Music in SPECTRE

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  • Posts: 3,034
    Did I just read that someone prefers Bill Conti's sound more than David Arnold's?
    FYEO sounds extremely dated, because of the early 80's disco-drums and synth used in the car chase, the ski chase, etc. TSWLM suffers from the same.
  • talos7talos7 New Orleans
    Posts: 6,030
    Zekidk wrote: »
    Did I just read that someone prefers Bill Conti's sound more than David Arnold's?
    FYEO sounds extremely dated, because of the early 80's disco-drums and synth used in the car chase, the ski chase, etc. TSWLM suffers from the same.

    I agree; I admire some of Conti's other works but his score for FYEO makes an otherwise superior film almost unwatchable at times. While not perfect, I don't find Hamlish's score as distracting. Barry could have placed the icing on the cake for these two strong entrees in the series.

  • Posts: 250
    Arnold's better than... hmm... Monty Norman. That'd be about it.

    Conti's cowbell-laden score gives that film such pep. Yeah, it "dates" the film but Bond films are time capsules anyway. Even John Barry entered the world of the drum machine to great effect late in the game, or even the synthesizers in OHMSS (which anchor the film in its time, along with Hunt's visual approach).
  • Posts: 483
    Zekidk wrote: »
    Did I just read that someone prefers Bill Conti's sound more than David Arnold's?
    FYEO sounds extremely dated, because of the early 80's disco-drums and synth used in the car chase, the ski chase, etc. TSWLM suffers from the same.

    I'll repeat it again here too! FYEO is a vastly superior soundtrack to anything from Arnold.

    Yes the disco sound is dated - just like the clothes, hairstyles and Janet Brown also date the film - but it doesn't diminish the melody.

    To my ears Arnold never gave us any action theme as strong as the chases in FYEO. It's mostly tuneless tinny drum machines.
    FourDot wrote: »
    Arnold's better than... hmm... Monty Norman. That'd be about it.

    Conti's cowbell-laden score gives that film such pep. Yeah, it "dates" the film but Bond films are time capsules anyway. Even John Barry entered the world of the drum machine to great effect late in the game, or even the synthesizers in OHMSS (which anchor the film in its time, along with Hunt's visual approach).

    Pep indeed right from the opening gun barrel, my favourite since DAF.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython "I want you looking FABULOUS."
    Posts: 4,651
    Conti's score, like Martin's, Hamlisch's, Newman's and even Kamen's, have a personality of their own that works for their films. Arnold tries, but he tries way too hard that it borders on parody. Like that "Paris and Bond" cue. The scene is dramatic as it is, but there comes along Arnold going way over the top to make it seem more dramatic than it is. He turns drama into melodrama. Had any of the other composers took on that scene, they would have played it lightly. Barry might have just needed a flute and some strings, not the whole orchestra. Good composers know when to step back and let drama be drama.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    Posts: 23,883
    Conti's score, like Martin's, Hamlisch's, Newman's and even Kamen's, have a personality of their own that works for their films. Arnold tries, but he tries way too hard that it borders on parody. Like that "Paris and Bond" cue. The scene is dramatic as it is, but there comes along Arnold going way over the top to make it seem more dramatic than it is. He turns drama into melodrama. Had any of the other composers took on that scene, they would have played it lightly. Barry might have just needed a flute and some strings, not the whole orchestra. Good composers know when to step back and let drama be drama.

    You said it imho. Perfectly. This is my view as well.
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021
    The score in SF was ok, it's there, not annoying, not exciting, just there. It's kind of timeless and dull too.

    The score in Spectre wasn't something that attracted my attention. I really couldn't recall anything except maybe in the PTS. That may be a good thing or not. I guess the score in SP is also just there.

    Maybe that's Newman Bond thing.
    Knowing Newman by heart, his Bond scores clearly belong to his weakest work, which really puzzles me.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited November 2015 Posts: 23,883
    I don't know anything about Newman outside of Bond.....and a small movie called the Debt which I highly recommend if you've not seen it. Great stuff.

    Anyway, I saw a little bit of SF on tv yesterday (I'll watch it again this week before seeing SP) and it was the Silva intro and the interrogation scene. I noticed the score this time distinctly (I was listening for it because of all the discussion here). It sounded modern and fresh, without being overbearing, and fit the scene absolutely perfectly..... I watched from his intro on the Island up to when he escapes captivity.

