Nov 16, 2012

Music of James Bond Book Signing Tonight in Los Angeles

Attention Los Angeles area Bond fans: you can pick up a copy of Jon Burlingame's new book The Music of James Bond and get it signed by the author tonight at the Barnes & Noble at The Grove. The event begins at 7pm, with a discussion followed by a signing. See the store's website for more information.


Bob said...

This might be the place to talk about Thomas Newman's score to Skyfall.

Basically, I was okay with the score in the film context but was disappointed when listening to the soundtrack CD.

Gone in this score are the rich romantic melodic themes that John Barry would compose, sometimes up to three different themes in one film (OHMSS for example). The main title theme would be woven through his film scores using various tempos. Look what Barry did with one theme in The Ipcress File. Instead in Skyfall, we get a pulsing techno score, heavy with percussive rhythms. Location flavor is added to these rhythms in certain scenes. When listening to 30 cuts of this rhythmic techno score it becomes slightly tedious.
There is no identity to the score linking it to any character. The scene with the death of a major character is rather cold and unemotional. The audience reacted once to the score with the arrival of the Aston Martin DB5 and the James Bond theme.

Again, while watching the film's action and suspense scenes, I thought the score was competent. But listening to the 30 tracks of the CD, you might find yourself humming the romantic themes of John Barry.

Tanner said...

Good assessment, Bob. I think I agree overall with most of what you say, but I still like Newman's score more than you do. I heard it on CD before hearing it in the film, and that was a mistake. I was let down by all the electronics. But in the movie, I think it all works pretty well. After seeing it, it's given me a new appreciation of the CD as a listen, too. It definitely sounds contemporary, but it's far better than a lot of the flavorless, generic action scores out there today.

That said, you make an excellent point about the lack of themes. I would have loved some good orchestral themes to counter all the furious percussive rhythms. David Arnold is always reliable for providing the two in equal measure, and I would have really loved to have heard what he or, even better, John Barry, would have come up with for that scene you allude to! Because you're right: that's one moment that definitely could have stood for a sweeping Barry-type melody.