My Top 12 Favourite Bond Themes: #6 – #1

Well then. Hey guys. So…long story short, it’s been over a month since I posted the latter half of this list. I don’t really have any excuse, so I’ll just say that I’m sorry it took me this long to finish it and move on. Bond fever may have been replaced by Star Wars fever, kind of, but damn it, I’m finishing this thing before the end of 2015 if it kills me. Which, as I write this (Australian time), only gives me the rest of today. But I don’t have to go to work tonight so GO, GO, GO, GO, GO!

#6. The World Is Not Enough by Garbage

Ah, The World Is Not Enough. Arguably my favourite Brosnan Era Bond movie and (if you’ve been paying attention) my favourite Brosnan Era Bond theme! This really is as good as it got in my eyes for the Brosnan Era themes. The fact this was followed by Die Another Day is bloody tragic. That said, as another example of how hard this list was to rank, both this and GoldenEye moved up spots in this twelve (with Nobody Does It Better moving down). However, both technically moved down anyway. When I first picked a top five on Facebook, GoldenEye cracked the top five and this was the first honourable mention.

That aside, I really do love this theme. The fact this song was done by the band Garbage and yet still really feels like a Bond theme is amazing in my eyes. But, regardless, it JUST misses out on being in the top five. There is one other thing I’d like to bring up about this song, but it involves spoilers, so instead let’s just move on to the top five.

#5. Writing’s On The Wall by Sam Smith (SPECTRE)

Now this is something people are probably gonna call me out for. But remember. This is my personal list, not an “all-time best Bond themes” list where I pretend my opinion is gospel. I don’t do that shit. Anyway, with that out of my system I can safely say I very easily stand by my decision to have this song in the top five, let alone on the list at all. However, this song was actually something I changed as I started to write the entry for what WAS number five originally (For Your Eyes Only). As I started to write out THAT song’s entry I realised I could bump it up to four and justify it. Mainly because, as much as I do like Writing’s On The Wall, it took me at least two or three listens to really get into it after seeing the movie.

I was honestly pretty neutral on the song when I heard it for the first time. In a way I had a similar situation with For Your Eyes Only, but to a much lesser degree (Hence the switch). But regardless of how that turned out, I still love this song. Sam Smith did a damn fine job of it and it suits the movie perfectly. Some might say Sam singing in the first person is odd, but hell, it makes more sense than Die Another Day. Sam Smith in this song is basically summing up part of the plot of this movie from the perspective of Bond himself. And I think he pulls it off just fine.

All-in-all this is a damn great Bond theme, a good follow up to Adele’s Skyfall, and good enough for me to warrant being number five on this list.

#4. For Your Eyes Only by Sheena Easton

Now this might be a hard pill for some Bond fans to swallow. Some because I put this song this high, and others because I didn’t put it higher. Regardless of what you think, good God is this an amazing Bond theme. And by rights it shouldn’t be, should it? I mean listen to this thing. It’s a bloody pop ballad! How in the hell does a love song like this work so well as a Bond theme? Honest to God I have no idea why this works, but it just does. And in the grand scheme of things that’s all I care about. This is a damn fine song that speaks for itself. And it also happens to be the theme to what might be my favourite Roger Moore Era Bond film. If you’ve never seen it, you’re honestly missing out.

Sheena Easton does a fantastic job, but we’re getting into the final stretch now, so the competition is getting a lot fiercer. Thus, For Your Eyes Only maxes out at number four.

#3. Skyfall by Adele

Skyfall. Fucking, Skyfall. Where do I even begin? This song is damn near perfect. The 50th Anniversary theme, and a theme to a movie that honestly could’ve ended the Bond franchise on a high note. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy SPECTRE, but I still think had the franchise ended with Skyfall I would’ve been content with that. Anyway, that aside, Adele is amazing in this song. It’s as if she was born to perform a Bond theme. I’m fairly sure I was even expecting something good when I finally heard it just because her voice seemed so suited to a Bond theme.

