Counting Down to Bond: Top 5 Themes

I am seeing Spectre next Wednesday so thought it was a good time to pick out my favorite Bond themes. I haven’t heard Sam Smith’s theme yet and won’t till I go to the film. My criteria to make top 5 theme are below:

  • It has to sound like a Bond theme
  • Bonus points if it actually relates metaphorically to the Bond film plot
  • Bonus points for experimenting musically or being different from the usual theme

5. You Know My Name by Chris Cornell

I found this theme forgettable the first few times I watched the excellent Casino Royale, but each re-listen it gets better and better. It sounds different to what we expect of a Bond theme, but Chris Cornell’s grungier pop sound suits Craig Bond and suits the push for a more emotionally exposed Bond. I assumed that this song was from Vesper’s perspective, but since seeing Skyfall, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s from M’s.

Best lyrics:

I’ve seen angels fall from blinding heights
But you yourself are nothing so divine
Just next in line

4. Diamonds are Forever by Shirley Bassey

I know I’m being controversial not even ranking Goldfinger in my top 5, but I find it over-hyped. Yes, it’s good and yes, it started the Bond theme trend, but for my money, I actually prefer Diamonds Are Forever. The lyrics are more literal than usual, but Shirley Bassey belts this one with such power and sensuality, what’s not to love?

Best lyrics:

Diamonds are forever,
They are all I need to please me,
They can stimulate and tease me,
They won’t leave in the night,
I’ve no fear that they might desert me.

3. The World is Not Enough by Garbage

I think that The World Is Not Enough is a much maligned Bond film and it is actually one of my favorites in the franchise. Its Bond theme is excellent: a mix of old and new combined. The brassy sounds of yesteryear are combined with the indie sound of Garbage. Like the Skyfall theme, the lyrics also make a lot more sense and have more power after you watch the film. Elektra is one of the more interesting Bond girls, and the song is from her perspective.

Best lyrics:

There’s no point in living
If you can’t feel alive
We know when to kiss
And we know when to kill
If we can’t have it all
Then nobody will

2. Live and Let Die by Paul McCartney and The Wings

I have never met anyone who doesn’t like this theme. It’s a riotous blend of sounds and key changes and experimentation that shouldn’t work, but does. It sounds like the best of The Beatles. Even in the midst of all of this experimentation, Live and Let Die still sounds like a Bond theme. It had my top spot for years, but then along came Adele.

Best lyrics:

When you were young and your heart was an open book
You used to say live and let live
(You know you did, you know you did you know you did)

1.Skyfall by Adele

I managed to avoid Skyfall till I saw the film in cinemas and damn, it is good. Like the best Bond themes, it sounds better and better with each re-listen and like the best Bond themes, it combines old and new to great effect. When I reviewed Skyfall on my LiveJournal blog, I said this:

Adele’s theme song tells us the movie is about M and her relationship with Bond (though of course we can’t know that till later) and so everything that happens in the film is meant to reflect that, whilst at the same time rebooting Bond as a franchise for the modern world. My brother claims that Adele’s song is also so good because it is so mournful you almost could imagine it spells the end for James Bond as a franchise. Of course it doesn’t, but the point is, with the way the film ends, it very well could be the end just as it is a new beginning. It’s the end of something at any rate. What I loved about Skyfall was how ominous the whole thing was. You knew from almost the very first shot of M, that she was on her way out. You just didn’t know how yet.

Adele’s Skyfall sets the tone for the whole movie: a melancholic eulogy for one of the best character’s in the entire Bond franchise.

Best lyrics:

You may have my number, You can take my name
But you’ll never have my heart

Honourable Mentions: Goldfinger, Nobody Does It Better, Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies

What do you think? Am I right or horribly wrong?

About InkAshlings

Maureen, Australian, young aspiring writer.
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2 Responses to Counting Down to Bond: Top 5 Themes

  1. Cat Sheely says:

    My personal favourite is “Nobody does it better” by Carly Simon for ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ – catchy and evocative tune:

    Best lyrics:
    Nobody does it better, though sometimes I wish someone would.
    Nobody does it, half the way you do,
    Why’d you have to be so good.

    It’s so Bond and Ian Fleming.

    • InkAshlings says:

      That one is on my honourable mentions and I do love it. I was struggling between it and You Know My Name for Number 5. What other ones do you like?

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