The history of themes to James Bond films is a storied one. From Shirley Bassey’s brassy “Goldfinger” to Paul McCartney’s hard rocking “Live and Let Die,” Duran Duran’s synthy “A View to a Kill” to Tina Turner’s slinky “Goldeneye,” the track designated to play over the opening credits to the latest 007 cinematic adventure has often climbed the charts, standing on its own as a pop hit.
Well, for a while, anyway. Since Turner’s take on Bond in 1995, only Madonna’s “Die Another Day” has managed to break through as a standalone hit, and even then, I dare you to try humming Madge’s techno tune from memory. Otherwise, the dashing British secret agent has lately been saddled with overwrought and quickly forgotten music from some usually reliable hitmakers, including Sheryl Crow, Chris Cornell, Jack White, and Alicia Keys.
It is with that sad preamble that I invite you to feast your ears on the newest James Bond theme, “Skyfall,” written by Adele and her “Rolling in the Deep” collaborator Paul Epworth for Sam Mendes-directed film that hits stateside Nov. 9. It’s the Grammy-winning artist’s first song since her mega-hit album 21, not to mention her pregnancy announcement, and it does not disappoint. Note: The official version is much longer than the radio version leaked earlier today. Check it out below:
Beyond its lush cinematic sweep, I’m most impressed by how the lyrics manage to work as a classically composed torch song while also evoking what appears to be the inciting incident of the film: Daniel Craig’s James Bond plummeting from a gunshot into the river below.
What are your first impressions? Do you think this track has the juice to be the first Bond theme to hit No. 1 since Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill”?