But, as much gushing as I’m doing about this song, you’d think it would’ve either been number two or just topped the list outright. In other people’s cases it might and it this was very hard to decide after listening to them again, but, at least for now, Skyfall stays where it is.

#2. You Know My Name by Chris Cornell (Casino Royale)

As previously stated, I found myself with a dilemma. I almost came very close to dropping You Know My Name down to the number three spot and elevating Skyfall. However, in the end I found myself too conflicted to make a proper decision, and instead left them as they were, which allowed You Know My Name to retain its spot. I fucking love this song. Though the interesting thing is, there are two main versions of it. And I don’t even mean that in the sense that this is a short version and there’s a longer one (though their probably is). You Know My Name has a version like the one I’ve linked that is a lot more orchestral, and another version Chris Cornell made that is much more Hard Rock orientated. I enjoy both versions if you were wondering.

One of my favourite parts of this song is the sense this is comes off as someone telling Bond he better get his act together because he’s replaceable/expendable; which is a theme that doesn’t pop up in the movies much. Also I like how instead of trying to base the song around the movie title (which he didn’t want to do), Chris Cornell simply wrote a song with gambling references thrown in here and there. The song is much better for it. However; as good as this song is, and is easily a number one for a lot of people (including people I know), I just can’t bring myself to put it in the top spot. So just what the hell DID make the spot? Well, if you’ve read the Honourable Mentions and the bottom half of this list, you know that it has to be the only song I haven’t mentioned yet in any of these articles.

#1. You Only Live Twice by Nancy Sinatra

Ah yes. Through all the changes I made to this list over the past month or so, the one constant that I never felt to need to change was this. Out of all the themes I have to choose from, You Only Live Twice is my absolute favourite. The weird thing is, it’s kind of hard to explain why. Going by how much I gushed over the last two, you’d think this song would’ve come in third behind them. But for whatever reason I still stand behind this as my pick for number one. I guess if I had to try and explain it, it’s just that I consider it to be the most beautiful Bond theme ever composed.

And hell, there’s a LOT of competition in that department. I may have said that Skyfall was damn near perfect, but to me, You Only Live Twice is about as perfect as you can get. It’s also one of the best examples of how to write a song based around and including the title of the movie. In fact, this song is so damn good, it honestly makes me sad to realise Nancy Sinatra only ever did one of these, whilst Shirley Bassey got to do three. Though I guess there’s the potential that any she could’ve done afterwards may not have been as good as this one. So there’s that.

 

And I think that’ll do it. So, what are your favourite Bond themes? Or if you can’t pick out a few, what is your absolute favourite? If people actually comment I’ll be intrigued to see the results, as it seems this is a hotly contested topic among Bond fans. Even though some themes are more popular than others, it seems just about every theme has fans that think the one they’re talking about is the best ever (personally or generally). If it works I’ll put a poll in, but otherwise comment with your thoughts if you want to. And with this finally done, I can finally move on to other things I’ve been meaning to write. I’m Thomas Fyrehart, and I’ll see you guys in 2016. Have a happy and safe New Year everyone.

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My Top 12 Favourite Bond Themes: #12 – #7

Hello again everyone. Well, we got the honourable mentions out of the way (which, if you haven’t read yet, check them out). But before I continue on to the list proper, I want to discuss something.

Whilst trying to come up with an actual list, I noticed a trend that honestly surprised me. It seems that just about EVERY Bond theme ever made has fans who think each one is respectively the best one ever. Sure some have smaller followings than others, but it is something I noticed that intrigued me. It really goes to show, and prove, that there really is no definitive list of Bond themes. That said that’s not the purpose of this list anyway.

I know if I get any feedback/comments at all, a lot will probably just be “YOUR OPINIONS ARE BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD” for either ranking certain things lower than most people, or the fact some songs considered to be the best Bond songs ever (namely Live And Let Die & Goldfinger) aren’t even on this list. But as much as it pains me to bother with it, I will. This is solely my opinion. I am not expecting anyone to agree with it, and you’re entitled to your own opinions just as much as I am entitled to my own.

