Monday, October 13, 2008

Song, Theme Song
With the new James Bond film set to open next month (the thickly-named Quantum of Solice), there's already hype and hoopla.

This article from the London Times about Bond movie theme songs provides some material for debate.

It's tot to be hard to write a Bond theme. There are so many expectations, and so many inescapable comparisons. I mean when you go to a Bond movie, you expect certain things from the time to sit down with your popcorn until the time the final credits run. It has to begin with an exciting pre-credits thrill. Then a catchy theme song illustrated with silhouettes of naked women dancing with guns. Then the real fun begins. Even in the more serious Bond movies (the first Daniel Craig outing was one of those films that demands to be called "gritty.), you go in knowing you'll have that opening to hold on to.

The really hard part for contemporary Bond-theme-composers is that you'll never live up to Goldfinger. I know some people might argue for Live and Let Die but to me, Goldfinger is the best Bond theme ever. You just can't beat Shirley Bassey defining "over the top" with that final note. It's got everything: a catchy sound, lots of drama, great kitsch value, a solid tie-in with the plot of the film, and just great music. The worst Bond theme is more debatable. But I vote for All Time High the hideously drippy theme from the equally drippy Octopussy.

Of course, you're hampered when the title of the movie doesn't lend itself to the title, or even the chorus, of the theme song. You really couldn't have a song called "Octopussy." (According to the article, the new film has the same problem. Nobody's gonna hum a song called "Quantum of Solace.") But considering how many films there are in the Bond franchise, there are impressively few clunkers. (One disagreement I have with the article is they put "For Your Eyes Only" in the bad category and I rather like it.)

So, what's your favorite and your least? Debate people, I need a drinkie.

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