    So I think he did a good job on SF, if you leave your Barry expectations at home. Having said that, I felt the same way about Serra as well, and all the other one-offs (yes, all of them).

    I think I'm going to enjoy the SP score, with the film, because Newman seems to make that part work for me.
  • Posts: 5,745
    bondjames wrote: »
    I don't know anything about Newman outside of Bond.....and a small movie called the Debt which I highly recommend if you've not seen it. Great stuff.

    Anyway, I saw a little bit of SF on tv yesterday (I'll watch it again this week before seeing SP) and it was the Silva intro and the interrogation scene. I noticed the score this time distinctly (I was listening for it because of all the discussion here). It sounded modern and fresh, without being overbearing, and fit the scene absolutely perfectly..... I watched from his intro on the Island up to when he escapes captivity.

    So I think he did a good job on SF, if you leave your Barry expectations at home. Having said that, I felt the same way about Serra as well, and all the other one-offs (yes, all of them).

    I think I'm going to enjoy the SP score, with the film, because Newman seems to make that part work for me.

    Serra is notable because it stands out though. Newman's score, even you said, you have to listen for. Serra, for better or worse (in my eyes, for better) moved on from Barry while still making a score that stood out in the film. With Newman you don't get Barry, and you don't get anything memorable - beyond perhaps the Macao intro score in Skyfall.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited November 2015 Posts: 23,883
    There is definitely a subtlety there with Newman that people find off putting and inappropriate for Bond @JWESTBROOK. I get that. It's not for everyone. He's too mellow undoubtedly and therefore unmemorable for many. However, memorable is not necessarily the same thing as good.

    Maybe I'm just getting older, but I quite like it, after years of Arnold's over productions (imho) which @MakeshiftPython alluded to above.

    In a way, Newman is the antithesis of Arnold but is too much on the other side of the spectrum perhaps.

    Now we need to move forward in B25 onwards with someone who gets back to the right balance.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython "I want you looking FABULOUS."
    Posts: 4,651
    Newman admits that he's afraid of having his music be in your face that it would distract viewers, which is why he's a much more subtle composer looking to compliment the film, not steal the show. Barry was somewhat the same in a different sense. His action cues are slower because he wants the action to speak for itself, not point it out like Arnold does where every note hits every beat of action that plays on screen. That may be why QOS is his strongest effort because Forster had him base the music on the script rather than watch a workprint with a piano and come up with something as he watched footage. He still did that for parts of the film like the foot chase, but the method was very helpful for "What Keeps You Awake" and "Night at the Opera".
  • edited November 2015 Posts: 1,097
    I've only seen Spectre once.........and while i found the music score to be competent........and it sort of blended in with the film..........it is also, totally unremarkable!
    The only track that i have really picked up on, and liked from his 2 Bond films, was the score in SF, where Bond jumps up onto the bottom of the lift in that building in Shanghai.
  • ShardlakeShardlake Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 4,041
    Watching SF this afternoon I found that Newman has some stand out moments but for the most his music suits the film and enhances it.

    No it for the most is not particularly memorable but it does it's job. I find Arnold in the Brosnan era to be quite serviceable I just don't like that era so I'm probably biased. Though CR he seemed at times to be getting somewhere and I maintain him and Cornell produced the best theme since TLD possibly even AVTAK.

    Though some loud pounding percussion and that Sky plane sequence is simply pastiche. The vesper theme and his arrangements of the theme are great but he seemed to be hitting on something with QOS.

    It was like he was getting his own sound without having to use the safety net of the JB theme, Time To Get Out, Inside Man & Night At The Opera are for me probably the best cues of the Craig era.

    That being said we were spoiled with Barry, he not only could could soundtrack every mood but he could do it with memorable music with bags of melody. It doesn't seem that allot of modern films have this kind of thing plus JB is a one off and expecting another like him is futile.

