List the worst Bond songs

sirsosirso Posts: 209MI6 Agent
edited March 2022 in James Bond Music

List the worst Bond songs.

Here is my list:

Thunderball

The Man with the Golden Gun

A View to a Kill

The Living Daylights

All the songs since Licensed to Kill

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Comments

  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,966MI6 Agent

    Yes, taste is subjective.

    I dislike 'Writing's On The Wall', find 'All Time High' a little too 'easy listening' and never warmed to 'For Yours Eyes Only'. Would it be sacrilege to say that 'The Spy Who Loved Me' never really floated my boat either?

    To me, the others are all good to superb, including two or three often considered to be more 'controversial'.

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • The Domino EffectThe Domino Effect Posts: 3,631MI6 Agent

    There are a few clunkers, but if you ever pop in the album of all the themes, there's none I'd fast forward to even if there are more than a few that I would never choose to listen to individually. Some I like more than I should because I like the films. Some have grown on me over the years, a few have deteriorated. Sam Smith has grown on me, but it is still amongst my least favourites. Billie Eilish remains where it was the first time I heard it but as I don't care for the film, I doubt it will ever improve in my personal ratings.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,213Chief of Staff

    I believe I've made my feelings about "Another Way To Die" very clear on a regular basis since it escaped- er, was released. "Die Another Day" has grown on me, which was another bottom of the lister initially. "No Time To Enunciate" won't ever be a favourite, neither will the Sam Smith thing.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,694MI6 Agent

    Shady:

    I dislike 'Writing's On The Wall', find 'All Time High' a little too 'easy listening' and never warmed to 'For Yours Eyes Only'.

    Yeah I think All Time High is probably Barry's all time low in terms of Bond songs for me. It's interesting that in that period he'd take a film off and then seemingly try and repeat what the composer before did with the song. LALD is the first full-on rock Bond song; Barry comes back and tries his own rocky Bond song with TMWTGG- it's not as good. Then Nobody Does it Better and FYEO are a sort of easy listening, more fashionable pop ballads; Barry comes back and gives us All Time High in the same vein- not as good as either of those.

    It's a good thing he managed to come up with something a bit fresher for AVTAK.

  • The Domino EffectThe Domino Effect Posts: 3,631MI6 Agent

    Dear Diary,


    Still working on the lyrics. Things aren't going well:


    "...everyone knows that a secret agent is never fussy, about his Octo..."


    Nope, that doesn't work.


    John

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,153MI6 Agent

    Worst songs:

    TMWTGG and everything from GE onwards apart from CR and SK

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,238MI6 Agent

    I think after CR, Craig-Bond has been particularly badly served in the title song department, the last three in particular being simply dull and overblown. Attempting to be significant does not make them memorable, although in terms of sales, they have had tremendous impact.

    The very worst?

    ANOTHER WAY TO DIE is horrendous. Just terrible. Badly sung and seemingly written by someone who can't play music.

    TOMORROW NEVER DIES features a horrid vocal, Ms Crow can't even touch the notes she's written for herself to sing which seems a massive oversight. The tune tries hard, but it's a lead balloon.

    THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH is too much. Very slow. Garbage are a much better band than this. I was so disappointed when I heard this. No zip. No fizz. Nothing. Going through all the motions without any idea where to take them.

    NO TIME TO DIE. Can't even hear the words, so breathy I thought the poor girl was having an asthma attack.

    I know it isn't a title tune, but THE EXPERIENCE OF LOVE from GoldenEye is quite possibly the worst written, produced and performed song in the entire franchise history. What were the producers thinking allowing such three minutes of rubbish onto a Bond soundtrack? Thank God it was sung over the closing credits.

  • The Red KindThe Red Kind EnglandPosts: 3,126MI6 Agent

    It certainly is all subjective. I'll categorise oddly as Snog (Bond themes that are just great fun or I really like. No Strings attached). Marry (The Bond themes that I love and couldn't bare not to hear ever again). Avoid (Bond themes, I'm really not a fan of and will avoid listening to and skip when listening to Best of Bond). I've just done three in each category, to keep things very brief.

    Snog:

    A View To A Kill

    All Time High

    Moonraker


    Marry:

    On Her Majesty's Secret Service

    Nobody Does It Better

    Live And Let Die


    Avoid:

    Another Way To Die

    Die Another Die

    Writing's On The Wall

    "Any of the opposition around..?"
  • sirsosirso Posts: 209MI6 Agent

    The problem for me since Barry stopped doing the songs, is that most of songs sound like pastiches of the Goldfinger sound (big brass section etc).

