As much a part of the movie as the main man himself, James Bond theme tunes are always the source of endless discussion and dissection. Over the years, the franchise has gifted us with some amazing classics, such as “Goldfinger” and “Live and Let Die” and also some less memorable ones (or maybe ones that we’d prefer to forget) such as “Another Way to Die” (Quantam of Solace) and “Moonraker”, which failed to make either the UK or U.S charts.
The last Bond theme, "Skyfall" performed by Adele, charted at number 2 in the UK (8 in the U.S), and was widely viewed in a very positive light. Written by Adele and Paul Epworth, the song won the Oscar for Best Song as well as the Golden Globe and Brit Award. Looking to at least emulate its success, Sam Smith has now released the 24th Bond theme for the upcoming Spectre, entitled “Writing’s On The Wall”. You can listen to the song, below.
The song made its debut on the BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show, with Smith telling host Nick Grimshaw that he hasn’t felt any pressure until the last few days, when he’s started to worry what people will think of it. “Writing’s On The Wall” is written by Smith and Jimmy Napes, and the singer previously revealed it only took 20 minutes to complete. Smith becomes the first male solo artist to record a Bond theme since 1965, and potentially could be the first ever Bond theme artist to score a UK number one with his release, though Smith said that was unlikely:
“I don’t think it’s a number one friendly song if you know what I mean. Who knows, but I don’t think it will at all, but I’m not looking for that.”
In another interview with Hey U Guys, which you can watch above, Smith said his only intention for the song is that people recognize it as a Bond theme.
“I hope people aren’t expecting me to bring out a big pop song, because that’s not what I wanted to do. I wanted to bring out something timelessly classic that works with the film. I hope people listen to it and say ‘That’s Bond.’ That’s what I want.”
You can now listen to "Writing's On The Wall" on Spotify, via the player below:
Early reactions to "Writings On the Wall" have been mixed, with some people taking to Twitter to declare it bland, screechy, and boring. Others, meanwhile, are calling it the best song of 2015 - everything a Bond theme should be in fact - and saying they got goose bumps listening to Smith’s voice bring the Spectre theme to life.
"Writing's On The Wall" is high pitched in parts, but that just serves to emphasise what an incredible vocalist Smith is. The track is soaring, yet remarkably restrained, as well as elegant and sophisticated in presentation. There are hints of melancholy, mystery and intrigue, which could well give us a clue to the nature of the film, and the lyrics are emotional. Smith’s song makes no mention of "Spectre", but in fairness it sometimes feels a bit clunky when James Bond theme songs try to work in their respective movie's title in, anyway.
Overall, "Writing's On The Wall" is undeniably Bond-esque - and if that’s all Smith set out to achieve, then it’s fair to say he’s done his job quite well.
Spectre will be released in UK theaters on October 26th, 2015; it opens in the U.S. shortly thereafter, on November 6th.