Reviewing The Bond Soundtracks - You Only Live Twice

edited February 2019 in Music Posts: 3,881
I initially put together some videos to run through the Dr No soundtrack as I thought it tends to be a bit neglected. As I have now ventured into looking at some other scores, I'll continue them further on in the thread. So for starters...

Monty Norman - Dr No

I think most people don't rate this soundtrack very highly. I certainly would consider it amongst the weaker JB scores. I used to feel that Monty Norman had come up with a score that was both instantly dated and unsuitable. In any case a lot of Norman's tropical source music wasn't used in the film, and many of his score cues were not included on the official album release.

Lately I've found myself listening to this one more, and feel I was perhaps a bit harsh on it. OK I still don't think it comes close to John Barry, but I feel it is worth reviewing my opinion of it.

Part of the problem is that it is poorly represented on the album. This sticks mainly to the source music, and most of this went unused. Put the CD on, and it feels disconnected from the movie. Music inspired by Dr No. You certainly get the Jamaica feel, but not much of a hint of Bond. In fact looking at the CD tracklist, out of the 18 tracks I count only 7 that are used:-

Track 1: The James Bond Theme - used throughout the film but never used in it's entirety

Track 2: Kingston Calypso - partly used in the main titles. This is just the song "Three Blind Mice", so I'm not sure how much credit I feel like giving Monty Norman for this one.

Track 4: Jump Up - Byron Lee's song.

Track 6: Under The Mango Tree - Monty Norman's wife sings this one.

Track 13: The Island Speaks

Track 14: Under The Mango Tree - Monty Norman sings this one, easy to miss in the movie.

Track 18: Love At Last - a small portion is played very quietly, and the title won't help you find it in the film.

The main songs of Dr No are The James Bond Theme, Three Blind Mice (Kingston Calypso), Jump Up and Under The Mango Tree

Jump Up and Under The Mango Tree are both quite catchy and of their time. They make me think of Jamaica and warmer climes. Solid source music. No problems with their use in the movie. Several versions appear on the album. I'm happy to have these included on the album, but there are too many variants of each one included, which detracts a fair bit from the quality of the soundtrack album. Monty Norman is surprisingly a pleasant singer. I went years without recognising him as the vocalist.

Three Blind Mice is still a nursery rhyme to me. Still seems like a rather odd choice for a spy thriller. Love At Last is just ok. It noodles about doing not a lot.

The James Bond Theme is of course iconic, excellent, and groundbreaking. It still sounds really fresh today, while at the same time having a strong sixties feel. It is constructed in such a way that it has so many components that lend themselves to being rearranged and reused to great effect, just not here. Instead the track is just cut and pasted in repeatedly and often randomly. Too much of a good thing? I don't mind them overusing it first time out, but sometimes it's use is just inappropriate for me. It comes across as too loud and jarring for a scene where 007 is just walking across a hotel lobby. It does mean that half of the time the music you hear in the movie is the James Bond Theme, which means the soundtrack can't be all bad.

The rest of the tracks on the soundtrack album outside of those 7 tracks already mentioned, were presumably recorded but then dropped. They were probably replaced by the Bond Theme, or possibly by the director opting for silence rather than background music in some scenes.

Due to the song repetition, I find the CD a bit of a chore, so I don't often listen to it. Instead I listen to the tracks I've complied for my iTunes album version. It really helps if you can have a listen to some of Monty Norman's score as featured in the movie. Put the blu ray on or listen to the audio track. I often try to make adjustments with the audio tracks to enhance the music and dial down or cut out the dialogue and sfx. Give the score as featured in the movie another try, and you might find there are a few tracks you'll enjoy more than you thought you would.

Let's take a look at the tracks as they appear in Dr No.

Gunbarrel & Main Theme

First track up is easy to (get hold of) listen to. Not on the original album or CD. You can't argue with this one can you? Well you can because instead of just the Bond Theme we get some random calypso music and a bit of Three Blind Mice thrown in, all badly edited at that. It's hard to know what they were aiming for. They want to show off their JB theme, yet still want to give a tropical flavour to the titles (having just decided to ditch most of Monty's tropical songs). Surely this was the golden opportunity to play the Bond Theme in full. Not the greatest start.

There is a short track (not on CD) as Strangways' secretary is killed. It's fairly easy to hear this one on the audio track. Listen to the rear speaker tracks and you lose most of the sfx. There is still a lot of screaming and gunshot noise at the beginning, but this is only over the first brief fanfare. It is possible to recreate this (sort of) from another part of the soundtrack. Norman uses for the first time his "rising notes" theme as a blaring fanfare as we see Dr No's file being stolen. Dr No's file is apparently more shocking than Ms Trueblood being shot. At the end of the cue it really blares too much making it overly dramatic and old fashioned. Perhaps this is the biggest fault of Norman's score for me. It sometimes feels like a lower grade 1940s/1950s soundtrack. Monty Norman doesn't really push any boundaries. Maybe watching Dr No before hearing any of John Barry's efforts might have made this type of score seem a bit better. Skip to around 0.40 for this track to kick into this video.

Bond arriving home.

Not on CD, this can be clearly heard on the audio track, with little sfx interrupting it. Harkit Records I think included it in their release of the soundtrack a few years back. Dramatic again, but staying away from being too shrill. I quite like this one. Norman seems to favour using the cue to mimic what is happening on the screen. He does it a bit here, but even more on a later track. Also right at the start is a slightly military sounding version of the Bond Theme.

Death Of Mr Jones

Another decent track missing from the CD. You can get a good listen to this off of the audio track, or you can speed up the Nic Raine & City Of Prague Orchestra track "Killing The Guard" and get a similar outcome. The beginning of this track is the same as the Bond Meets Leiter track (not featured in this video.....) so you can piece this one together with a fair bit of accuracy.

Next up is the music at King's Club, this can be found on the CD as Love At Last. They use less than half of it. Even then the bit they use is edited and moved around. Hard to recognise it in the movie. I'd guess with that title it might have been originally meant for use in a romantic scene, possibly at the film's finale.

Monty Norman singing Under The Mango Tree is next - just audible as Bond tails Quarrel. This is probably the best version for me, although Diana Coupland's version is the best remembered. Included on CD.

Bond Meets Leiter

Not on CD. Has a bit of tension that quickly changes into middling background music as Bond and Leiter buddy up. The tension notes seem to echo the James Bond Theme, which is hard to believe as John Barry's contribution was pretty much dropped in at the end. Maybe it's just a coincidence. Again this cue is easy to find on the audio track with little sfx. This is an ok track, no complaints here. Starts 30 seconds into this video.

Byron Lee's Jump Up features at Pussfeller's nightclub. It certainly is energetic. Pretty much a perfect fit for a Jamaican nightclub scene. Included on CD.

Another cue is heard as Bond, Leiter and Quarrel enjoy their night out. Pussfeller's Club is not on the CD. It's another stab at Under The Mango Tree. You can't get to hear this one on the audio track without a bit of background chatter, but it isn't too distracting. This is a much better instrumental version of Under The Mango Tree than the one on the CD. I wonder how much input Eric Rogers had with this interpretation. It sounds very much like the arrangements he used for the Carry On films. Try watching the party scene in Carry On Again Doctor.

