Nov 25, 2017

Expanded DIE ANOTHER DAY Soundtrack

La-La Land Records, the company behind such spy fan favorites as the Mission: Impossible television soundtrack box set and this year's fantastic Wild Wild West TV soundtrack, has announced the first authorized, expanded release in fifteen years of any James Bond score that isn't called Casino Royale. And it might seem at first like a surprising title to get that treatment: the 2002 Pierce Brosnan movie Die Another Day, scored by David Arnold. While relatively few fans would put forth Die Another Day as one of the series' best entries, I've always enjoyed Arnold's score in the film. The original soundtrack album, however (issued on the Warner label), was disappointing, as it left off many of my favorite pieces, instead squandering precious data space on "enhanced CD" frills like two music videos, a music video making-of, and a "James Bond Poster Gallery." So, personally, I welcome an expanded Die Another Day score! Especially since this one contains the track I've most wanted ever since crashing the movie's Los Angeles premiere: "Cuban Car," Arnold's spectacular, Cuban-tinged take on the James Bond Theme that plays when 007 drives a 1957 Ford Fairlane out of Havana. But La-La Land's 2-disc release contains a lot more new music than just that track.

Featuring more than an hour of never-before-released score music, the whole album runs over 148 minutes (48 tracks compared to the original release's 15)--longer than the run time of the film itself. This is because it includes alternate versions and different mixes, and even orchestra-only versions of tracks that were originally fortified with a lot of 2002-appropriate electronica. The mixture of "the time-honored romance and swagger of classic Bond," as the press release puts it, and "cutting-edge electronics" (a mixture first brought to the series by John Barry on his final Bond score, The Living Daylights) was a particular specialty of Arnold's at this time, and for those of us steeped in the electronica of the era (the sound of my college years!), it was thrilling. He first tantalized us with the Propellerheads collaboration "Backseat Driver" in the largely traditional Tomorrow Never Dies, then fully committed to the electronica sound in his second score, The World Is Not Enough and its signature instrumental "Ice Bandits." Die Another Day was probably his most even balance of traditional and electronic, before (appropriately) taking the series back to its more classic sound with the 2006 Daniel Craig reboot Casino Royale. One of Arnold's particular skills is the ability to create a score that completely captures its time (in this case 2002), but in a timeless manner that doesn't sound instantly dated (like the aural cocaine of Bill Conti's disco-infused For Your Eyes Only).

Produced by David Arnold and Neil S. Bulk (a dyed-in-the-wool Bond fan as well an expert in his field), and mastered by Doug Schwartz from new transfers of analog stereo tapes provided by the composer, La-La Land promises, "this 2-CD deluxe presentation showcases Arnold’s score in a revelatory fashion that’s sure to leave listeners shaken and stirred in the best possible way!" It also features in-depth liner notes by Tim Greiving, "including new comments by the composer." Strictly limited to 5,000 units and retailing for $29.98, the double-disc album will be available to order from the La-La Land website as of noon Pacific Time on Monday, November 28--just in time for the holidays and making the perfect stocking stuffer for the Bond fan in your life. ("I thought Christmas only comes once a year!" Sorry; wrong Brosnan movie.)

Here's the full track listing for La-La Land's 2-disc, expanded Die Another Day:

Disc 1 (Score Presentation)
1. On the Beach (extended version)**† 3:56
2. Bond Meets Moon* / Hovercrafts* 2:16
3. How Do You Intend to Kill Me Now, Mr. Bond?* 2:02
4. Hovercraft Chase† 3:48
5. Bond to Jail* :49
6. Some Kind of Hero? 4:32
7. Kiss of Life*† 4:46
8. Peaceful Fountains of Desire* 1:05
9. What’s In it For You?* / Cuba* 1:21
10. Cuban Car*† :50
11. Jinx Jordan 1:28
12. Jinx & James 2:03
13. Wheelchair Access*† 2:22
14. Jinx, James and Genes* 5:14
15. Gustav Graves’ Grand Entrance*† 1:34
16. Blades*† 3:12
17. Bond Gets the Key* / Virtual Reality*† 2:01
18. The Vanish* / Bond Goes to Iceland*† 2:10
19. The Explanation* 1:36
20. Icarus 1:23
21. Ice Spy*† 3:00
22. A Touch of Frost 1:50
23. Laser Fight 4:36
24. It Belongs to His Boss* / Double Agent* 2:34
25. Whiteout† 4:55
26. Bond Kidnaps Skidoo*† 2:29
27. Iced Inc.† 3:08
28. Ice Palace Car Chase*† 4:57
Total disc 1 time = 76:47

Disc 2 (Score Presentation Continued)
1. Switchblades*† 3:23
2. Antonov 11:51
3. Antonov Gets It*† 3:20
4. Moneypenny Gets It* 1:11
5. Going Down Together 1:32
Total score time = 98:04

Additional Music
6. On the Beach† 2:50
7. Hovercraft Chase (film version)**† 3:47
8. Some Kind of Hero? (film version)** 4:32
9. Peaceful Fountains of Desire (alternate ending)* 1:06
10. What’s In it For You? (orchestra only)* :41
11. Welcome to Cuba 2:07
12. Jinx Jordan (orchestra only)** 1:28
13. Jinx & James (film version)** 2:07
14. Wheelchair Access (original version)*† 2:22
15. Party Trick (source)* 1:37
16. A Touch of Frost (film version)** 1:50
17. Laser Fight (film version)** 4:38
18. Whiteout (full mix)**† 4:55
19. Antonov (film version)** 11:51
20. James Bond Will Return*† 3:54
Total additional music = 49:45
Total disc 2 time = 71:43
Total album running time = 148:30

* Previously unreleased
** Contains previously unreleased material
† Contains “James Bond Theme” written by Monty Norman

Not included, you'll notice, are the dreadful title song by Madonna (my personal least favorite of the series... which isn't to say I don't own the single, with its six club remixes!) or "Bond Vs. Oakenfold," Paul Oakenfold's remix of The James Bond Theme (somewhat lacking in comparison to the awesome Moby "re-version" of just five years earlier), so you completists may want to hang onto your original Warner Bros. soundtrack album as well. (The music video making-of is actually pretty good, too, as much as I disapprove of such content on CDs, and I don't believe it's included on the Die Another Day Blu-ray.)

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