Well at least they are taking the Bond theme seriously now, after the “Quantum of Solace” track was a trainwreck. I know “You Know My Name” from “Casino Royale” got some stick but I really loved that.
James Bond theme tunes are a thing of musical legend, aren’t they? People certainly have a firm idea of what – in their minds – they SHOULD sound like. Usually this involved big orchestras, sleazy sounding brass instruments and some big notes. But this is a rather outdated template. After all, I wouldn’t put half of the theme songs from the past 30 years in this category, and even some of those are a bit tenuous (Garbage?).
So I think it’s a little unjustified to say artists are messing with a trusted formula when the exceptions number more than the rules. So I loved Madonna’s “Die Another Day” and Chris Cornell’s “You know my name” just as much as Tina Turner’s “Goldeneye” and Gladys Knight’s “Licence to kill”. But against that backdrop we attempt to dust off the old template and witness the most successful female singer in the world at the moment (on album sales at least) try to evoke the Bond spirit of old.
Adele, with comparatively tiny amounts of promo, is just coming off the back of one of the biggest selling albums of all time. With several radio smashes under her belt, who better to spearhead the launch of James Bond’s 50th anniversary and latest film?
On paper it sounds amazing. I mean, if anyone contemporary is going to take on this job and sing the hell out of it, she sounds like a dream choice. In fairness, there’s nothing wrong with the way she sings “Skyfall” (kudos for using the name too). It’s classic Adele, and is doing what she was supposed to do.
The big band are there too, of course. This week I’ve been periodically caught by a surprise attack from the opening tuba (or whatever it is). It’s got those sneaky spy-sounding riffs too, you need them. And the James Bond theme bit, check.
But it’s just the melody that lets the whole thing down by being a bit rubbish. The chorus is full of purpose, but the tune is just so lazy-sounding. I don’t want to sing along to it, it’s just a po-faced song about not much in particular. It might sell well on the strength of it being Adele (and indeed it is), but it doesn’t stand up as a very good addition to her catalogue either.
I did like the idea of it maybe reaching No.1 in the UK, something no Bond theme has done. The BBC did their usual positive reporting by merely saying it “failed to top the chart” instead of equalling the No.2 record. I hate that.
Oh and do a video, you lazy cow! The “21” campaign needed videos and you failed us! So we settle for this lyric video, even though it provides plenty of text you can’t read because of the background. D’OH