I wish he would’ve done something more like this with Vesper’s theme in “Casino Royale”. This track is very elegant and romantic. Used through out the film, it works very well.

– Track 10: Body Double
Very synthy, but has a nice style. It’s probably one of his more stylish overly-synth pieces. It also compliments the scene in the film well, and makes for a quality stealth cue.

The Worst Tracks of the 90’s:

There are too many to name, but I’ll cover the worst of each score…

“GoldenEye”

Track 03: Ladies First
Pure trash. Sounds like the theme to a pinball game. I believe someone once stated that it sounds like it was performed by “R2-D2”.

“Tomorrow Never Dies”

Track 18: All in a Day’s Work
Very messy. The over-lapping of synth beats and noises make this a very unenjoyable track.

“The World Is Not Enough”

Track 18: Christmas In Turkey
A very poor “romantic track”. This sounds like it belongs in a soap opera, rather than Bond film. Compare this to the love themes of John Barry’s earlier scores — I think you’ll feel the same way as I do.

The Best Theme Songs of the 90’s:

  • “GoldenEye” – Tina Turner
  • “Tomorrow Never Dies” – Sheryl Crow
  • “Surrender” – K.D. Lang
  • “The World Is Not Enough” – Garbage
  • “Only Myself to Blame” – Scott Walker

I’d rank them as:

  1. GoldenEye
  2. Surrender
  3. Tomorrow Never Dies
  4. Only Myself to Blame
  5. The World Is Not Enough

Turner’s “GoldenEye” theme has to be one of the best Bond themes since Bassey’s work.

“Surrender” was another great piece by K. D. Lang; the brass was outstanding and very Bondian, reminiscent of “Goldfinger”. I think this should’ve been the main theme song.

“Tomorrow Never Dies”, by Sheryl Crow, was a quality song. I enjoyed the romantic style of it, but I could be bias here, as I’m a fan of Crow’s non-Bond work, also.

“Only Myself to Blame” is an interesting track. Performed by Scott Walker, I can definitely hear where “Elektra’s Theme” was derived from. It’s also got a slight jazzy, noir style to it.

“The World Is Not Enough” isn’t a terrible track, but I don’t think it’s outstanding either. The style and tune is interesting. I enjoy the Bondian guitar riffs and brass through out, too.

Final Thoughts:

The Bond music of the 90’s was surely a mixed bag. The 90’s Bond scores started out quite original, but ended on an unoriginal note with “The World Is Not Enough”. It seems as if Arnold has kept up with this unoriginal tradition with the release of his “Quantum of Solace” score. This decade didn’t feature many glamorous Bond themes, as John Barry once did, either. I can’t say that most of the music of this decade is memorable, either. Perhaps some of Serra’s score, and some of the theme songs … but I’d say that’s about it.

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Four Tet's "Crawl, End Crawl" – Now on iTunes

December 9, 2008

Four Tet and Sony/MGM/Columbia Pictures have finally released “Crawl, End Crawl” on iTunes. Here’s the link:

iTunes > Four Tet > “Crawl, End Crawl”

You could also access the track if you go to your iTunes store and simply submit “Crawl, End Crawl” in the Power Search

 

 

"Crawl, End Crawl" on iTunes

"Crawl, End Crawl" on iTunes

Enjoy!

Four Tet's "Crawl, End Crawl" leaked onto the net…

November 29, 2008

For all of you Four Tet fans looking to snag a download of the [up until recently] unreleased “Crawl, End Crawl” track from “Quantum of Solace”… here’s your chance. 

While I’m not at liberty to post the download links on this site, I will add that it’s been floating around numerous James Bond fan sites. Though, below, you’ll find a YouTubed video of it, which should wet your appetites.

If you really want it, get it while it’s hot… before Sony puts an end to it.

"A Quantum of Covers" for Children In Need

November 19, 2008

Article Link: BBC Oxford > Children In Need > A Quantum of Covers

 

A Quantum of Covers
The Name’s Bear, Pudsey Bear… 

The BBC Oxford team certainly like their music shaken and not stirred judging by their idea for this year’s BBC Children In Need.

It seems Nobody can do a Children In Need Event better than BBC Oxford Introducing who have brought together eleven of the best Oxfordshire bands you’ve never heard of to record their favourite Bond themes for the appeal.

The album, called a Quantum of Covers is available on iTunes and for every individual track downloaded 49p goes to Children In Need and for every album purchased £4.90 will go to the charity.

And with the likes of former Miss England Eleanor Glynn contributing to an industrial electro version of The Living Daylights with Banbury’s Sikorski to Borderville doing a glam-stomp through the Wings classic Live and Let Die, it is sure to be a hit.

