Archive for the ‘The 1990's’ 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.