There is a brief cue as the Three Blind Mice try an Assassination Attempt on Bond. Not on CD. It's impossible to get any sort of clean version of this cue with crickets and other nighttime noise all over it. But you can still hear it well enough. This track starts with the "rising notes" theme Monty Norman uses a lot, then quickly changes to a hurried repetition of the Three Blind Mice nursery theme. It fits a lot into it's 20 second run time. So Monty is repeating motifs through the movie. This score isn't seeming so bad now.


The most memorable track on the movie soundtrack. Shame it wasn't included on the album. However it is very easy to get from the audio track with little sfx on it. Again Harkit were able to include it on their release. Better still is Nic Raine's recording. It isn't quite a note for note replica and even the pace is a bit different, but it is a much better representation of the scene. This track is all about tension and atmosphere. The notes creep up and up mimicking the spider's ascent of Bond. But Monty goes for full on 'Mickey Mousing" when the final notes match 007 hitting the spider with his slipper. It almost becomes unintentionally comical there, but just about avoids it.

Diana Coupland's Under The Mango Tree - used as 007 waits for Dent to arrive. It's 007's record of choice. It's a nice enough rendition of the song. On the CD.

The Island Speaks

On the CD. It is brooding and tries to create some atmosphere and a sense of foreboding. But while it is a decent track, it is the first time in a while that you can really feel that this soundtrack is dated. This one seems better when listening to the CD rather than when watching the film. It reminds me of a track from a 1930s adventure movie, and I half expect Bond and Quarrel to meet King Kong when they arrive on the island.

Crab Key

Not on CD. A cue that covers the scene from where Quarrel hides the boat through to where Bond, Quarrel and Honey come under attack from Dr No's navy. Monty Norman uses the "rising notes" theme again coupled to a comical use of Under The Mango Tree to highlight Quarrel's wavering attention. This is a very old fashioned use of music, though it does mirror (unintentionally) the colonial attitude of our favourite spy here. It is impossible to hear this track clearly from the audio tracks. The Mango Tree bits are fairly clear, and the "rising notes" bits can be mimicked from Nic Raine's recordings, if you want to pick his work apart and reconstruct it.

Safer territory is Killing The Guard which of course Nic Raine recorded. It starts with a slight variation on the "rising notes", then a varitation on the JB theme, before concluding with the "Death Of Jones" piece. Another memorable track, sadly missing from the original CD.

After Bond and Honey are captured and drugged Dr No visits Bond's room, which is an eerie use of the "rising notes". This is an effective track. Not on CD. Again this is available on the Harkit Records release or off of the audio tracks. Not much sfx over this one so you can give it a good listen.

Dr No's aquarium

Starts at 1.14 into the video below, as Dr No meets Bond with his "one million dollars" quip. This is very similar to the previous track, slightly less spooky in it's orchestration. Not on CD. Another Harkit / audio track solution if you want to include it to your listening experience.

The next music is quite a while later, however there are these sonic effects from Daphne Oram as Bond escapes in the pipe / tunnel, and then as he turns up the heat inside the nuclear reactor. These effects work better than any music could have done for the tunnel escape scene. I don't know if Oram recorded these soundscapes especially for these scenes, or if they were stock tracks brought in.

Music returns with the Death Of Dr No. Here the recording of the same name by Nic Raine only covers the last part of the music cue as heard in the film. So it actually misses the death of Dr No and captures Bond beginning his search for Honey. A bit odd that one. Nic Raine's track does come in useful for the FRWL soundtrack. The first minute or so of the track is not on the CD, and is unfortunately submerged under alarm bells on the audio track, so there is no way of getting a clean listen of that. A shame that Nic Raine didn't do the whole thing as it's pretty good with a sort of frantic medley of previous themes. It starts half way into this video.

The last track is the Rescue by the Marines & End Credits which is another Mango Tree instrumental with some military sound flourishes that are covered with sfx. Then we get the brief Bond Theme conclusion. Not on CD. This isn't a big miss if you can't get to hear it properly. It sounds like music for the end of a different film.

So that concluded the movie version of the soundtrack - the album that never was. Heard like this (when you can hear it) it really isn't too bad. The four songs are all good, although I still think Three Blind Mice is an odd choice for a recurring theme. Under The Mango Tree would have been a terrible choice as the main Bond theme, luckily the producers steered away from that and UTMT is fair enough as a tropical source cue. Other than the 4 main songs, the other cues do have some decent moments and some good recurring ideas. But the "rising notes" theme recurring is nothing like as good as John Barry would come up with. But at least it is a motif throughout the movie, which is more than some recent efforts have managed. There are some obvious, overly bombastic and dated moments, but not as many as I remembered. It doesn't to my ear sound terribly out of touch with the movie as for example Michel Legrand with NSNA.

What about all the tracks that are on the CD but not in the movie I hear you ask. No? Well here they are anyway.....

Track3: Jamaican Rock sounds like a jam session, and I can't imagine where it would have been used in the film. I think Monty Norman just got together a load of local sounding tracks and hadn't exactly figured out where he would position them, before the choice was made to include some and exclude others.

Track 5: Audio Bongo contains another version of the "rising notes" theme.

Track 7: Twisting With James I thought this featured in one of the trailers, but I can't find it now. Maybe it was all a dream. Would have been a fair source cue if it had been used.

Track 8: Jamaica Jazz is a slow take on Jump Up. Nothing particularly interesting about it.

Track 9: Under The Mango Tree is another slow version. Again this isn't really missed in the film.

Track 10: Jump Up is a vocal version far too similar to Byron Lee's song to be of much interest.

Track 11: Dr No's Fantasy is a more likeable instrumental. This would have worked in some of the earlier Jamaican scenes as background music.

Track 12: Kingston Calypso - another pointless vocal duplicate.

Track 15: The Boy's Chase is a frantic high speed version of Dr No's Fantasy.

Track 16: Dr No's Theme is also Three Blind Mice. Everyone's favourite on Crab Key.

Track 17: James Bond Theme - no not The James Bond Theme. This is a slowed down Dr No's Fantasy.

So those are the unused tracks, which are on the whole not great. The Dr No's Fantasy theme would have been alright to drop onto the soundtrack as a recurring theme, preferably cutting down a bit on Three Blind Mice.

All in all this album is a better listening experience if you don't listen to the album. Try checking out the music from the movie instead. It's a good deal better that way (at least until someone re-records all the cues). I can say I enjoy giving it a listen now. Will it be moving up my rankings of JB soundtracks? No.


  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Defender of Timothy Dalton, George Lazenby, Éric Serra & Bond '83!
    Posts: 5,193
    Very thorough @vzok, I've learned to appreciate the DN score but it's a lot better the way you propose.

    I also don't like the many versions of the songs on the album, it gets a bit too repetitive.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 16,035
    Great review.
  • Mendes4LyfeMendes4Lyfe "I need a year off" Craig
    Posts: 7,252
    DN is my favourite Bond film, but the score itself its that great. Not terrible, but not great.
  • Posts: 3,881
    Here is another version of Jump Up by Byron Lee

  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    edited September 2017 Posts: 9,021
    That review is fantastic work @vzok !!
  • edited September 2017 Posts: 3,881
    Thanks for your kind comments.