Another thing I wanted to mention, that I may have mentioned in the “Honourable Mentions” list, is this thing was fucking hard to do. However, I managed to figure it out, and even with some last minute tweaks I managed to get an order that I’m satisfied with…for now. Believe me when I say this list could change AS I’M WRITING IT. That’s how hard this is to do. So this list may change in the future. However, I’ll only do an updated list IF and only IF the list changes drastically. Otherwise this will be the only one I post.

So with that rambling out of the way, let’s get this thing started.

#12. Moonraker by Shirley Bassey

If you read the Honourable Mentions, you’d already know that I dropped the theme from Thunderball off the list. You’d also know that I called the Goldfinger theme overrated as hell. If not, now you know.  So meet the song Thunderball lost out to; the theme from Moonraker. Whilst I consider Goldfinger to be overrated, I do think Moonraker is heavily underrated. I’d never heard any mention of this song ANYWHERE before in ANY list about Bond themes. And after hearing it I’m surprised. I honest to God think this song is far better than Goldfinger.

And yes, I know, it sounds like a sappy ballad. But honestly those kinds of themes worked for Roger Moore’s Bond anyway. I still don’t know why Shirley Bassey has to refer to Moonraker as if it’s a person though, since it’s like, the name of the space station in the movie or something; but whatever, the song is great. I was honestly considering having this song a tad bit higher on the list. But I do still like the next song more, and thus Moonraker had to start off the list.

#11. Another Way To Die by Jack White & Alicia Keys
(Quantum Of Solace)

Quantum Of Solace is an underrated movie. There. I said it. I’d go into more detail, but that’s a topic for another article. Its theme, Another Way To Die, falls into a trend I seem to have. Wherein I start off not really liking a particular Bond theme at all, or only bits of it; but the more I listen to it, the more it grows on me. I mean, you can’t really blame me. Jack White & Alicia Keys is a really weird vocal combination to get used to. That said; this theme also has the distinction of being the ONLY Bond theme so far to be a duet. I find that to be quite odd for some reason. It seems like that would’ve been done well before 2008. But I digress. This theme honestly has grown on me quite a lot since I first saw Quantum Of Solace; but it still ranks quite low, through no fault of its own really. As I’ll probably keep saying throughout this entire thing, this was really hard to rank. And when it came down to it, I just don’t like this song as much as other songs on this list. Hence, it only made the number eleven spot.

#10. Tomorrow Never Dies by Sheryl Crow & Surrender by KD Lang

Ah yes. The first, and only I might add, tie on this list. And it’s two songs from the same movie no less. I’ll tackle the actual intro theme first though.


(I meant to use the proper intro, but I couldn’t find a video of it that I was satisfied with, so this will have to do)

Tomorrow Never Dies is easy enough to explain really. I’ve heard all of the Brosnan era themes since I was like 12, and surprisingly most of them hold up for me (though I never liked Die Another Day’s anyway, so go figure). But, as I’ve put all three of the Brosnan era themes that I like in this list, Tomorrow Never Dies ended up only just scratching and clawing its way into the number ten spot. Coming from Sheryl Crow of all people, this is an interesting Bond theme; but the real reason this made number ten, and wasn’t number eleven, was the song I tied it with.

Fun fact; Surrender was actually the original choice for the main theme of Tomorrow Never Dies, and thus was originally called Tomorrow Never Dies. However, forces beyond the control of the composer led to it being replaced by the Sheryl Crow song; relegating the KD Lang version to be renamed Surrender and put over the end credits. This seems to anger a lot of people, but honestly it doesn’t bother me too much; mainly because I actually like the Sheryl Crow song. I do prefer Surrender though. If anything, I’m grateful we get to hear it during the movie AT ALL, even if it is only over the end credits. It’s better than a lot of rejected main Bond theme songs get.