    A new composer needs to vastly reinvent the Bond score but unfortunately no one has so far even rose to that challenge without descending into tribute or wall paper like soundscapes.
  • MansfieldMansfield Where the hell have you been?
    Posts: 1,262
    @MakeshiftPython

    Very nice post and well put. Newman and Arnold do have greatly different approaches they put into their film scores that exemplify the extremes of what made Barry's sound synonymous with Bond. The brilliance of Barry was the melding of memorable cues with a delicacy that would fit the mood. Newman is a terrific mood setter, but larger remains just that. There are very few moments that jump out and invite us in. Conversely, Arnold invited us in more than we needed and aside from his most recent work, did not provide additional context to the pictures associated with each track.

    However, I do feel that his work in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace provide mood that is expressed between the lines of dialogue and works to enhance the scenes. Death of a Vesper is a good example of this in my opinion. The music tells me so many things in the looks they exchange from the lost possibility of love and retreat, betrayal, anguish, revenge. It takes me through an abbreviated version of the stages of grief pertaining to the situation.
  • Mi6LisbonBranchMi6LisbonBranch Lisbon, Portugal
    Posts: 243
    Recieved today the CD, and still havent seen the movie.
    Have to relisten many more times, but here folows initial thoughts:
    Apart from a few inspired moments (dia de los muertos, backfire, dona lucia,..) it seems very repetitive and unoriginal.
    Also, in the action scenes, there's just to much drummings and noise and very little melody.
    Also, it really disapoints me that Thomas Newman has reused so many "moments" (not new approaches or variations, but the exact tunes) from Skyfall. Was he unispired or just lazy?
    Also, you can clearly see that he feels much more confortable with the more romantic scenes then with the action scenes.
    Anyway, despite an slightly overall negative opinion, i do feel that the music will match perfectly the movie.
    It has a great sense of rythim and pace and it is very atmospheric.
    I will post a final review after seeing the movie and listening to it more times. cheers
  • DoctorKaufmannDoctorKaufmann Can shoot you from Stuttgart and still make it look like suicide.
    Posts: 1,033
    SJK91 wrote: »
    Alright, alright. I said I wouldn't be back here for awhile, but alas you guys and gals are just too much fun to be away from for too long.

    I will say your reactions to my post on the previous page made me laugh. I'm feeling a little better.

    Glad to hear that and to have been of some service. Not me. The others. But still.
    ;)
  • DoctorKaufmannDoctorKaufmann Can shoot you from Stuttgart and still make it look like suicide.
    Posts: 1,033
    Maybe one of the problems is indeed, that EON did not insist on having the soundtrack composer involved in doing the theme song, and thus, incporoprate it into the score. But then, David Arnold and Don Black wrote "Surrender" for TND, but either EON or somebody at MGM decided to have Sheryl Crow doing the song. And for QOS, we all know, that again Arnold and Black wrote "No Good about Good-bye", sung by Dame Shirley, and yet, this time we got at that atmsopheric random noise by Jack White & Alicia Keyes. Agaoin, either EON or SONY or whoever took this decision. If Newman was unwilling to be involved in SF or WOTW, or in both cases they deicided, he would not be part of the song, I don't know. But, yes, IMO, the composer, whoever he (or she) will be, should participate to the theme song.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited November 2015 Posts: 23,883
    This is indeed an EON decision and from what I know, it started well back during Barry's day.

    In fact, I believe this began on A View To A Kill, where Barry had problems with Duran Duran, who wanted more creative control on their track. Barry was upset that Cubby caved in. Then things really came to a head with AHA for The Living Daylights. Similar problems......but interestingly AHA now talk very highly of Barry and say that he really made a massive contribution to improving the track (duh.....).

    So unfortunately, the commercial impact of a young popular singer/successful song (for marketing purposes) seems to take precedence these days over an integrated score. It appears (not sure) that most acts are Diva-like and don't want to work with the composer, or it could be that the composer doesn't like to work with some flavour of the month pop act, or finally it could be due to licensing/record studio/label issues.

    Bottom line - the seamless collaborations which we had in the past and which led to such masterful classic scores are almost certainly long gone.
  • DoctorKaufmannDoctorKaufmann Can shoot you from Stuttgart and still make it look like suicide.
    Posts: 1,033
    @bondjames: Ah, yes, thanks. Read about the trouble between Barry and A-ha, did not know there were problems between Barry and Duran Duran as well. But back then, little did I know about insights on Bond. And then there was no internet then, and no forums like this either. Yeah, and you are probably right about masterful classic score, these days seem to be over. But who knows, maybe one day...?
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython "I want you looking FABULOUS."
    Posts: 4,651
    Interesting thing is that after the falling out between Barry and a-ha, the very next song by Gladys Knight was the first song to be completely independent of the score. I really don't think that is a coincidence. When you think about it, since 1989, in the span of 26 years, there have only been TWO title songs that were made out of a collaboration between the singer and the composer, "The World is Not Enough" and "You Know My Name".