    If you enjoy Byron Lee's source music, and can't get enough of Jump Up, then there is another Dr No soundtrack album that features even more Byron.


    It includes River Bank Jump Up

    and Sunjet Jump Up

  • Great review, can you review all Bond-Soundtracks?
  • Posts: 3,881
    Bernie99 wrote: »
    Great review, can you review all Bond-Soundtracks?

    I could do if there are any others people are interested in talking about.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 16,035
    I'm interested in your thoughts as well. :-bd
  • Posts: 4,058
    Great work, @vzok

    Ultimately I can't harbor much appreciation for this score; it's just too old-fashioned for my taste, as well as a bit melodramatic and pedestrian. It just doesn't conjure up a really compelling atmosphere, and doesn't musically expand the emotional and narrative scope of the film in a substantial way. Apart from that, parts of it sound out of place in a Bond film, and more suitable for an adventure B-movie, though I must concede it's easy to say that with the benefit of hindsight; back then, Dr. No was the only Bond film, of course, and it does have a less lush feel than later entries.

    But if you forgive me, I just imagine John Barry scoring it and coming up with something like this:

    Anyway, by my count and based on your analysis, the main recurring, non-diegetic themes of the score are:

    - The James Bond Theme, used for tension
    - The "death of Jones" theme, also for tension
    - Underneath the Mango Tree, used for lighter moments and romance
    - The "rising theme", to represent Dr. No and his henchmen

    That plus the single use of Three Blind Mice in the assassination attempt scene (well spotted!) Being aware of the recurring motifs does allow one to better appreciate the score, all things considered.

    I couldn't help but notice that 1:05 into the tunnel SFX track, you can hear the same droning sound as in Fort Knox in Goldfinger.
  • Posts: 3,881
    Thanks a lot @mattjoes. You can pick out some bits and pieces that make the score a bit more enjoyable, but it still is very staid and unadventurous.

    John Barry's work was really cutting edge, with his knowledge of the pop industry at that time plus a jazz influence giving a vibrant fresh feel.
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy N.Ireland
    Posts: 11,839
    Absolutely fantastic review @vozok.
  • Posts: 3,881
    Just before I move on to another soundtrack, here is one more Dr No track - Death Of Mr Jones, first as heard in the movie

    then mocked up using Nic Raine's Killing The Guard. It just needs a bit of speeding up to match the pace of the original.

  • Very interesting to read. The music in the film will always be close to my heart as I loved it when I was a kid, watching the film. In the car alone, driving along the motorway, I can listen to Jump Up over and over again -and I mean literally over and over again! Takes me back to watching the film on VHS in the late 80's.

    No biggie but you didn't mention the funny little noises right at the beginning of the film. The radio signal noises

  • Posts: 3,881
    Very interesting to read. The music in the film will always be close to my heart as I loved it when I was a kid, watching the film. In the car alone, driving along the motorway, I can listen to Jump Up over and over again -and I mean literally over and over again! Takes me back to watching the film on VHS in the late 80's.

    No biggie but you didn't mention the funny little noises right at the beginning of the film. The radio signal noises

    I read they were also stock items of electronic sounds by Daphne Oram, who provided the sounds for Bond's tunnel escape.
  • Yes, I believe that to be correct. Just wandered whether there was anyone else out there that felt any affection for them?
  • Posts: 3,881
    I quite liked them. Not sure why they were dropped. I'd guess that they wanted the music to be faster and more dramatic.
  • edited July 2019 Posts: 3,881
    From Russia With Love - John Barry

    Having had a look at how Monty Norman dealt with taking on the music duties of a James Bond movie, I thought it'd make a good comparison to look at John Barry's first outing.

    This one isn't as revered as the likes of Goldfinger or OHMSS, but I think John Barry immediately puts a lot of his ideas and style in place. There is almost a feeling of John Barry saying "this is how it should be done". It doesn't ever feel like he uses up all his good ideas in his first attempt either. Monty Norman had I think done little composing of movie soundtracks before Dr No, but the same is true of John Barry.

    In Dr No, the way the soundtrack album was put together meant that out of 18 tracks, there were 11 that went unused in the movie. Here there are 4. So this album is a much better representation of the movie soundtrack. The CD is a pretty good listen this time. There are still quite a number tracks that are missing on the CD, and they insist on put the tracks on to the album in a random order. So it is still a better listening experience to try and include some of the "lost" tracks into your iTunes playlist.

    Many movie soundtracks concentrate on just 1 or 2 main cues. Dr No had 4, but other than the James Bond Theme, Monty Norman chose 3 songs with a local flavour. In From Russia With Love, John Barry goes for 4 main cues, but there are some other standout tracks outside of these 4 recurring ones.

    We still have a lot of use of the James Bond Theme, and yes there is still some cutting and pasting of the original version of the cue here. However Dr No featured little other use of the theme, whereas in FRWL Barry uses it woven into several cues in various alternate arrangements. John Barry also introduces 007, his alternate Bond theme. Then the main From Russia With Love theme is used liberally throughout the score. Considering Lionel Bart wrote it, John Barry isn't afraid to use it repeatedly and to totally transform it from a lush ballad even as early as the main titles. Finally there is the eerie SPECTRE theme. This sounds like a forerunner of some of the Goldfinger tracks with a sparse picking and plucking sound.

    Let's ignore the CD running order and take a look at the tracks as they appear in FRWL.

    First up is track 15 Gunbarrel & Stalking

    Strictly speaking we have a bit of an unreleased track here as the gunbarrel isn't on the CD. Why not?! But of course it is super easy to get hold of on the DVD audio track. I think it helps a lot that the gunbarrel is now accompanied by the electric guitar section of the JB theme, as it makes it seem faster and launches you into the film itself.

    Stalking is a creepy track that is very quiet in the mix. Then it snaps into action with the branch being snapped on screen. This really is a good start. A cue that nicely matches the action and helps build suspense.

    Opening Titles is track 1

    Now I think the vocal version is great, but it is hard to argue with this instrumental, especially when it rips into a really ballsy version of the Bond Theme at the end. First outing for the FRWL cue.

    The track starts with an real bang, with machine gun sounding brass. Then the FRWL theme, although it is cracking along at a real pace (nothing like the vocal version), with an Eastern European flair. Then the Bond Theme. Somehow it is made to sound louder and more vibrant than the original, with those thunderous cymbal crashes. One of the greatest Bond tracks, and instrumentals can't sound any more urgent than this.

    Technically again we have another unreleased song here, as the movie titles feature that wild organ dancing about over the instrumental, whereas track 1 on the CD does not. Again it is easy to rectify this on your iTunes playlist by checking out the DVD audio track. I'm not counting this as an unreleased song, as the CD track is very similar to the movie track. However, it is fair to say that the CD version is a completely different recording, it isn't just the organ solo that is missing. It is broadly at the same pace, but listen to them and you can hear the different instrumentation.

    Chess Match

    So after two tracks toying with an element of being unreleased, here is the real deal. Not on the CD is this short cue which has a swirling romantic opening, conjuring the Venice location (or second unit location) before it moves to the first appearance of the SPECTRE theme when we see Kronsteen. A good start as the sinister sound matches the shifty looking SPECTRE agent. It is hard to get a clean version of this one as gondoliers shout across the strings section. You are left with the choice of taking the sound as it is or snipping the interruptions out as best as you can.