Talking about the charity project and their choice of theme Nobody Does It Better, David Balch, from Witches said: “I think A Quantum of Covers is an excellent idea. Bond is an institution and the themes are such iconic songs, it’s great to be a part of it. Hopefully it’ll raise a load of cash for Children in Need’s work with disadvantaged children.”

Xmas Lights took on the challenge of the Bond theme. James Gray-King of the band commented: “It was an honour to be asked to take part in the project and a huge challenge. The main theme has been tackled by so many incredible people over the years that finding a route in and keeping it recognizable while retaining our sound was a really interesting endeavour. I am proud of what we have done and very proud that it is for a worthy cause…”

Sikorski joined forces with their own Bond girl and former Miss England Eleanor Glynn for the Living Daylights, with Jan and Darren saying: “We really enjoyed the process of reinterpreting and recording this song. It was a real challenge from the outset, but one we enjoyed and endeavoured to get right. We wanted to make it our own and not just a copy of the original, and we think we have achieved this.”

And Maria Ilett noticed how BBC Children in Need brings out the generosity in people:
“We were really excited to be asked to record a song for a Quantum of covers BBC Oxfords Children in Need album, people have been extra generous when they realised what charity the song was for- Barry and Markus from The Doghouse Studio donated their studio and engineer time! Just goes to show what a much loved charity Children In Need is.”

BBC Children in Need positively changes the lives of disadvantaged children and young people in the UK.

This theme of this year’s Appeal is Do Something Different and we are asking you to take up the challenge and help thousands more young people, here in the UK, who need our help. Doing Something Different doesn’t mean anything difficult, expensive or scary; it just means something outside of your normal routine which will help raise money.  There are lots of fun, silly and unusual ideas in our BBC Children in Need Fundraising Pack. For more information go to bbc.co.uk/pudsey or call 0345 607 3333.

Remember, for every penny raised, a penny will go towards projects helping those in need. We couldn’t do it without you, so a big Pudsey thanks in advance!

iTunes — “A Quantum of Covers”

Cover songs, especially of Bond tunes, are always interesting to listen to. Even if you buy this, and don’t like it, you’re still contributing to a good cause. If you buy this, and do like it, then I suppose it’s a win/win. I’ll definitely check it out, as it’ll make for a good piece to add to my Bond soundtrack collection. Plus, I like the idea of helping the Children In Need organization.

If you’re not interested in the music, but feel like being generous and helping out the organization, here’s their site link: 

Children In Need

lastfm.de offers "Quantum of Solace" music…

November 19, 2008

The original motion picture soundtrack to the 22nd James Bond film is now available on www.lastfm.de.

For a direct link to the “Quantum of Solace” page, click here:
lastfm.de – Quantum of Solace: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

You’re able to listen to a full-length track three times. After the three times, the music is restricted to 30 seconds, just like any regular music/download site. Become a member, and you’ll be able to add the soundtrack to your library, too. Sign up – it’s free. Have fun getting around the German, though. Luckily, the soundtrack/track titles are in English, so you shouldn’t have too much of a problem.

I thought I’d point this out to anyone interested in hearing the score, whether you’re a soundtrack collector or casual music listener.

[Special thanks to “zebrafish”, from Mi6 Forums, for the heads up]

Four Tet comment on "Crawl, End Crawl"

November 17, 2008

Musical group “Four Tet” commented on their work for the “Quantum of Solace” end credits music:

I’m getting a lot of emails asking if there is going to be a release for the track “Crawl, end crawl” that I made for the end credits of the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace. I’m afraid that I at the moment I don’t know if or when it will be released. The music from the film is owned by Sony so it’s up to them and not me what happens with the track now.

It’s not included on the soundtrack album because I was asked to do the track at a very late stage of the project and the soundtrack album had already gone into production. Anyway, hopefully they will release it at some point in the future. 

Thanks for all the messages I’ve had from people saying they like the music.

 

Original Link: http://www.fourtet.net/site/site.php?page=news 
Article Title:  CRAWL END CRAWL
Date Posted: November 17, 2008

 

Personally, I’d like them to release the track, just so I could listen to it a few more times. It made for an interesting end credit track, but more or less sounded sort of messy. It mixed themes from the score together, and was pretty repetitive, overall. I’m not complaining, though. I’m very grateful that they didn’t taint the end credits with the music from that horrible White/Keys theme song.

Soundtrack Review ::: "Quantum of Solace"

November 15, 2008

[Potential Film Spoilers Within Track Listings]

There is part of me that enjoys David Arnold’s newest addition to the Bond series. However, there’s also a part of me that wishes he’d done things a tad differently. Overall, I think this was Arnold’s best attempt at a Bond score.