To reiterate, I do like both songs, hence why they’re tied. But I will admit, as Surrender is an END credits song, and not an opening credits song, this is the only way I could justify having it on there. I mean sure, I don’t specify “main themes” in the name of this list, but it’s kind of implied. So this was my way of cheating. As far as I’m concerned, it deserves better than just an honourable mention.

#9. Diamonds Are Forever by Shirley Bassey

Honestly when I first hashed a list like this out, there wasn’t a SINGLE Shirley Bassey song in this list AT ALL. But after listening back to Moonraker and Diamonds Are Forever multiple times, I figured both deserved a nod on the list. I honestly went back and forth a lot on the position of both songs. In the end though, I realised I consider Diamonds Are Forever to be the best Bond theme sung by Shirley Bassey, and so here we are.

Notable things about this song include the fact Shirley Bassey was told to sing this as if she was singing about a penis. Yes. That’s apparently an actual thing. That said, it does explain certain not-so-subtle lyrics. “Hold it up and then caress it. Touch it, stroke it and undress it”. Another thing to note is that, considering Bond is usually portrayed as being varying levels of misogynistic (pending the actor/decade), this song is ironically a woman basically saying she prefers diamonds to men, as “unlike men the diamonds linger” and “Men are mere mortals who are not worth going to your grave for”, among other such things.

I for one am neutral on such lyrics, and really I’m just going to leave it at that. But just for the sake of reiteration. Yes. I do consider Diamonds Are Forever to be the best Shirley Bassey Bond song, with Moonraker coming in second, and Goldfinger being a distant third. Sue me.

#8. Nobody Does It Better by Carly Simon (The Spy Who Loved Me)

Remember how I said earlier that this list might change as I write it? Yeah. This song was previously number six. I told you listing these songs turned out to be harder than I thought. Nobody Does It Better was probably the only Bond theme I’d ever heard the entire way through before seeing the movie it was written for; just a fun fact for you there. Really the song speaks for itself, and I can’t think of much else to say. This WAS previously higher just due to the fact it’s one of my most listened to Bond themes. But after hearing them all again, I decided to move it down two spots in favour of what got bumped up.

It was a hard decision to make, and I think it may change in the future, but for now it stands.

#7. GoldenEye by Tina Turner

Oh how the mighty have fallen, and oh how time can change one’s opinion. Back before I’d seen all 24 Bond movies that have come out so far, GoldenEye’s theme was actually in the top five. Only just from what I recall; however it was definitely up there. In fact, it was probably my favourite theme for a while when I was much younger. As a kid I’d grown up hearing some of Tina Turner’s songs, and damn, thank God someone was smart enough to ask her to sing a Bond theme. Tina Turner really was a damn good choice to use for a Bond theme. Though, honestly, it surprises me that it took so long for them to get Tina Turner to do a Bond theme.

Then again, had they not waited until GoldenEye, who knows what we would’ve ended up with? Well, ok, there were other choices. But who would you rather have doing the theme for this movie? Ace Of Base, or Tina Turner? Yeah. I thought so.

 

And with that, we’re halfway done. As you may have noticed though, going by the title, this list has been split in half. The top six should be coming in the next few days, if not at least some time next week. And since I once again don’t really know how to end this properly, have the full version of the GoldenEye theme. Enjoy. Oh, and thank you for taking the time to read this. If you actually read the whole thing instead of just skimming over it, I sincerely thank you. Fuck everyone who just skims over it though. You can burn in a fiery pit forever for all I care……Ok not really, I just threw that in there for fun. Anyway, this has probably dragged on long enough. I’ll just go now.

My Top 12 Favourite Bond Themes: Honourable Mentions

Hello everyone. It’s been a while since I last did an article, but here we are again. Long story short, I recently watched every single James Bond film ever made (some I’d seen, most I hadn’t), ending the marathon by seeing SPECTRE in the cinemas a day before my birthday (my birthday being the Aussie release date; saw an “advanced” screening). As a result I’ve now seen all 24 movies, and heard every Bond theme. And thus we get to the point of all this. I got the Bond fever bad, and needed an outlet.