    The Barry songs weren't all brass sounding.

    The brass thing has become a cliché.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,694MI6 Agent

    Honestly Writing's On the Wall is the only one I don't like, I'd say; and NTTD is a step up from that (and even WOTW has a lovely string bit). The worst crime pretty much any of the others break for me is to be dull: TWINE is maybe the dullest- the melody actually sounds bored with itself.

    I've always enjoyed Another Way To Die and don't get the hate it attracts: it's the only one which has a genuine rock sensibility. It didn't need to be a duet perhaps.

  • RJJBRJJB United StatesPosts: 346MI6 Agent

    I’ve seen No Time to Die four times and I can never hear any part of the title song in my own mind without watching the movie. The song is lifeless, drab garbage, and a lousy way to end the Craig era musically.

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,270MI6 Agent

    Didn't Hans Zimmer do the theme to Face/Off? I mean, that's just brilliant, I'm choked up at hearing that so thought he might come up with something tops for the last one, nah.

    One problem may be the retro feel of so many films since Brosnan took over, they're carrying Bond's history on their shoulders, always referencing back. That makes writing a song arguably harder because it feels like it's just following a template and not doing anything new.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,213Chief of Staff

    Yes, you're right. As a historic example, look how Paul McCartney's "Live And Let Die" is completely unlike it's predecessors. No template there.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,694MI6 Agent
    edited October 2022

    It is and it isn't: I think it's clearly plugging into the brassy Bond sound, even if it's doing that in a quite avant garde song structure.

    And I don't think Another Way To Die or You Know My name are just repeating what came before (as White says in the new doco, just listen to that guitar solo- most movie songs wouldn't have that!), and I think you'd certainly be hard-pressed to say that Die Another Day was following the template. I listened to it again the other day and I think it's aged pretty well: better than TWINE in fact, which is a bit dreary and forgettable because it follows that template way too closely. Skyfall looked to the past a bit, but it was the anniversary movie. Since then however the songs have sort of followed the Skyfall path but without its energy (people better versed in music than me tell me all three follow the same chord progression, is that right?) so they have felt a bit samey. I guess you have to bear in mind that Billie Eilish was 11 years old when Skyfall came out, so that would pretty much be the quintessential Bond song for her growing up.

    If they had been able to go for Radiohead's Spectre that too is not following the template, but would have been an amazing new route for a Bond song, but still feeling lush and rich. Such a shame it wasn't to be.

  • The Red KindThe Red Kind EnglandPosts: 3,126MI6 Agent

    Yes, the instrumental post-chorus of "Live And Let Die" is just pure genius and for me is up there with John Barry's arrangement for action.

    "Any of the opposition around..?"
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,213Chief of Staff

    @emtiem - no, the last 3 Bond songs don't follow the same chord progression but there are similarities.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,694MI6 Agent
    edited October 2022

    Thanks 👍️

    I definitely would find myself humming Writings on the Wall when I was trying to hum the verse to NTTD 😅

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,694MI6 Agent
    edited October 2022

    I've always loved the track, but when the London Philharmonic played Boat Chase from LALD in the Albert Hall this week, it was extremely thrilling. Especially when it gets to that last bit where the theme kicks in.

    I'm not sure any other Bond composer has given large chunks of their score quite so willingly to a theme written by someone else (Barry was very generous with FRWL, but perhaps still not quite as prominent), but I guess that was probably down to Martin and McCartney's relationship.

  • IstvanTheHun007IstvanTheHun007 Posts: 75MI6 Agent

    The Good:

    Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice, We Have All the Time in the World, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, Nobody Does It Better, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, A View To A Kill, The Living Daylights, License to Kill, Goldeneye, You Know My Name, Another Way To Die, Writing's On the Wall

    The Bad:

    From Russia With Love, Thunderball, The Man With the Golden Gun, All Time High, The World Is Not Enough, Skyfall

    The Ugly:

    Tomorrow Never Dies, Die Another Day, No Time To Die

    Honourable mention: Never Say Never Again

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,238MI6 Agent
    edited October 2022

    The worst Bond song is The Experience of Love by Eric Sera [written by Eric Sera & Rupert Hine] from Goldeneye, a truly dreadful experience [ha!] on anyone's turntable. Just how this ever got accepted as a closing theme baffles me.