    The chess moves are unscored. At the end of this chess scene there is another piece of music, but this features on the album as the start of the next track.

    Track 11 on the CD is SPECTRE Island.

    The SPECTRE theme returns as Kronsteen wins. Following this there is a part triumphant, part mournful finale as he walks off (see end of video above). This bit is reminiscent of FRWL but isn't the FRWL theme. The score then moves to a flourish of strings as we change scene to the SPECTRE boat (video below). It is the same musical phrase repeated, but being much higher up the scales it really compliments the scene change. There are a lot of occasions on this album where one track crosses two distinct scenes, but Barry makes light work of the changes of pace.

    It's a little confusing that this scene takes place on the SPECTRE boat, but the track is called SPECTRE Island, but when Klebb arrives at the island this music isn't used. The first part of Blofeld's briefing is then covered by another outing for the SPECTRE theme.

    Kronsteen's Plan is not on the CD. To begin with (at around the 1.10 margin the next video) it sounds like a restart of the SPECTRE theme, but lasts a bit longer this time. Then at around 2.45 it has a very slow ominous rendition of the James Bond Theme, before a brief ending that features on another later track, I think a Kerim scene. This cue feels like it is a continuation of SPECTRE Island, yet is still effective. It isn't possible to get a clean version of this as there is dialogue right across the whole track.

    These are three short but really complex tracks. This is already worlds away from Dr No and it's overall bombastic approach.

    Tania Meets Klebb starts with a brief fanfare as Klebb leaves SPECTRE Island. It is largely a FRWL theme instrumental for it's opening half minute, but it has a bass groove under it. The trumpet playing the FRWL parts that repeat is quite light which doesn't hint at any upcoming danger for Tania. Then there is another suspense piece that sounds a little more playful. It's on the CD as track 2.

    At around 0.20 in this video it sounds a bit like Kronsteen's mournful walkout music, but this one sticks more to the FRWL notes. It continues in the second video, for reference.

    From Russia With Love (track 10 on the CD) kicks in as we arrive at the punting scene. It briefly is played as a normal track, but then changes to a transistor radio version. We get about half a minute of the song here. It sounds to me like it isn't the version featured on the soundtrack album, but is instead the single version of the Matt Monro song. It's a different vocal take. You can just about make out that Matt phrases the word "Russia" differently.

    Also in the video below is an unreleased cue (it's so short it's more of a sting than a cue). Bond's Old Case is a brief FRWL waltz. You can get an OK version of this off the audio track. Some birds tweeting unfortunately.

    James Bond With Bongos is another fantastic track that starts as Bond leaves Moneypenny and heads off to Istanbul. It misses the last 30 seconds or so of the track but most of it is here. It's a blaring piece of the James Bond Theme mixed with a really twanging version of the guitar part. This enables us to get the JB Theme as Bond flies out on his mission again, but without just repeating the original version as they did in Dr No. Then we get some ultra cool sixties bass. Very jazzy - nice!

    When the Bulgarian agent sees that Red Grant has taken up tailing duties we get a track not on the CD. Red Grant Takes Over starts with the same intro as James Bond With Bongos but with a different arrangement. It then changes to a brief suspense cue instead of the cool bass and bongos. You can get a listen to a decent enough version of this one. The audio tracks (even when you get a good attempt) never match the fidelity of the CD, but they can be quite listenable.

    Another short cue not on the CD is Cold War

    I can understand why all these very short cues didn't make the album, but they could have included them as a suite at the end. I guess they were trying to compile an album that would make the charts (which this did), which seems totally impossible now.

    It is possible to get a decent version of this from the DVD audio track, with not too much by way of sfx interrupting it. This is a very effective cue considering it is only 15 or so seconds long.

    Assassination Attempt is on the CD, but you have to search to find it, as it forms part of track 9 "Death Of Grant".

    This one starts off dramatically (at 1.18 in this video), but otherwise turns mournful with some lonely trumpet versions of FRWL. There is "ticking clock" sound which is quite appealing. It finishes with a more determined rendition of FRWL signifying Kerim springing back into action by showing Bond down into the catacombs.

    Not on CD is Up Periscope

    This is very hard to hear in the movie. It starts when Kerim sees Krilencu, but then we get some more plaintive ticking clock which is dialled down very low under the dialogue. Using the audio track rear channels you can get a much better listen.

    The last several cues have been fairly ambient. There will be some stings but generally the music has been quiet. I think it has been building up a sense of foreboding.

    We move on to the gypsy camp scene when contains several memorable tracks. First is Leila Dances which is not on the CD, even though it is.

    We all know by now that the movie version is not the same as the CD version. So it is double bubble as both versions are enjoyable. This movie version appears to be a temp track that was put in place to allow the dance to take place on set. Then as the film came nearer completion and John Barry was brought in, he wrote his piece. Who knows why the temp track was left in place. The temp track does sound more energetic and more authentic, but maybe that is because that is the version I've always heard when seeing the gypsy camp scene. There is some music just before this as they arrive at the camp, lasting 20 seconds, but it sounds much the same as most of "Leila Dances"

    Then there is the catfight that is Girl Trouble on track 5. This is a pounding effort that sounds fierce yet still captures some local flavour (0.25 in the video below).

    We go straight into the first outing for 007 as the fight breaks out when Krilencu attacks. This is track 7 on the CD. Although in the movie they do not play the whole track, but instead keep on looping the insistent drum section. The soaring trumpet part later in the track is I think the most famous part, so it is a shame that they leave it out of the mix here, but I guess we get to hear it later (007 Takes The Lektor)

    Finally as Bond gets his wounds licked we get Gypsy Camp - track 8. There is a lot of improvised guitar in this one, which sounds authentic. It's a pretty tune. However at a minute into this video the guitar repeats a phrase three times that always makes me think it is about to break into "The Man With The Golden Gun".

    Krilencu is not on the CD. This is a real slow burner. Very quiet at the start, building to a loud crescendo as Kerim takes his bloody shot. It is hard to keep suspense going across a couple of minutes, but the track does it with style.

    Track 6 on the CD is Bond Meets Tania which is a slow, dreamy FRWL instrumental (1.45 in the video). A very effective and appealing track, full of romance, but the last 10 seconds provides the ominous SPECTRE theme just ahead of the reveal of spying Rosa Klebb.

    Track 3 is Meeting In St Sophia. There is some suspense and a slight military sound here, but interspersed with a repetitive sound of doom that is a bit like distorted church bells. The track starts around 1.40 into the video below.

    Two tracks feature in the next video. At 0.18 (and not on the CD) is Russian Clocks. It's a very effective clock sounding tune that has you waiting along with Bond. The start of this track was actually heard earlier (tracked in) as Red Grant steals the car and is starting the Cold War.

    Track 18 is 007 Takes The Lektor. It's the 007 theme again, but this time we get to hear the soaring parts of the track. The first soaring part is on strings. It starts at 1.23 in this video as the bomb goes off. A very well known Bond track, and it suits all types of Bond action scenes. A pity it didn't survive outside of the Barry movies.