That said, there’re 24 movies, which means 24 themes to pick from (22 if you wanna be real technical like me). Thus not everything can fit, so this article is specifically made to highlight the themes that didn’t make the cut. Be warned, your favourites may be on here and not on the actual list. This is entirely my opinion, and I didn’t let popular opinion cloud my judgement. But before we get to that, I have two themes I want to address here that didn’t make the cut for a very good reason. They both fucking suck. So with that said, here’s the two Dishonourable Mentions.

Dishonourable Mentions

The Man With The Golden Gun by Lulu

Holy shit where do I start? This theme is just…fucking horrible. The instrumental is iffy, the vocals are bad, and the lyrics are just crap. This is one of those times where I wish they hadn’t used the movie name in the song. You can make a song about the titular villain, aka Scaramanga, but Christ, this just doesn’t work in my opinion. It’d be better to just to a song themed around him that doesn’t use the movie title. Anyway, onto the other, and much more notable, dishonourable mention.

Die Another Day by Madonna

You know, I don’t even need to say why this is a shitty Bond theme. Who in their right mind thought Madonna doing a Bond theme was a good idea? Who? Whoever it was I hope they were fired for such a fucking stupid decision. I honestly think these two songs are as bad as each other, but the weird thing is, I’d probably consider Die Another Day to be slightly more redeemable. Why? Because, outside of a Bond movie context, this song might’ve had the chance to be a half decent song. And that’s being nice. The Man With The Golden Gun is just a shit song no matter which way I look at it. Regardless, I think that’s enough about these songs. Now it’s time to talk about the songs I actually like, or don’t mind, that didn’t cut it.

Honourable Mentions

A View To A Kill by Duran Duran

I don’t think this song is bad at all; I’d like to make that clear. However, the reason this song didn’t cut it for the main twelve, is that this sounds too much like a Duran Duran song, as opposed to a Bond theme. I mean, it’s really just that simple. It’s also an issue I have with a few songs that didn’t even warrant an honourable mention, or unused Bond themes I’ve heard due to them still getting a release.

They’re not so much bad, they’re just too much like something the band/artist would normally do, as opposed to something that seems more like an actual Bond theme. And yes, Bond themes don’t need to and shouldn’t all sound the same. But there does seem to be an unwritten rule that pertains to what works as a Bond theme, and actually sounds like one, and ones that don’t. It’s hard to explain though, so I won’t waste anyone’s time attempting to do so. With that, let’s move on.

Thunderball by Tom Jones

Here’s a funny story. This song was initially IN the top twelve, and another song was here in the honourable mentions. Then I listened to them both more, and realised I liked the other song better than this. So, with no space left on the list, Thunderball dropped off completely. A fine example of how hard this list was to do. Thunderball is a damn fine Bond theme. I wouldn’t argue for or against anyone claiming it to be one of the best Bond songs, but it’s not in my top twelve.

There’s actually a rumour out there that Tom Jones passed out when attempting to hold the final note of this song. Whether you believe it or not, it made for a good joke in the opening to the movie Spy Hard. I only know about that movie’s intro because it was done by Weird Al Yankovic, by the way. Check out Spy Hard’s intro if you want, but I won’t bother linking it here. It’s basically a parody of the Thunderball opening, but the song is worth it. Apparently it’s the only thing worth watching relating to that movie. But I’ve never seen it so I can’t judge. Anyway, onto the next song.

Live And Let Die by Wings

And with that, some of you either clicked away or went “WHAT?”, but I stand by this only being an honourable mention. Keep in mind, there are TWENTY FOUR songs to choose from. Some of them are going to get picked over others, and literally everyone’s opinions on how these things rank is different that I’ve seen. To some, this is the best Bond theme, to others it’ simply “one of the better ones”. Others may hate it outright for all I know. All I know is, I used to rate this song higher, but when I listened to the rest of them, I just couldn’t bring myself to put it on the list. In a way I think this song is a bit overrated.