The first track begins with “Time to Get Out”, which begins very dark. At first, you’d think it was very generic Arnold. However, it later explodes into pulsing strings and brass, to make a charged action piece. I can see where he’s borrowed from other Bond scores for this one, which made me a bit worried about listening to the rest of the track. However, near half-way, the song sounds, for the most part, original. Very thrilling, and action-packed.

His next track is “The Palio”, which makes for a very intense track. I do hear some borrowing and unoriginality for the most part of this song. However, I’ve heard opinions from others that claim this is a rip-off of a John Powell piece- the main chase theme from The Bourne Ultimatum score. I have all of the Bourne scores, and did a little comparison myself. I really can’t hear it. Yeah, I’m sure you could sit there and pick up tiny cues that sound similar… and yeah, they’re both action pieces. Other than that, it’s not a rip-off. If Arnold ripped-off anyone here, then he ripped-off himself. Music from Die Another Day seems to haunt this score.

“Inside Man” was the first great track from the score. It’s just a very stylish and cool theme, and I love the use of the guitar. It’s very effective. No complaints with this, or it’s clone that shows up later in the score. All I can describe it with is the word “cool.”

“Bond in Haiti” is a bit messy, to me. It starts off with some Haitian beats and noises, which worked well. Later on, a guitar comes in, and it just doesn’t seem to mix well with the beats. I just don’t care for it.

“Somebody Wants To Kill You” is an interesting track. I like the string instruments, and the wood-winds. I didn’t care for the brass and that over-powering synth beat that came later in the track. That theme sounds really cheesy and cheap. It sounds like something you’d hear in a xXx action film, other than Bond. I suppose for the rest of this track, I was rather disappointed. The tense strings weren’t done well at 1:16. They sound too fake. Later on, we get a bit of musical continuity… or perhaps unoriginality? You decide. It sounds a lot like the airport music from Casino Royale.

Track six, or “Greene and Camille”, is nothing too special. It begins like a typical Arnold suspense/dark piece. The wind instrument used in this just doesn’t fit. It doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t sound good to me. I didn’t care for that. The rest of this track is nothing special. Sounds a bit like the suspenseful/dark themes from Casino Royale, or Die Another Day. When it comes to re-listening to this score, this’ll be a track to skip over.

“Pursuit at Port Au Prince” reeks of Die Another Day. As a matter of fact, the techno/synth action pieces in this track are very much like “Iced, Inc.”, from the Die Another Day score. At first, he starts out with this new guitar that he’s introduced with this score. It sounds all right. I think it works sometimes, and other times it doesn’t. Behind the guitar is a bit of brass. However, then we break out to pure techno crap. The techno loops and synth beats sound incredibly terrible. What a disappointment, too, as this chase scene in the film will probably be great. There is a ray of hope at the end of this track, though. The crap ends, and we hear that stylish guitar theme from the “Inside Man” track. Very Bondian. It’s accompanied by some strings and a faint drum beat. It works great at the end. I suppose you could say this track isn’t 100% crap.

“No Interest in Dominic Greene” opens up with an interesting tune. Dark and subtle, and I enjoy it. The rest of the track includes winds, brass, and of course, some synth effects. It’s not a bad track, yet it’s nothing special.

I can’t really understand how everyone enjoys “Night at the Opera”. I’ll give Arnold points for originality. Other than that, it’s really not anything special, either. Mixed with the film, I’m sure it’ll be great though. The strings are a nice touch, though. I enjoy them in this track.

“Restrict Bond’s Movements” doesn’t offer too much. It seems as this is simply a track to mix with events in the film. Looking at it from that perspective, I think it’ll fit well, given that the scene is fit for the track.

“Talamone” is a favorite of mine from this score. It’s like an Italian version of the film’s main theme, and I think it’ll work well. The track is very short, and seems as if it’s meant for a small travel/transition scene. I think it’ll work great.

“What’s Keeping You Awake” doesn’t offer too much, musically. We do get to hear the return of Vesper’s theme, though. It’s good that Arnold’s keeping up with the musical continuity.

Meant to be another, I believe, transition track, “Boloivian Taxi Ride” offers a very subtle South American version of the Bond theme. All of the beats and strings work well. No major complaints here.

Yet another very short track, “Field Trip” offers a quality version of the Bond theme. It’s quite sylish, and I almost want to say that it’s quite Barry-esque towards the end. No techno/synth effects here. All in all, pretty well done.

I smell, or rather hear, Die Another Day once again in the following track. “Forgive Yourself” opens up with some synth effects that take me back to “Iced, Inc.” Later on, we hear some piano, and more synth noises. The track doesn’t offer much.

