Tomorrow marks the US release of the 23rd James Bond film Skyfall. I have always been a big fan of the James Bond movies, ever since I was little kid. Much like myself (Ha!) he was so cool, suave, handsome, deadly, sophisticated, sexy, and just plain awesome. The movies always involved fast cars, gorgeous women, state of the art gadgets, and great title sequences. I feel the art of a great title sequence has been lost over the years. From time to time we still get a good one, but to me the Bond films opening sequences were always great. After the initial gun barrel sequence and the classic James Bond theme there is usually a small bit of action that fades into the opening credits, and theme song.
Skyfall’s theme was penned by Adele and producer/songwriter Paul Epworth. It was recorded at Abbey Road Studios and features a 77 piece orchestra. From the opening brass swell it is everything a theme song for a James Bond film should be. It starts almost demure and sly, quiet even. A lone piano starts the song off, and is then merges together with Adele’s amazing voice. I love the way she sings this song, the quality of her voice is so great. It’s less raspy and smoky than some of the songs on her hit album 21 and really fits this piece well. Strings slowly blend in as the song builds to the first chorus. It just sounds like a Bond song from the get go.
There’s some really great, classic elements of the music of James Bond in this song. In the break right after the first chorus there’s the instantly recognizable 4 note phrase from the main theme. For the just the briefest of moments there’s also the sound of someone sliding their hand down the string of a surf guitar and I almost expect the song to include the classic guitar riff from the main theme (think dum di-di dum dum). It’s so subtle and I didn’t hear the first dozen times I listened to this song, but I love they way it pays tribute to John Barry’s arrangement of Monty Norman’s work used in the first film Dr. No, and the countless arrangements spanning the last 50 years.
There’s not a whole lot bigger than Adele right now. Her album 21 was a huge success, and 19 was really good too. For someone so young she has really left a huge mark on music in the beginning of the 21st century. Her voice is so evocative, able to stir even the most leaden of souls. What she has written for Skyfall is pretty great, and is very fitting for the Daniel Craig version of James Bond. His character has so much inner turmoil, something we haven’t seen in the Bonds of the past. Adele’s voice and style compliments this so well that Daniel Craig himself admitted that it brought tears to his eye the first time he heard it. I have to respect anything that can make James Bond himself get a little weepy.