Boy; won’t that get me strangled. Hear me out though. I don’t hate this song by any means. It’s just that I think there are MUCH better Bond themes out there than this one. Besides, that reggae-ish breakdown in the middle is kind of jarring. It works much better in the scene in the movie where a woman is singing the entire song in that kind of style, as opposed to just that one part. Moving on.

Licence To Kill by Gladys Knight

Here we have a fairly solid theme for a highly underrated Bond movie. But as previously stated, not all of them can make the cut. Honestly I can’t say much more about this theme. I do like it, but I just don’t like it enough for it to crack the top twelve. That said it was definitely still worth mentioning.

Goldfinger by Shirley Bassey

I’m going to go on record as saying this song is THE MOST overrated Bond song I’ve ever heard. There’s a reason you haven’t seen the songs for Moonraker & Diamonds Are Forever in the honourable mentions. Wanna know why? Because I think both are WAY better than Goldfinger. There. I said it. Though to clarify, I do not HATE this song. It’s not bad at all, it’s just highly overrated. Shirley Bassey’s vocals are just kind of weird in this song. She just sounds like she’s trying too hard in parts of it, and it kind of ruins it for me. Before I get crucified however, I feel I should move onto the final honourable mention in this list

Snake Eater by Cynthia Harrell (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater)

Now, I know what some people are thinking. “Hey! That’s cheating! That’s not a Bond theme!”. And you’d be right about that. But that’s why this is an honourable mention. As far as I’m concerned, Snake Eater is miles above some of the lesser Bond themes in all around quality. This is the epitome of a Bond theme tribute done right. Hell, this intro sequence is visually more interesting than about 70% of the Bond movie openings. Granted all the Bond openings from 62-89 were fairly basic anyway, so go figure.

In any case, Snake Eater was more than worthy of a spot in the honourable mentions. But being a Metal Gear Solid theme and not an official Bond theme is honestly the ONLY THING keeping this from being in the top twelve. I honestly like it THAT much.

And well, that’s pretty much it. But just to get it out of the way in case, by some miracle, people are interested in my thoughts on the Bond songs I didn’t mention here (and that didn’t crack the top twelve) here’s a rapid fire run down.

“The Bond Theme” (Dr. No) – It is literally just what we know now as “The Bond Theme”. And it’s more well-known for being that than the Dr. No theme. So I didn’t bother mentioning it before.

From Russia With Love by Matt Monro – Honestly pretty boring, and the proper version that Matt Monro is actually in is relegated to the end credits (And a scene or two in the movie itself).

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – This one’s just a purely instrumental piece. There’s nothing to really write home about. Not horrible, but not all that memorable.

All Time High by Rita Coolidge (Octopussy) – This one isn’t horrible, but it’s also honestly pretty forgettable. I do give them credit for not trying to write a song around the name Octopussy though. That would’ve been a dumb idea.

The Living Daylights by A-ha – Not bad but forgettable, and also kind of suffers from the same issue the “A View To A Kill” theme had; which I stated earlier.

And that’s about it really. Stay tuned in the next few days or so (or the next week generally) for the list proper. Depending on how long or short winded the list itself ends up being, I may split it in half. Otherwise it’ll be in one piece. I’m not entirely sure how to sign off from this. So here, have an unused theme for Thunderball by Johnny Cash. Yes. Johnny Cash made a theme for a Bond movie. Here you go. Enjoy. I’ll see you all next time.

The Spoiler’s On The Wall (My thoughts on SPECTRE)

In his first video of this kind in….months…..Thomas gives his thoughts on the newest Bond film, SPECTRE. Does it live up to the hype? Or did Skyfall set the bar too high?

Spy Kids 3 Commentary

Jimmy & Cynic comment on the process of making the Spy Kids 3 review, and allude to future collaborations.

The CyniCritic & Jimmy TR: Spy Kids 3 (CC2)

The CyniCritic enlists a little help in reviewing the latest movie. A kids movie so bad that even many kids can’t stand it. How much more fail can you get?


Commentary for this review can be found here.