“DC3” includes some subtle sounds at the beginning, and later breaks out into a synth beat/brass mixture. Once again, I’m taken back to the sounds of Die Another Day. The guitar in the background makes for a good musical effect, though.

“Target Terminated” takes me to the final pieces of music used in Die Another Day. Are we noticing a pattern here? I sure am. Thanks to the wonderful iTunes program, I’m able to hop away from this track, to the Die Another Day score in another playlist, to parallel the tracks. Very similar, in my opinion. Overall, in this track, there’s too much techno for my taste. I don’t care for it too much.

In a way, “Camille’s Story” takes me back to Michael Kamen’s Licence To Kill, for some reason. I really enjoy the strings used here, and the guitar… or is that a mandolin? It’s most likely David Arnold’s keyboard. However, it makes for a nice theme, and “Vesper’s Theme” is hinted at the very end of the song, with a short piano bit.

“Oil Fields” includes a nice Bond theme, recycled from “The Vanish”. Of course, that track is from Arnold’s expanded score for… you guessed it: Die Another Day. It’s actually good to hear this theme being re-used though, and low on the techno sounds. It works well in this track.

“Have You Ever Killed Someone” brings back the opening theme from “Jinx Jordan”, and a major theme from Die Another Day. Of course, it’s re-worked a tad, but any avid Bond score listener with the right ear can figure this out. After this, it breaks into some drums, which work well, I think. We start hearing this major guitar that keeps showing up in the score. That works well, too. Brass is introduced, also.

“Perla De Las Dunas” has its ups and downs. It’s the longest track from the score, and contains quite a bit of music. It opens up with some subtle themes, which are done well. We hear the guitar come into play, along with some brass. This also works well. At 2:40, my favorite piece of the song plays out. This brass theme really reminds me of a John Barry piece… I see it as a modern day version of the chase music used in “Battle at Piz Gloria”, from the On Her Majesty’s Secret Service soundtrack. I REALLY enjoy this theme, and it’s a shame that it only has a short running time in this track. After this, we get some typical Arnold music. Synth effects, which sounds too much like the music used at the end of Die Another Day.

“The Dead Don’t Care About Vengeance” starts to conclude this soundtrack. Again, we hear the very stylish guitar theme that began in the “Inside Man” track, along with some Bondian beats that can be heard in the back ground. It’s a very stylish theme that helps to end this score.

Finally, “I Never Left” leaves us with a very sympathetic and affectionate track. “Vesper’s Theme” returns for a moment and the soundtrack ends. Well, actually, it leaves us with that Keys/White mess of a Bond theme, which I won’t bother going into.

Final thoughts:
This soundtrack shows us that Arnold is attempting something new… for the time being, at least. The introduction of a very bold guitar was something I enjoyed about this score. Actually, it made some of the tracks seem plain-old cool. However, as I clearly pointed out, Arnold needs to work on his originality. Much of this score seemed to borrow from Die Another Day. In a way, this is alright, considering that he’s giving some decent themes another chance. On the other hand, it shows that he’d rather return to another score, scrape some themes from it, and then re-work it into the new score. If I listen to my favorite Bond score, You Only Live Twice, I don’t hear John Barry doing this. In other words, I think there are a lot of improvements to be made in David Arnold’s music.

Do I want Arnold back? Well, I think the Bond producers have pretty much decided that he’ll be the Bond music man for a while now. However, I’m actually interested in hearing his next Bond score. He took a new direction, and a step ahead with this score, in a way, despite some unoriginality… so, perhaps with the next score, he’ll improve, and take another new and refreshing approach to the James Bond score. I was glad to hear Arnold use more than one theme, though he may have been forced. We were given Vesper’s Theme, along with the Quantum theme, and of course Bond’s theme.

Is the score brilliant? By no means.

Is it better than his previous works? Perhaps.

I enjoyed it a lot more than Casino Royale and The World Is Not Enough. Though he borrowed much from Die Another Day, it was good to hear it being worked in a better manner. So, you could say I like it more than that score, too.

In summary, I’m going out on a limb here and saying this is Arnold’s best Bond score. No, we don’t hear much of the Bond theme, and yes, he still uses his synth crap. However, I hold it higher than Tomorrow Never Dies because it isn’t as pumped with synth, and contains more stylish themes and melodies.

This is Arnold’s beginning of redemption, for me. I hope he really makes some great music for the next film, while staying away from synth and keeping things original.

We shall see… or hear, rather.

Quantum of Solace: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Composed by David Arnold

Released by J-Records

October 28, 2008

Now available on Amazon.com