    A very brief sting occurs just as we see Red Grant is already on the Zagreb Express. It ends with a hint of piano that seems to suggest a train sound to me. I call this one Benz as he is running to get on board, and there is another Benz sting later. I join them together on my iTunes playlist as they are both so short. This is not on CD, and you can only get a rough version from the audio track.

    Another track missing in action is the beautiful Fashion Show as Bond passes some lingerie to Tania. It plays like a tune from a music box. Another FRWL instrumental. You can patch this one together from the audio track, by looping the clear portions to cover those ruined by sfx.

    Here is the other missing Benz sting.

    Death Of Kerim is on the CD as track 17. This is the first hint of the train music. I won't quite count this as a fifth theme because in part it is just mimicking the train sound, and in part it blares out some bars from FRWL. But it certainly is distinctive and memorable. It begins with the train/FRWL portion, then goes back to almost the "Fashion Show" waltz. Then there is some low suspense and dramatic drums, before the SPECTRE theme returns to hint this is no accident.

    Finally we make it to the Zagreb Express theme. It seems like we've been on the train for ages, but at last the track is here. But not on CD. Of course you have Nic Raine's rerecording to give this one a good listen.

    To me it always feels like this cue is played often during the train sequence, but it turns up just once (I guess you might call it twice) between Kerim's death and the arrival of Nash. The train in motion parts may seem a little dated, but I wouldn't want to hear anything else here as it perfectly fits the time period. It looks dated (not in a bad way). The track gets used twice in succession, with some staccato stings in the middle as we keep seeing Red Grant lurking.

    The first time it is used (right at the start of this video) it is a much briefer version than the Nic Raine recording, before returning (at 2 minutes in this video) sounding more like Nic's arrangement. I think in effect Nic Raine only recorded the second part. They are similar to each other, so I can see why he skipped it. But if you want it all it is easy to replicate the first part from the second. This is a really memorable track and would have been a highlight of the album. I wonder how they chose which tracks to include or exclude.

    Zagreb Sting - Once Nash is on board the train, the scenes are all unscored until Bond's escape. That's a long stretch of about 18 minutes. There is just one brief sting after Nash orders the "wrong" wine. You can get this one fairly intact from the audio track.

    Escaping From The Train - The next cue is a real favourite for me. Shame it isn't on the CD. It isn't easy to get a clean listen to this one either. You can find clean portions of parts of it and with a bit of looping you can recreate it, but you have to accept some train noises still chugging away. It does largely repeat the same musical phrase over and over, but it is very atmospheric. It ends with a Bond Theme sting, just as Bond drives off in the truck.

    It's hard to know whether or not to include the next track or not. It's tracking, but from Dr No as strangely they opt to include a brief portion of "Death Of Dr No" as Bond Brings Down The Helicopter, at 2.33 in this scene. The Nic Raine rerecording helps us out here.

    Now I can understand if they wanted some music here, and it was a last minute decision, but why not track in some of John Barry's score from elsewhere in FRWL?

    There is a Man Overboard (track 13) at 0.31 in this video below. This is on the CD, although it is joined to a cue from the next scene in the movie. Easy enough to split the tracks to allow for your playlist to include the next bit of music from the boat chase. This is a light tune, hinting that Bond and Tania have escaped and are out of trouble. It has a sort of nautical feel with a touch of the military.

    At the end of the boat chase we return to "Death Of Dr No", although this time for a longer piece (starts at 2.20). Spectre Boats Up In Flames to my ears sounds a bit different than it did in Dr No, although there were a lot of sound effects over it then. It seems to fit this scene quite well. Time for Nic Raine to step in again.

    Back to CD track 13 and SMERSH In Action covers the death of Kronsteen. Another outing for the SPECTRE theme.

    At 2.23 here we have Death Of Klebb, not on CD. Another real effective short cue. Full of suspense, with a suitably dramatic end.

    The Matt Monro vocal version of From Russia With Love (track 10) makes another appearance over the end credits, this time in full. This time it is the album version. Seems a bit strange to talk about the main theme at this point. For me this track might not be the sort of Bond power ballad that becomes better known after this, but it is one of the best Bond themes. Great as an instrumental, great as a vocal. Matt Monro can deliver endless power in his vocals without screaming or overpowering the song. A fine ballad.

    Then there are the unused cues:

    The Golden Horn

    Track 4 on the CD. Very catchy and memorable. The percussion/tambourine gives a strong local flavour. The brass lead sounds a little more South American than Eastern European. Maybe this was aimed for an early scene with Tania.

    Guitar Lament

    Track 8 on the CD. Presumably this was intended for use at the gypsy camp. It is a nice guitar piece that initially seems to be a riff on the FRWL instrumental.

    Death Of Grant

    Track 9 on the CD. If this was aimed to be used as the fight concludes, then it was just as well that it wasn't used. It is a fine piece of music, but I think anything as loud and dramatic as Grant died would have spoiled the moment.

    Leila Dances

    Track 16 is John Barry's unused cue for this dance sequence.

    So John Barry's first outing feels like he is already settled into things. I wouldn't mark it down at all for the odd track that is a little quaint in style. Zagreb Express mimicking the train motion works just fine for me, and is super memorable. The other tracks are really forward looking in style. Jazz and pop influenced, but stylish and classical also.

    The 4 recurring themes are great. The James Bond Theme gets the variety it requires this time. I'm not going to score down the soundtrack if the editor or director decides to paste in the original JB Theme (again) as that is a filmmaking decision and nothing to do with John Barry's work. 007 is a great action theme. SPECTRE are set up nicely with a theme of their own. Even FRWL is made to work throughout.

    Plus there are several other memorable tracks that serve the film well, and are great to listen to away from it - James Bond With Bongos, Stalking, Zagreb Express, Escaping The Train, Meeting In St Sophia and Girl Trouble.

    Before listening to FRWL for this exercise, I wouldn't have had it down as a favourite John Barry score for me, but it certainly has gone right up in my estimation now.
  • SeanCraigSeanCraig Germany
    Posts: 684
    Most excellent work!!!! Thank you very much for your next in-depth analysis! I am not that deep into the soundtracks but I found many elements that I enjoyed and did not know why before - I now understand what makes the music work well with the picture. Thanks!
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 16,035
    Another wonderful review @vzok.
  • NSGWNSGW London
    Posts: 299
    Murdock wrote: »
    Another wonderful review @vzok.

    +1 Truly great work, keep it up.
  • WalecsWalecs On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    Posts: 3,157
    Please, keep making these as they're truly great!
  • Posts: 3,881
    Many thanks.

    I looked again at Kronsteen's Plan. I had said that it wasn't possible to get a clean version of this as there was dialogue across the whole track. I loaded up again the rear channels audio into the music editor, and it was completely blank. I thought that it was a bit strange as Dr No has rear channel audio, and so do other tracks here. So I just went ahead and amplified it like crazy, and there is the music hiding away at really low volume. Obviously amplifying heavily gives a lot of background hiss, but here it is anyway.

