Sep 25, 2015

The SPECTRE Title Song by Sam Smith is Here! Listen Now!

Today Sam Smith released "The Writing's On the Wall," his theme song for the latest James Bond movie, SPECTRE. Hm. It will take me a few more listens to form a real opinion. But on first listen, it doesn't strike me as a disaster, like Madonna's "Die Another Day," nor brilliant, like Chris Cornell's "You Know My Name" from Casino Royale. It certainly sounds Bondian, and that's a good thing anyway. It's lush and epic, which is nice, but still feels like it's lacking something. I'm not really familiar with Smith as an artist, but I'm not crazy about his aggressive falsetto. Then again, I wasn't crazy about Adele's "Skyfall" the first time I heard it, and I came to love that song. So we'll have to see. (Danny Kleinman's visuals can do wonders for a Bond song, too.) Anyway, have a listen! It should be available for purchase digitally later today, and the CD single is available for pre-order on Amazon, but not due out for another month. The SPECTRE soundtrack, featuring Thomas Newman's second Bond score, is also available for pre-order, and due out November 13, a whole week after the film hits cinemas.


night person said...

The falsetto would not bother me if it we not so heavily leaned upon. Less is more. Reveal it and use it sparingly for greater effect.

My real problem with the song is the lyrics. They are so on the nose. The rhymes are laughable. The narrative is so trite.

Oh well. You can't win them all. Or most of them.

David Morefield said...

At least we know he wasn't lying when he said he wrote it in 20 minutes.

Underwhelming overall, but the orchestration is great and here and there very Barry-esque. If this is a hint of what Newman's going to do with the rest of the film, I'm excited.

Pinning a lot of hopes on Kleinman's graphics to keep us all from being sung to sleep, here.

Bob said...

Good Barry sounding orchestration, but that falsetto voice. Oh my! He must have been wearing his tightie whities when recording.

Baskingshark said...

Well there's a first. The first time I have ever hit the stop button on a Bond theme barely a quarter of the way through and thought "I don't want to listen to the rest of this."

Quite an achievement, considering Another Way to Die exists.

Tanner said...

Agree, Night Person, that the falsetto could have worked if deployed sparingly. I don't have anything against falsetto in Bond songs (it worked fine for a-ha in TLD), but not so overwhelmingly used!

Listening to it more, I just find it frustrating. Because I really like some parts of it, like when he sings "If I risk it all!" around 1:17 in a normal voice. But then as soon as the falsetto comes in shortly after that, it ruins it.

But I have to say, Baskingshark, I think I'd still rank it ahead of Another Way to Die. (And I'm a big fan of those musicians, unlike Sam Smith! I still think Alicia Keys, like Madonna, probably has a great Bond song in her. We just haven't heard it.) And I CERTAINLY rank it higher than the likes of DAD! I think it's more forgettable than aggressively terrible.

But that non-stop falsetto bugs me more and more each time I see it.

Tanner said...

Here's a thought: what if the Radiohead rumors weren't entirely false, and there's a second song on the end credits, like TND or TLD? We haven't seen the soundtrack track list yet. It's unlikely, I know, but with a song like this it would sure be nice to have a "Surrender" or "If There Was a Man" to balance it out! (Not an "Experience of Love" though. Please, never an "Experience of Love!" That GE closer still ranks for me as the worst vocal ever heard in a Bond movie--even below FYEO's "Make It Last All Night!")

Baskingshark said...

Felt maybe I was being unfair so tried again. Made it all the way through this time. Just.

I am sorry, but this. Song. Is. Just. Awful. The horns and crescendos sound like a cliched pastiche of much, much better themes from the past, tacked onto the song as an afterthought. There is no tune, the lyrics are just dismal and the song is not sung, it is whined. I remember when You Know My Name came out and everyone complained about it so they punched it up for the credits with a remix. They had better do the same here.

ITA that in spite of the talent of those involved Another Way to Die is pretty bad, but I would still rank it better than this. IMO, at least they were trying to do something original with it. It was an attempt at something new and current. It didn't really work, but it gets points from me for effort.

I really don't want to sound too troll-like so I'm trying to find something positive to say about SS and TWOTW, but beyond the fact that it's (theoretically) a nice change up to have a solo male vocalist doing the theme again, I honestly can't find anything. Tom Jones' fabulous booming Thunderball vocals would blast SS into oblivion. Couldn't they have brought him back a la Shirley Bassey?! Honestly, I would rather have Johnny Cash's mad country Thunderball theme than this. Actually, I would rather have LULU back again than this!

ETA: I just saw your last comment and yes, that is one saving grace of this song - I forgot about The Experience of Love (perhaps I blocked it out of my mind!) and it is indeed better than that! You are totally correct that that is easily the worst vocal in any Bond film ever, and it would really take some doing to record something worse! And I so hope you're right about Radiohead and that this will be another case like Tomorrow Never Dies, with a cool, punchy end credits song to make up for a lame title track.