    To Newman's credit, he's the only composer that tried working in the song into the score in some capacity, despite having never worked with the two singers on the song. If Newman is to be offered another gig and returns, I hope he gets his chance to collaborate with the singer. He's certainly capable of it, as he has worked on songs in the past such as the Oscar nominated song "Down to Earth" by Peter Gabriel for the film WALL-E.

  • edited November 2015 Posts: 3,034
    Cowley wrote: »
    Zekidk wrote: »
    Did I just read that someone prefers Bill Conti's sound more than David Arnold's?
    FYEO sounds extremely dated, because of the early 80's disco-drums and synth used in the car chase, the ski chase, etc. TSWLM suffers from the same.

    I'll repeat it again here too! FYEO is a vastly superior soundtrack to anything from Arnold.
    You know... repeating it over and over again, doesn't make it more true.
    Cowley wrote: »
    To my ears Arnold never gave us any action theme as strong as the chases in FYEO. It's mostly tuneless tinny drum machines.
    I respect that you like your Bond-music to sound like a sports commercial - to each his own. I just don't:
  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    Posts: 6,457
    Zekidk wrote: »
    Cowley wrote: »
    Zekidk wrote: »
    Did I just read that someone prefers Bill Conti's sound more than David Arnold's?
    FYEO sounds extremely dated, because of the early 80's disco-drums and synth used in the car chase, the ski chase, etc. TSWLM suffers from the same.

    I'll repeat it again here too! FYEO is a vastly superior soundtrack to anything from Arnold.
    You know... repeating it over and over again, doesn't make it more true.
    Cowley wrote: »
    To my ears Arnold never gave us any action theme as strong as the chases in FYEO. It's mostly tuneless tinny drum machines.
    I respect that you like your Bond-music to sound like a sports commercial - to each his own. I just don't:

    I had forgotten how badly that film suffered because of the action music. Shame, because some of the sequences are superb.
  • DoctorKaufmannDoctorKaufmann Can shoot you from Stuttgart and still make it look like suicide.
    Posts: 1,033
    Zekidk wrote: »
    Cowley wrote: »
    Zekidk wrote: »
    Did I just read that someone prefers Bill Conti's sound more than David Arnold's?
    FYEO sounds extremely dated, because of the early 80's disco-drums and synth used in the car chase, the ski chase, etc. TSWLM suffers from the same.

    I'll repeat it again here too! FYEO is a vastly superior soundtrack to anything from Arnold.
    You know... repeating it over and over again, doesn't make it more true.
    Cowley wrote: »
    To my ears Arnold never gave us any action theme as strong as the chases in FYEO. It's mostly tuneless tinny drum machines.
    I respect that you like your Bond-music to sound like a sports commercial - to each his own. I just don't:

    I had forgotten how badly that film suffered because of the action music. Shame, because some of the sequences are superb.


    Yeah, too bad, the biggest issue I have with this movie, is Billö Conti's score. Compared to taht, I prefer Marvin Hamlish TSWLM sacore, although the Bond 77 is a little too funky for a Bond movie. But that's just my opinion.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    Posts: 23,883
    Yeah, too bad, the biggest issue I have with this movie, is Billö Conti's score. Compared to taht, I prefer Marvin Hamlish TSWLM sacore, although the Bond 77 is a little too funky for a Bond movie. But that's just my opinion.

    I agree. I prefer Hamlisch's score as well. His Bond 77 at least is suitably Bondian (with the Bond theme infused and nicely tweaked) while Conti's disco action score is just that.....pure disco. It is distinctive though and memorable, I'll give him that much. All the other elements of his score (including cowbells for the gunbarrel) are first class though.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython "I want you looking FABULOUS."
    Posts: 4,651
    Oh come on! That Conti score on that clip is fun, you prunes!
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited November 2015 Posts: 23,883
    The bit where Bond is going up on the lift for the ski jump with Charles Dance and Locque following is well scored imho. Also when Kriegler loads the gun in the Mercedes ready to shoot when he does the jump. Suspenseful.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    edited November 2015 Posts: 9,117

    To Newman's credit, he's the only composer that tried working in the song into the score in some capacity

    Are we even sure Newman did this? In both SF and SP the title song is used in one scene and one scene only and it seems pretty clear that this was at the instigation of EON saying they want it integrated in some way and it was just shoved in at the last minute.