    It's closely followed Tomorrow Never Dies [written by Sheryl Crow & Mitchell Froom] which, right from its opening salvo, and sandpaper voiced vocals fills me with dread. David Arnold struggles manfully to fit the theme into his otherwise outstanding soundtrack. Even worse, Sheryl Crow can't even hit the notes on her own song. It's abysmal and very hard on the ear.

    Third is Another Way to Die which even writer Jack White admits is unpopular. I give him full marks for not giving a bolloxx, but Alicia Keys wailing like a demented banshee simply makes my blood curdle. Ugh. Horrible.

    The biggest disappointment is Only Myself to Blame from Scott Walker [written by the reliable Arnold & Black] but a cocktail lounge number of such unhappiness you almost want to slit a wrist. It's the kind of thing George Michael would have turned into a beautifully structured jazz ballad, but Scott Walker despite being a fantastic singer can't raise an iota of emotion. Why isn't K.D. Lang singing this? I constantly ask myself. TWINE came too late for Scott, but he might have made a decent stab at You Only Live Twice...

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,238MI6 Agent

    @IstvanTheHun007 on your good list, did you deliberately miss out The Look of Love or just overlook it?

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,694MI6 Agent

    It's closely followed Tomorrow Never Dies [written by Sheryl Crow & Mitchell Froom] which, right from its opening salvo, and sandpaper voiced vocals fills me with dread. David Arnold struggles manfully to fit the theme into his otherwise outstanding soundtrack. 

    He doesn't even try, does he? I don't think there was time.

    The biggest disappointment is Only Myself to Blame from Scott Walker [written by the reliable Arnold & Black] but a cocktail lounge number of such unhappiness you almost want to slit a wrist. It's the kind of thing George Michael would have turned into a beautifully structured jazz ballad, but Scott Walker despite being a fantastic singer can't raise an iota of emotion. Why isn't K.D. Lang singing this? I constantly ask myself. TWINE came too late for Scott, but he might have made a decent stab at You Only Live Twice...

    Yes that's a point, it's often forgotten but not very good really. It doesn't appear in the film does it?

    A 60s Walker Brothers Bond theme is a lovely proposition though.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,238MI6 Agent

    @emtiem re: TND, I can't remember; I'd have to rewatch the movie again to tell. I know the song was forced on him. Arnold uses Surrender a lot and the two songs share a moment of similar melody [near the end of Surrender, I think] but it might be coincidence - or more likely my imagination.

    re: TWINE, you are correct, the song doesn't feature in the film itself, it's only on the soundtrack, so I'm stretching a point. I think the musical theme is used though, isn't it? Again, I'd have to rewatch the movie or relisten to the OST.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,694MI6 Agent
    edited October 2022

    The melody is in there yes, it’s Electra’s theme.

    There’s no TND in Arnold’s score, the only theme song he didn’t write (or co-write) which featured in one of his scores was Another Way To Die, and that gets only a few scant references.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,238MI6 Agent
    edited October 2022

    Thanks for that. I listened to the TND OST tonight and there is not a single incidental burst of the title song on it, so you must be right. Thinking on it, as you say, hadn't he planned all along to use Surrender as the title theme and was simply overridden at the last moment by Babs and MGW who wanted a 'big star' like Tina Turner to carry the theme? [What made them think K.D. Lang wasn't a big star?] While I appreciate so much of what Babs and MGW have done for OO7, I do find some of their decisions baffling.

    TWINE is up for tomorrow.

  • IstvanTheHun007IstvanTheHun007 Posts: 75MI6 Agent

    I really feel like the only person who likes Another Way to Die.


    It kicks ass, it rocks. It channels QofS badass Bond. The song feels more relevant and energetic than treacly meandering Skyfall and NTTD.

    But all it gets is hate while it's my favourite Craig credit sequence.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,694MI6 Agent

    I dunno, Crow was pretty big at the time, and to be honest I find her song more interesting and original. Surrender is good fun but it's really just a Goldfinger pastiche.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,694MI6 Agent
    edited October 2022

    No I'm with you, I think it's a decent song. I think perhaps their voices don't really work together which is a bit of a negative, but it rocks properly where You Know My Name feels a bit pseudo-rock in comparison (although I do enjoy that one in the film). The drumming on AWTD is fantastic; I love the hard guitar stabs hitting in the chorus, it's got power; and I love the marachi band sound. Like you I'm a bit puzzled that it gets so much hate.

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