In my humble opinion James Bond theme songs should be set aside as an actual genre not a set of songs. These musical masterpieces whichever one you choose From Shirley Bassey’s Diamonds are Forever to Paul Mcartney’s Live and Let Die is sex for your ears. Now I know most people might favour the older songs but the more recent James Bond releases have a special place in my heart (and my music player). On that thought, the next thing we need is a rap James Bond track. Now that would be something. Anyway here are my favourite James Bond theme songs. They are double-oh so brilliant.
YOU KNOW MY NAME-Chris Cornell
“I’ve seen angels fall from blinding heights, but you yourself are nothing so divine”
I know this won’t sound like a compliment but it is. Chris Cornell sounds like he adds sulphuric acid in his tequila shots. His voice has the raspiness that I like in my rock music. Not only is this the first James Bond theme song recorded by an American male vocalist but it’s the first one with a certified rock sound. That electric guitar riff in the beginning, the anticipation before the vocals and then the words, “if you take a life do you know what you’ll give.” There was no going back for me, after that point I was hooked. Lyrically it would satisfy the modern day poet. Vocally, Chris Cornell’s raw voice portrays the rawness of life as a secret agent. Theme song videos are usually nothing (as my mom would say) to write home about but I actually like the video. Cornell juxtaposes the life of a secret agent with his own life as rockstar, you know the whole nomadic, can’t really settle, living dangerously thing. This was the song that made me notice Cornell and put him on my list of favourite rockstars so hats off to ya Chris you truly “rocked the Bond…James Bond”
“Goldeneye no time for sweetness but a bitter kiss will bring him to his knees”
If Chris Cornell’s song is the edgy raw rock song then Goldeneye is its the smooth sexy slow cousin. I’m not a big Tina Turner fan myself but this song…I adore. It was brilliant to pick Turner to sing this song,and she sang it perfectly too. I love the cold sexiness of her voice and you can’t forget the James Bond score in the song, these just come together so perfectly to make it a track worth listening to.
DIE ANOTHER DAY-Madonna
I’m gonna break the cycle/I’m gonna shake up the system/I’m gonna destroy my ego/I’m gonna close my body now
So if Goldeneye is the smooth sexy cousin of You know my name what’s Die Another Day? The pop song with a lot of attitude of course. Madonna puts herself in the place of a captured 007 who refuses to die without a fight. The electric beat and the “I’m gonna…” lyrics give it the “f*** the enemy” vibe one would need were you under imprisonment and immense torture somewhere. Madonna also went all out for the video at one point cutting her stomach. I found that really weird but I don’t expect anything less from the Queen of Pop.
TOMORROW NEVER DIES-Sheryl Crow
“It’s so deadly my dear, the power of wanting you near”
Who would have thought Sheryl Crowe would have done such justice to the 007 cause with this ballad? Well that she definitely did with Tomorrow Never Dies. It’s a love song but she sounds like a victim of his love, his deadly powerful love. This is not the kind of love I’d wish for but each to his own hey. Putting that aside I will still argue that this is another good offering from the James Bond vault.
ANOTHER WAY TO DIE-Jack White/Alicia Keys.
“A drop in the water/a look in the eye/a phone on the table/ a man on your side/ or something that you think that you can trust it’s just another way to die”
It’s not a collaboration you would expect or predict but here it is. To finish off my list is the most recent offering from camp 007. The yelling, almost talking song that is Another Way to Die. It’s a weird track I must say but weird recognises weird I guess. Call it wierd but oh oh my gosh are the opening lyrics a song writer’s dream or what?! “Another ringer with slick trigger finger for her Majesty” How do people come up with this stuff?? you see why it’s a James Bond theme song that deserves special mention. James Bond songs are as varied and unpredictable as Cape Town weather. Well except for the use of the 007 score of course. I’m hoping that the next will be a rap song performed by Drake. James Bond movies wouldn’t be what they are without the efforts of all the musos who have leant their talents to them. The explosions just wouldn’t be the same. And on that bombshell I will leave you in pieces.