  • Posts: 3,881
    I want to have a look at Spectre as a soundtrack, but I can't see a way of doing that without doing Skyfall first. My heart is already sinking. So I might pick one of my all time favourites next to boost me ahead of a double Newman challenge. Unless there are any requests?
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 16,035
    Go with what your heart tells you. I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on SF/SP's scores. :D
  • edited October 2017 Posts: 3,881
    Skyfall - Thomas Newman

    OK, let's get to it. I know Thomas Newman is generally disliked on here, but I'm going to try to be neutral going into these next 2 soundtracks.

    I think I actually am fairly neutral on him. There are instantly things in Skyfall's score I know I like. There are probably some parts I don't like, but here we come to a problem. I'm not sure if it is a problem with Thomas Newman and current soundtracks in general, or if it is a problem with my memory just getting useless as I get older. Either way I find these soundtracks hard to keep in my head. I look at the track titles for John Barry's scores and I know the tune straight away. Not here. Perhaps people will jump in and enlighten me.

    This is going to be a longer affair than the last two soundtracks.There are a lot more tracks in this one.

    So again I'm using my iTunes playlist for this, which is in movie order, and I'm listening to the extended versions of the tracks (ie: Ronson/Cars/Bikes) though I've renamed them to the original CD track names. Therefore I'm counting just about all of these tracks as being on the CD. Generally the slightly edited tracks on the CD probably don't take away anything from the tracks, except in "The Bloody Shot" where it is very odd to me hearing the part where Moneypenny gets ready to shoot being edited right down to a very quick affair. A lot of these tracks are floating around out there, easily accessible I think courtesy of some FYC discs. So there isn't as much scrapping around to find the music cues as there was with Dr No and From Russia With Love.

    Like FRWL they insist on putting the tracks on to the CD out of order, which doesn't help the flow for me.

    First up is Grand Bazaar Istanbul (track 1 on the CD) which doesn't start with the gunbarrel. No points off for Thomas Newman as that wasn't his decision. We get the Bond-like sting and then into some light sounding percussion that accompanies Bond's scene with Ronson. I think we are off to a good start as there is enough tension here without overcooking it. Then as Bond joins Eve we get a change to a Turkish sounding vibe. This sounds right to me up until the car crash at 3.00 in the video below. There are some discordant notes that play beneath the shoot-out that work OK in the movie, but to me sound tuneless when just giving the track a spin.

    It's back to the Turkish vibe as we head to the rooftops. Then there are some Bond chords, which are welcome, then the jumping music and another Bond theme sting as 007 boards the train. This is all fine for me.

    My general thought after one track is that this is pretty effective and there is not too much that I don't like or that doesn't work with the film, but I can't whistle it. Looking back at an early track in FRWL above, Spectre Island isn't exactly John Barry at his most tuneful, but even the latter part of that, the SPECTRE theme is an easy whistle. I know some music cues are just there to complement the movie scene (I think that is Thomas Newman's thing) but I do like if a bit of a tune can be attached to it.

    Still within the pre-titles we move on to track 14 The Bloody Shot.

    We start with some more patient tension music, then at 1.00 it gets rather military sounding. I'm not sure that this section is screaming out Bond, but it is memorable.

    This cue is very effective and I especially like the section at 2.50 in the next video as the train comes out of the tunnel. The rooftop fight and Moneypenny careering along in the jeep seem to be perfectly matched by the sweeping strings here. Inside the tunnel the Bond Theme chords are there again, before we get the pounding countdown music as Moneypenny prepares to muck it up.

    If you'd asked me in advance I'd have said this is the best track on the album. Not sure if that still holds, we'll see. All in all the PTS is well handled.

    Skyfall I hadn't heard anything by Adele before this came out. I think it is a really strong song that works well with the fantastic visuals. Not on the CD. I hate it when the song isn't included.

    Voluntary Retirement (track 2)

    Getting back to the whistling idea, what I was driving at was that modern soundtracks have more of an ambient sound and fewer tunes. Fewer tunes means fewer themes. Well maybe. Here is M's Theme (1.30 into the first video), most notable on "Mother" later on. It is stately but sad. Something is coming to an end, and this certainly feels like it should play at the end of a film.

    It kicks into another gear after a minute of the track, in this second video. There is a feel of this track being in a hurry and driving things forward. Repetitive beats and percussion with an electronic feel. It is also a little fussy. It works OK here, but not as fine as the opening portion of the track.

    At the start of the next video is track 15 Enjoying Death. There isn't anything wrong with this track, but it really is heading into background music now. Thomas Newman I think was quoted as saying soundtrack music shouldn't be so noticeable as to distract from the movie.

    At 1.13 there is the source cue Konyali by Ensemble Huseyin Turkmenler. Not on the CD. I included about 40 seconds of this track on my playlist which gives the flavour of this moment in the film. The track itself lasts about 7 minutes, which is too much bongo music for my tastes.

    Coffins covers M watching over the fallen MI6 comrades. It isn't on the CD, and as it is largely a rerun of "Voluntary Retirement" I can understand why.

    New Digs aka Tanner's Theme. On the CD as track 3. Here it covers Tanner briefing Bond on the new MI6. It is another driving forward kind of theme. Slower than the end of "Voluntary Retirement". It then opens out into something more orchestral as we see MI6. Beyond the video below the track repeats the driving and orchestral parts before petering out. As background music and repetitive percussion goes, this one is OK.

    Day Wasted, track 10, is more ambient background music as the word game takes place. It starts at 1.05 in the video as Skyfall is first mentioned. It then changes to a repeating phrase of the Bond Theme, but it is presented in a very light manner, especially as Bond is digging out the bullet at that time. I'd say this track doesn't work with the film at that point.

    I've got an unreleased cue next which was called "Uranium Bullet" which is somewhat confusing as "Day Wasted" covers the part where 007 extracts the bullet. So I've renamed this one Identifying Patrice. It's another OK track. It isn't on the CD, nor on the FYC that I have heard of. You can get it off the audio tracks, the first 20 seconds or so has some very distant sfx but the rest is clear.

    I'm finding these cues hard to distinguish between. All the cues since the main titles have been fine for the scenes they cover, but looking back at them there really is only M's Theme that is memorable. The rest is a little too bland for me. I guess a lot of the film so far has been dialogue and scene setting.

    Brave New World is finally a memorable track. Track 6. It starts right at the end of the Q scene, but really takes off when it sweeps you into the Shanghai scene in fine style. Good track overall but it rounds off with some more Newman percussive chugging.

    I think Newman goes more for rhythms and beats, at least in this score, than strings and melody. That's fine, but it is a bit repetitive when it is revisited in most cues. There certainly is a lot more music in this soundtrack than in most earlier scores. I'd guess that in older movie scores a lot of these scenes would just go unscored, rather than just filling them with something.

    Shanghai Drive, track 6, is another good one, largely orchestral with a lively percussion track. A good scene setter. I think this is another contender for best track for me. I know I listened to it a lot when the CD came out. It gets reused and extended later on.

    Newman is getting into a much better groove now, with the brief cue Shanghai Lobby, not on the CD. This is right at the start of the next video.