    There are definite shades of the tank chase track where Serra's original track was replaced by someone at EON against the composer's wishes.

    I dont know about SF but I watched an interview with Sam Smith the other day and he say he recorded the song in January - plenty of time for Newman to properly integrate it throughout the score if he so desired rather than one token scene

    You would have thought he would have been thankful to have Smith's quite Bondian melodies to use given how bereft of inspiration he was on the rest of the score.

    Perhaps theres a rights issue/credit thing going on where if he uses the song more than once Adele and Sam would get a shared credit for the score?
  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    Posts: 6,457
    bondjames wrote: »
    Yeah, too bad, the biggest issue I have with this movie, is Billö Conti's score. Compared to taht, I prefer Marvin Hamlish TSWLM sacore, although the Bond 77 is a little too funky for a Bond movie. But that's just my opinion.

    I agree. I prefer Hamlisch's score as well. His Bond 77 at least is suitably Bondian (with the Bond theme infused and nicely tweaked) while Conti's disco action score is just that.....pure disco. It is distinctive though and memorable, I'll give him that much. All the other elements of his score (including cowbells for the gunbarrel) are first class though.

    The music for the monastery climb at the film's climax is superb.
  • DoctorKaufmannDoctorKaufmann Can shoot you from Stuttgart and still make it look like suicide.
    edited November 2015 Posts: 1,033
    bondjames wrote: »
    Yeah, too bad, the biggest issue I have with this movie, is Billö Conti's score. Compared to taht, I prefer Marvin Hamlish TSWLM sacore, although the Bond 77 is a little too funky for a Bond movie. But that's just my opinion.

    I agree. I prefer Hamlisch's score as well. His Bond 77 at least is suitably Bondian (with the Bond theme infused and nicely tweaked) while Conti's disco action score is just that.....pure disco. It is distinctive though and memorable, I'll give him that much. All the other elements of his score (including cowbells for the gunbarrel) are first class though.

    The music for the monastery climb at the film's climax is superb.

    The Monastery Climb score is very good indeed. There are good parts in Conti's music, e.g. "Gunbarrel/Sinking of the St. George's", the first 30 seconds of "Melina's Revenge", "St. Cyril's Monastery", and "Cortina", "Run Them down/The Climb". "Runaway", "Gonzalez takes a drive" (funny, the typo remained on the CD-2000-release - was also on the LP-sleeve) and "A Drive in the Country", and the rest is mediocre at best. But, yet again, this is my personal taste.
  • DoctorKaufmannDoctorKaufmann Can shoot you from Stuttgart and still make it look like suicide.
    Posts: 1,033

    Are we even sure Newman did this? In both SF and SP the title song is used in one scene and one scene only and it seems pretty clear that this was at the instigation of EON saying they want it integrated in some way and it was just shoved in at the last minute.

    There are definite shades of the tank chase track where Serra's original track was replaced by someone at EON against the composer's wishes.

    I dont know about SF but I watched an interview with Sam Smith the other day and he say he recorded the song in January - plenty of time for Newman to properly integrate it throughout the score if he so desired rather than one token scene

    You would have thought he would have been thankful to have Smith's quite Bondian melodies to use given how bereft of inspiration he was on the rest of the score.

    Perhaps theres a rights issue/credit thing going on where if he uses the song more than once Adele and Sam would get a shared credit for the score?

    Maybe it was Sam Mendes, who only wanted the the title song only in one particular scene, and thus, only featured in one track of the score? Then, of course, it could be a question of money for Adele and Sam, who knows? And Serra was quite angry on Campbell and EON about the way they used his score in the finished movie. Maybe because of the tank chase track, which was done by John Altman, the orchestrator. So it's quite likely, that EON and Campbell were not happy with this track. He also complained, that the music's volume was not loud enough throughout the movie. But then the audience should be able to understand what the actor's are saying?
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