The coming of a new James Bond film in Daniel Craig‘s fourth outing Spectre means we will gain a new Bond theme song, this time courtesy of artist Sam Smith and his “Writing’s On the Wall.”
Skyfall sort of screwed Spectre in the theme department, didn’t it?
Like, even years since Skyfall‘s release, Adele‘s theme song (also called “Skyfall“) still is remembered extraordinarily fondly, held with the kind of reverence usually reserved for Bond themes 20 or 30 years after the films have come out. “Skyfall” resides in the land of “Live and Let Die” and “Thunderball“, elevated to instant classic status.
Meaning Sam Smith, the recent smash hit soul artist behind the multi-Grammy winning debut album In The Lonely Hour, has one hell of a mountain to climb with his theme for Spectre; “Writing’s On The Wall.” You can listen to it on Spotify or download it on iTunes here.
Comparisons to “Skyfall” are inevitable – both are heavily piano driven tracks from bigger and bombastic singers (Smith has been titled many times as the “male Adele“), and both cover very similar thematic material. Which is to be expected, as Spectre is fashioned as a sort of direct sequel to Skyfall and is concerned with the same questions of James Bond‘s relevance in the modern world.
As it stands, however, it is hard to argue that this doesn’t feel particularly new. Smith and Adele are very similar performers and are backed by similar orchestral tunes here, only that this one doesn’t have the immediate impact that “Skyfall” did – Smith‘s vocals, while smooth, don’t have the same punch as Adele‘s, even if they are equally talented songwriters.
What is interesting is the perspective change. “Skyfall” was absolutely from the perspective of M, a character who had always been with Bond and knew they were hurtling towards an ending to their story together. “Writing‘s On The Wall” is unquestionably from the perspective of Bond himself, a relatively rare thing in Bond theme tunes, one where he himself is questioning his humanity in the face of love.
Bond themes traditionally relate in some way to plots of their respective films. If “Writing’s One The Wall” is reflective of the plot of Spectre, with Bond feeling genuine love and preparing to depart the world of spies forever for one woman, then we are officially in the realm of the tragedy and romance of the most unique and divisive Bond film ever; On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. With that on top of the obvious and amazing implications of calling this film Spectre, we should be in for one interesting ride this winter.
Spectre, directed by Sam Mendes and starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Monica Bellucci, and Christoph Waltz, will release on October 26 in the UK and on November 6 worldwide.