    As Bond catches hold of the lift it turns into Jellyfish, track 7, which is probably the track I've played most off of this CD. A dramatic start as Bond hangs on, changing to some eerie music as Bond clambers off the lift. Wonderfully atmospheric soft piano as Bond searches for Patrice. There is a slow build up of tension, as Patrice readies himself to take aim. There are some sections of drum beats which hint at the next track. Nothing too loud here, but it works well.

    Lots of pounding percussion in Silhouette, track 8. The track title doesn't sound like an action sequence, but the music does. Thunderous drumming matching the visceral punch-up. Good stuff.

    Newman is on a roll now, 5 good and memorable tracks in a row, making up a bit for the previous run of samey tracks.

    You have to skip forward to 8.40 in the next video for Modigliani, track 9. This is a first outing for Severine's theme. Really lush, romantic strings here. It hints at the theme nicely and makes you want to hear it in full.

    Five Agents is not on the CD. Another filling in scene setter. Not much to hear here.

    Close Shave aka Moneypenny's Theme, track 17, is deliberately rather playful. Mendes thought Newman's first effort was too romantic. There are some breathy flute notes that sound oriental.

    Komodo Dragon is track 13. It heralds Bond's arrival at the casino. It starts off lush and romantic again, with a travelogue feel. Then it develops into the Skyfall theme. A great combination that works really well. If only they gave the composer more time to work the theme into the movie.

    Someone Usually Dies is track 12. This track sounds sinister. It starts at 1.00. There are some very gentle strings quietly playing a Bond chord or two at 1.20 in the video below. It is very hard to hear a lot of this track in the movie mix. Unfortunately around half way through this track just seems to drift off into a bit of ambient Newman. The string section in this part again sounds quite British, but not very Bond. Plus I'm not sure that the British feel fits the location.

    Casino Fight is not on the CD. I always think this one should be called "Komodo Dragon". This is a track that is used more extensively later in the film in the London Underground chase. Here it gets a James Bond Theme conclusion, that is very lightly played. It gives it a slightly smug air.

    At 0.50 below we have Severine (track 4). The Severine theme in full. Worth hearing again, a fine theme.

    Two tracks in the next video that pretty much join together as one.The Chimera is track 16 on the CD. This is another standout track for me, very memorable right from the start. The opening seems to conjure high seas and adventure.

    Dead City follows almost straight on from The Chimera. It isn't on the CD. Another ambient piece. You can hear it at 1.15 in the video below.

    Looking through these tracks it is surprising how much quiet, tuneless, ambient stuff Newman is putting in here. The sort of tracks that I'd have guessed Eric Serra concentrated on in Goldeneye are actually more frequent here. I don't mind them in the movie, but they aren't a great listen away from it and tend to break up the flow of the album. I can see why they were often excluded from the CD release.

    A great source cue comes next as Bond is brought back outside on Silva's Island. Boum by Charles Trenet is a jolly tune that is skilfully placed at odds with Bond's upcoming ordeal. I'm happy to hear this one as a bonus track towards the end of my Skyfall playlist.

    Silva's Capture is a brief cue not on the CD. It isn't available clean elsewhere either, so for once we have to rely on the audio soundtrack where it isn't possible to get a very good clean version. It starts as Bond commences the shootout at 2.57. It is fittingly brisk and concludes with a twangy version of the James Bond Theme. Pretty good track.

    Next is Cyanide which occurs as Silva reveals his dental work. Not on the CD. It starts in earnest at 3.30 in the video, but it seems to be murmuring along before that at a really low level beneath the dialogue. It is another ambient track that when it wakes up seems to be repeating earlier ideas. I'm not sure that it is a theme repeating, as it is hard to call it a theme. I'm not a fan of this one.

    In the next two videos we get a long track. Quartermaster is a slightly odd title for it, as it largely covers Silva's escape. The beginning in video 1 is a neutral sound not giving away that the scene is going to be exciting or tense. I quite like this sound as Q examines Silva's laptop.

    It changes gear as Silva's escape is noticed in video 2. There is a rapid percussive sound that is memorable, but we loop around back to the quiet keyboard sounds and then back to the strings again as Bond shoots through the locked door. This is a fair track. Not the greatest in terms of a Bond sound for me.

    Two tracks on one video again here. Underground Rush Hour at 2.15 in the video, is not on the CD. A better cue this time with fairly light repetitive strings making it seem urgent without the cue having to resort to being too loud or insistent. The strings pick up speed just as Bond jumps on to the train.

    At 4.35 in the video we have Health and Safety which sounds like an almost humorous piece with some dandyish sounding strings. I quite like this one as a casual listen, but within the movie it is too light for what should be a tense chase sequence.

    At 6.20 below is Granborough Road, track 19. This is an almost complete repeat of "Casino Fight" but with a quiet conclusion. I'm not sure which scene it was originally composed for out of the two.

    Tennyson is a fine track. Number 20 on the CD. Newman has often sounded surprisingly British so far, and here that works very well. Some grand repetitive strings give way to something more dramatic as Silva closes in on the hearing. This works hand in hand with the scene, accompanying the London views perfectly.

    Enquiry, track 21, follows on immediately as Bond rounds the corner. Again this one is a winner for me. Similar in sound to "Tennyson" it punctuates the action theme with some Bond chord stings, before fading to a low background as Bond and M escape. The action portion for the shootout is again fine to indicate action, without needing to double the volume to compete with the gunshots. I like this style.

    Breadcrumbs, track 22, is the new version of the James Bond Theme for the Daniel Craig era. I'm not sure if it is exactly the same as David Arnold's version, but it certainly is similar. No complaints with them using it here.

    Skyfall, track 23, is very eerie. It perfectly suits the arrival at Bond's estate. It is remote and we aren't sure what we are going to find. This track matches that. It is verging on being another background track, but is really memorable if not overly tuneful. It starts at 1.15 below.

    Kill Them First begins quietly as Bond explains what is happening, but then kicks into some really strong chords as the traps are set. It works with the scene again. Getting ready for Silva is given some real driving urgency with this one. It is track 24 on the CD.

    Welcome To Scotland accompanies the first attack on Skyfall. It isn't as instantly appealing as the last two cues, but it has enough momentum to deal with the onscreen attack. The strings half way through sound a bit Eastern European rather than Scottish. Just OK for me. Track 25 on the CD.

    The Animals' version of Boom Boom is a great song. Better than the John Lee Hooker original for me. Great to be able to add it to the playlist. Of course it isn't on the CD, but it is easy to find and download. It really captures Silva's over the top entrance, signalling his call to war.

    Back on track with Newman's good run. Track 26 is She's Mine, which has a rapid string repeat. Very memorable. Some of these sounds instantly say Skyfall to me. It changes in the last minute to some Bond background chords before it's suitably dramatic conclusion. Starts around 2.00 below.

    Two tracks in one video below. The Moors starts as Silva recovers from the explosion, and continues below as Bond chases Silva and his remaining men. It is track 27. It would be easy to mock this track in light of Spectre, and how it is used there. But for me here it is a memorable hook that gets used in just this track. It's only 2 minutes 40, and the hook is very low for the first and last half minute. So I don't feel like I am being beaten over the head with it. A decent track that effectively sets up the chase.

