PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The new Bond song has landed – but is it any good? Fans of the James Bond film franchise and musicians here have given “Skyfall”, the new theme tune sung by British pop diva Adele, mixed reviews.

The frontman of home-grown indie- rock band Electrico, Dave Tan, 36, says: “I’ve always been a fan of the James Bond films. Adele has done a great job of resurrecting that classic, regal Bond sound which I love.”

“Skyfall” was released last week and is available online on video-sharing site YouTube. It opens with lush strings playing a sustained note, before melancholic chords from a piano kick in and Adele soulfully sings: “This is the end/Hold your breath and count to 10…”

The song has all the features of a Bond theme: slow, dramatic melody, cinematic strings and breathy vocals. Adele’s rendition is fully aware of the over-the-top glamour of the 007 franchise.

But Caleb Lye, 34, frontman of alternative band Another Sunday Afternoon, says: “It starts off with some intrigue but peters off when it really should have exploded into a climax.”

He says the lyrics are “all right”. Admitting that past Bond songs are not exactly known for being poetry, he adds: “I expected Bond lyrics to show a bit of mystique, even though history suggests otherwise.”

On social media, The Straits Times readers weighed in on the new song via the ST Facebook page.

One Facebook user, Tan Hai Woo, described Skyfall as “bringing us to the early James Bond era”. He pointed to previous theme songs such as Welsh singer Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971), American singer-songwriter Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” (1977) and American singer Rita Coolidge’s “All Time High” (1983).

The new Skyfall movie, directed by Sam Mendes, stars Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes. It opens here Nov 1.


PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Adele’s “Skyfall” has big shoes to fill, given that it is the 21st Bond theme song.
Naturally, it will be compared to iconic Bond hits such as Nancy Sinatra’s “You Only Live Twice” (1967).

Online reviews have been kind, calling “Skyfall” a success compared with recent, less memorable Bond themes. In particular, they point to gritty rock ditty “Another Way To Die” by Alicia Keys and Jack White (Quantum Of Solace, 2008) and rock anthem “You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell (Casino Royale, 2006).

As The Los Angeles Times describes these songs: “They take themselves too seriously, they slap some strings on guitars and their vocalists try their hardest to sing through manufactured pain.”

Other reviews found Skyfall’s lyrics to be “dire” and cheesy, citing the main chorus: “Let the sky fall/when it crumbles/we will stand tall/face it all together.”
But who can forget Bassey’s theme song Goldfinger (1965) with choice soundbites such as “Goldfinger/He’s the man, the man with the Midas touch/A spider’s touch/ Such a cold finger/Beckons you to enter his web of sin/But don’t go in.”

Indeed, campy and cheesy lyrics may be another key element of a Bond theme, says songwriter-playwright Dick Lee.

Lee, 55, who gave “Skyfall” the thumbs- up, says: “A Bond theme song would have to have cheesy lyrics and be over-the-top because it talks about a man whose life is so impossibly fraught with danger.

“He lives to the hilt and the song should reflect that.”

BOND THEME SONGS

1963: “From Russia With Love” (Matt Monroe)

1964: “Goldfinger” (Shirley Bassey)

1965: “Thunderball” (Tom Jones)

1967: “You Only Live Twice” (Nancy Sinatra)

1971: “Diamonds Are Forever” (Shirley Bassey)

1973: “Live And Let Die” (Paul McCartney)

1974: “The Man With The Golden Gun” (Lulu)

1977: “The Spy Who Loved Me” (Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better)

1979: “Moonraker” (Shirley Bassey)

1981: “For Your Eyes Only” (Sheena Easton)

1983: “Octopussy” (Rita Coolidge – All Time High)

1985: “A View To A Kill” (Duran Duran)

1987: “The Living Daylights” (A-ha)

1989: “Licence To Kill” (Gladys Knight)

1995: “Goldeneye” (Tina Turner)

1997: “Tomorrow Never Dies” (Sheryl Crow)

1999: “The World Is Not Enough” (Garbage)

2002: “Die Another Day” (Madonna)

2006: “Casino Royale” (Chris Cornell – You Know My Name)

2008: “Quantum Of Solace” (Jack White and Alicia Keys – Another Way To Die)

2012: “Skyfall” (Adele)

This story was first published on October 14, 2012 on StraitsTimes.com. To read more: http://sph.straitstimes.com/archive/sunday/premium/lifestyle/story/skyfall-song-stirs-critics-20121014