Production on the 24th Bond flick, Spectre, is just about wrapping up, and the jury’s still out on who will be doing the accompanying title track. Director Sam Mendes has said audiences will not find out till “very, very late in the day," which must be fairly imminent as the movie’s November 6 release date approaches.
Bond themes can be as memorable or forgettable as the movies themselves. I mean, who can forget Tomorrow Never Dies? Well, everyone as it seems. Both the movie and Sheryl Crow’s lackluster aural accompaniment were mere notches on Bond’s bedpost compared to the brassy pomp and bombast of “Goldfinger,” the fantastic crunch of guitars, strings and ego of “Live and Let Die” and the criminally underrated “Living Daylights” (both film and song). Adele’s Oscar-winning “Skyfall” for the last Bond outing was pretty good, and has more than put the pressure on whoever gets the job this time around.
Lana Del Rey
Ethereal warbler Lana Del Rey has a dark-hued baroqueness that would fit snuggly into a Bond opening credit sequence. The vacant melancholy of her voice is matched by the vacant stare of her gaze – fitting somewhere between cool and gormless. Her retro aesthetic is even reminiscent of Bond Girls from yesteryear – the kind that was aloof to Bond’s lame chauvinism, and would likely try and break his neck with her thighs while he’s enjoying his post coital cigarette.
Jay-Z + Beyonce
Hip-hop and Bond go together about as well as a climate scientist and a Republican convention. Bond still seems more of a cool jazz man than a lover of beats and infectious rhymes – more “Dizzy” than “Weezy.” However, if anything could get Bond to shake his rump it would be the stadium-sized hip-hop of Jay-Z accompanying the sexed-up falsetto of Beyonce. The latter seems to be on a perennial purple patch, while her rapper hubby has been phoning it in of late. The trio of Beyonce, Jay-Z and the third greatest Englishman of all time (behind Winston Churchill and Benny Hill of course) would be a sure fire winner.
The coffee table soul singer has been mentioned in the press a few times as a likely contender for the Spectre theme tune. His slushy ballads, vast appeal and nice guy image might be more James Bland than James Bond. However, the above all applied to his fellow Brit Adele and “Skyfall” (or “Scaffold” as it’s often misheard) was a stellar Bond track, nabbing the songstress and Oscar to go with all those lovely Grammys. Smith already has the Grammys, and similar vocal gymnastics might see him at the Academy Awards next February.
As we await a new album from the alt-rock darlings, perhaps Thom and the boys could record a Bond theme while they dabble in the studio. Though their minimalist dawdlings wouldn’t suit the swagger of a Bond theme, their capacity for crunching mini-rock operas of overwrought despair wouldn’t go amiss here. Check out their live cover of “Nobody Does It Better,” Carly Simon’s hit from The Spy Who Loved Me.
Fiona Apple can produce sweet lullabies that seem to come from the darkest pit of her psyche – a siren in all the best senses of the word. Her refusal to play industry games has meant that her mark on commercial audiences hasn’t been as vast as it deserves. However, Apple’s sometimes melodic, always unhinged vocal would be a viscerally thrilling soundtrack to a Bond thriller, where nothing and no one are quite as they seem.
Prince is a walking, talking libido that makes even Sean Connery’s Bond look as sexy as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in speedos. The Purple One’s ability to switch between panty-wetting croons and falsetto yelps would enrich any Bond opening sequence – as long as he doesn’t do a “Batdance” style mash-up that is.
His knack of moulding classic, retro soul and funk sound into something the kids are listening to by the millions, have made musician, producer and DJ Mark Ronson the most sought after chap in modern pop. His name has already been bandied around with regards the new Bond theme, and the success of “Uptown Funk” must have the Bond people thinking that even if they have a turkey of a movie on their hands (see Quantum of Solace), the soundtrack will at least sell by the bucket load. Ronson’s previous links with ‘80s supreme pouters Duran Duran lead us to think if he did a Bond tune, it would likely be in the vein of “A View To A Kill” – probably the best Bond theme to come from a stinker of a Bond movie.
He wouldn’t do it of course. Bond epitomizes the Queen and Country Britishness that the Morrissey despises as much he does a Chicken McNugget. However, Daniel Craig’s Bond is perhaps the only one you could imagine ever owning a Smiths’ record. Craig’s stoic brutalism has an undercurrent of frailty to it, which seems insanely suited to the kind of failed machismo, hopelessness and skepticism of jingoistic notions of England that the Moz laments about. Not that, you know, he'd ever do it.
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Queens of the Stone Age
Harder rockers have had a bumpy relationship with Bond themes. Garbage’s theme from The World Is Not Enough was a tad flaccid; Chris Cornell’s theme from Casino Royale had critics divided. However, the merciless grind and clatter of Josh Homme’s Queens of the Stone Age might provide enough machismo for Daniel Craig’s gruff version of Bond. Throw in a bit of overblown Bondesque brass and strings, and this might leave you both shaken and stirred.
The name’s Bassey, Shirley Bassey. The Welsh diva, who is actually a Dame, is synonymous with Bond belters such as “Diamonds Are Forever,” “Moonraker," and, of course, “Goldfinger” – a tune that is still goose pimple inducing half a century on. Indeed, she was doing this before the reality TV wannabees were a twinkle in Simon Cowell’s beady black eye. As subtle as a Bond villain’s “secret” H.Q., Basset hits the big notes bigger, louder and sharper than any of today’s high camp divas. Moreover, her 2014 album, Hello Like Before, proves that she still has the pipes to pull this off.