    Track 28 is Deep Water. I like the part where there is a rising brass dramatic piece at 1.15 in the track (1.45 in this video). But have we heard this before in the PTS? It sounds similar. As they go underwater it sounds fittingly choppy before 007's triumph. This whole section lasts about a minute, and is rather fine. However this is a 5 minute track and the rest is just low background burbling, so I can't go wild about this one.

    Not a great track and for me we are just about at the cusp of what is acceptable for me in terms of the volume range on a track. If there is going to be a fairly loud strident piece of music in the middle, when Bond is mid-fight, then I can understand the pieces either side being lower, but not too much lower. If there is dialogue onscreen or a quiet scene, they can always dial down the audio mix for the movie, but allow for a little more volume on the album. Otherwise you turn up the track at the start to hear it, and then get your ears blown away. Gripe over, for now.

    Mother is a final outing for M's theme. It's a really solid track for this scene. No complaints with this one here, or earlier. It is track 29 and starts at 1.25 in the video.

    Back To Work / Gunbarrel / James Bond Theme. Always a shame when the JB theme isn't on the CD. It's a good arrangement (the David Arnold version again). I like the slow build up as Bond meets Mallory.

    2 tracks on the next video. Finally on the CD is the second part of the end credits music. Adrenalin is track 30 on the CD, and is an extended version of "Shanghai Drive". It starts at 1.45 in the video. I like this approach to the end titles music. Soundtracks used to have overtures, where there would be a medley of upcoming themes. Here this idea is used as an epilogue. It works well when they are rearranged or remixed.

    So the next track doesn't work quite so well as they are the exact same tracks as heard earlier rather than any sort of reworking. End Credits is not on the CD, and is made up of portions of "The Bloody Shot" and "The Chimera". I still like the revisit to these tunes. Starts at 2.43 below.

    We've already had a few bonus source cues included so far as they came up in the film. There are more to come.

    Old Dogs, New Tricks is an unused track, and was replaced by "Close Shave". It isn't on the CD, but surprisingly was included on the digital download as track 31. It is another reasonable Newman romantic piece, and is nicely overlain on to the original movie scene in the video below.

    I like to include trailer music in the playlist if it is available.

    Teaser Trailer

    This is a memorable track with it's thumping finale. Written by the same team as the CR trailer.


    More focussed around the Bond theme, with some choral chanting.

    USA Trailer

    Not as good as the other two.

    If you want to stretch the playlist then next two are worth including

    Cat And Mouse Sony Promo

    Slightly generic spy music but worth a listen.

    Finally there is the Ifly / Coca Cola Promo. This is a really great Bond track. Sounds a bit Newman in style.

    To conclude, I think Newman can do the lush romantic pieces very well. He also manages to capture stately pieces well too, which here sound fittingly British.

    He is a master at ambient pieces that don't overcrowd the movie, and while I can recognise he is good at it, it isn't to my taste. He does get it right in "Jellyfish" which walks the line between dramatic and ambient just right. I actually like ambient and electronic music, but someone like Boards Of Canada can noodle a track along for a minute but then really turn out a thumping percussive beat. Here it is often too light or too quiet. When he does get the mid-tempo electronic stuff right, it is very good, such as "Shanghai Drive".

    There is a fair amount of Bond theme here, but it is often just sketchy flicks of it. I don't need the theme repeated loud all movie, but it can be broken into it's constituent parts, reworked and layered in a bit more than we get here.

    Not enough use of the Skyfall theme either, though I cannot blame Newman for that. It's a real miss nevertheless as it is such a memorable tune.

    Newman does themes a bit more than you might think, but they are all fairly understated. Everyone at MI6 seems to get one, but the villains don't. We could have had one for Silva and one for Patrice. We do get a beautiful theme for Severine.

    Newman may have attached quiet themes to some characters, but other than that he doesn't seem to use any other recurring themes throughout the film. Dr No had the Bond Theme and 3 distinctive source songs. You could hear when they were being returned to. Here the James Bond Theme is used lightly in the background apart from "Breadcrumbs". Skyfall is used just once, and there is nothing beyond that. I think something else recurring would have held the soundtrack together better.

    Newman is at his weakest doing the action music. To be clear I think some of his action pieces are fine, but they just aren't Bondy enough. Maybe he could have come up with his own theme. In AVTAK there is no end credits song to use as a secondary theme, so John Barry came up with "He's Dangerous". No reuse of Bond Theme here, just a separate cracking action tune. Maybe Newman could have reworked the PTS music (I said reworked not churned out again, Newman) and placed it a couple more times in the film.

    Some tracks I can easily attach to the corresponding movie scene, others not so much. With many of the earlier movies I can instantly picture the relevant scene when I hear the tracks. They tend to intermingle into an overall generic feel at times here.

    So all in all I would say that this is a mixed bag. I can see why some would say that this is a miss overall. It isn't exactly average in the sense that every track is middling. There are several good tracks here that are memorable and suit the movie. Others are still good for an action film, but could do with a shot of Bond. I think it misses the mark sometimes, but there are enough good parts to stop it being a disaster. I certainly listened to it a lot when it came out, and didn't mind the prospect of Thomas Newman returning.
  • Posts: 1,457
    vzok wrote: »

    So all in all I would say that this is a mixed bag. I can see why some would say that this is a miss overall. It isn't exactly average in the sense that every track is middling. There are several good tracks here that are memorable and suit the movie. Others are still good for an action film, but could do with a shot of Bond. I think it misses the mark sometimes, but there are enough good parts to stop it being a disaster. I certainly listened to it a lot when it came out, and didn't mind the prospect of Thomas Newman returning.
    I listened to it numerous times as well when it came out and always with the same response - I can't recall a thing about it. The thought of Newman coming back is a nauseating thought. Bond deserves better.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 16,035
    Another great review. Very neutral and fair.
  • Posts: 3,881
    BT3366 wrote: »
    vzok wrote: »

    So all in all I would say that this is a mixed bag. I can see why some would say that this is a miss overall. It isn't exactly average in the sense that every track is middling. There are several good tracks here that are memorable and suit the movie. Others are still good for an action film, but could do with a shot of Bond. I think it misses the mark sometimes, but there are enough good parts to stop it being a disaster. I certainly listened to it a lot when it came out, and didn't mind the prospect of Thomas Newman returning.
    I listened to it numerous times as well when it came out and always with the same response - I can't recall a thing about it. The thought of Newman coming back is a nauseating thought. Bond deserves better.

    I'm guessing that if you can forget Skyfall, then you are able to forget Spectre too. Probably for the best.
  • Posts: 1,031
    vzok wrote: »
    BT3366 wrote: »
    vzok wrote: »

    So all in all I would say that this is a mixed bag. I can see why some would say that this is a miss overall. It isn't exactly average in the sense that every track is middling. There are several good tracks here that are memorable and suit the movie. Others are still good for an action film, but could do with a shot of Bond. I think it misses the mark sometimes, but there are enough good parts to stop it being a disaster. I certainly listened to it a lot when it came out, and didn't mind the prospect of Thomas Newman returning.
    I listened to it numerous times as well when it came out and always with the same response - I can't recall a thing about it. The thought of Newman coming back is a nauseating thought. Bond deserves better.

    I'm guessing that if you can forget Skyfall, then you are able to forget Spectre too. Probably for the best.

    Yes, exactly, yes.
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