How Does the Music for Skyfall Compare to Previous Bond Themes?
With the blockbuster Skyfall safely in the rearview mirror, I thought it might be appropriate to think about where Adele’s ‘Skyfall’ theme stands amidst the many other James Bond music. It really did blow me away, as it did with many other people. I think it was because, stylistically, it was truly representative of what both the movie and the genre itself are. A great Bond theme isn’t just a great song; it reflects the raw, tense nature of the films. The music for ‘Skyfall’ did just that, and I will probably love Adele for eternity because of it. But was it the best? What past themes could possibly compare? Why, I’m going to tell you, of course! Now, don’t let me stop you from stocking up on Adele sheet music; I’m just saying, while you’re at it, why not take a look at some of these other master pieces of the genre:
“Diamonds are Forever and Goldfinger,” Shirley Bassey
I list these two together because they are very similar in style to Skyfall. Bassey also performed the title song to Moonraker, but that one didn’t quite hit, in my opinion. Diamonds are Forever, on the other hand, is the best James Bond theme there has ever been, which lines up well with the fact that it is, quite possibly, the best Bond film. The movie brought back Sean Connery (after a regrettable hiatus in which George Lazenby played the English spy) as well as Bassey’s golden voice. The song, like the movie, was a tour de force that closed down the storied tenure of Sean Connery.
“For Your Eyes Only,” Sheena Easton
The Roger Moore Bond movies seemed to have some difficulty understanding themselves and the accompanying songs tended to reflect
that. They had a habit of calling back the old Connery themes, though with much less success. The exception, however, was this beautiful piece. Easton shines in a way that so many others can only try to imitate (with mostly poor results). It was a nearly perfect song, but in a sense, it still seemed to miss the true spirit of the Roger Moore Era. Which leads me to:
“Dance Into the Fire (from A View to a Kill),” Duran Duran
Bear with me on this one. It’s a bit of a wild departure from the norm, but I think, with this song, the Roger Moore era finally figured itself out (just in time to bring in Timothy Dalton for the next movie). It wanted to be hip, and cool in a different way than the Connery iteration. In the music sense, though, most of the songs kind of just borrowed the style and went on with it. ‘Live and Let Die’ aside, nothing really touched the times as well as the genre. ‘Dance Into the Fire’ actually captured the kind of change that the writer’s were looking for. It was ‘with it’, relevant, but still kind of desperate for some kind of approval, so I’ll just give them mine! In the struggle to stay hip, however, it became evident that, in Moore’s case, they were going to need a hip replacement (double entendre, get it? Haha, he was old).
“The Living Daylights,” A-ha
No, I’m totally kidding. That song was terrible…
“You Know My Name (from Casino Royale),” Chris Cornell
This one is a no brainer, in my eyes. Casino Royale revamped the franchise and ‘You Know My Name’ did the same for the music. After the line of forgettable themes that accompanied Dalton and Pierce Brosnan, this song, much like the movie, turned everything around. The voice is reminiscent of the old school lounge sound employed by Tom Jones in Thunderball, but the music is a mixture of swing elements and modern alternative rock. In my opinion, it simultaneously harkens back to the themes of old while staying fresh and new; just like the movie.
Of course, that’s just my opinion. What’s your favorite Bond theme?