Reviewing The Bond Soundtracks - You Only Live Twice

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  • edited January 28 Posts: 3,123
    Spectre - Thomas Newman

    How do you solve a problem like the Spectre soundtrack? Let's try to stay open-minded here. Even more than Skyfall this soundtrack gets slated on many forums. I'll try and take this one track by track.

    First up is Gunbarrel. Not on the CD, but easy to get hold of. We are off to a great start. The gunbarrel is back and it is one of the best. It sounds like the finest classical version of the gunbarrel theme, like a really pacy Octopussy but slightly brassier. But it is really lifted by those light bongos. Awesome. Even better is the prelude over the Columbia logos. What a great idea. I hope they stick with that in future.



    Next is Los Muertos Vivos Estan (Prelude). The first part of this track in the movie is not on the CD. There is no way to get this track, so you pretty much have to make do with the film soundtrack. I like the trumpet flourishes and that latin sounding song that plays as Bond is in the elevator.



    Then comes Los Muertos Vivos Estan. This is on the CD as track 1. A really cool sixties Bond Theme sound, without being some sort of homage. Best cue from any Bond soundtrack in a long time.



    Chasing Sciarra is not on the CD. Well not on this CD in this format. This is where it gets a bit confusing. To the best of my knowledge this track starts with a portion of "Quartermaster" from Skyfall, before going into a portion of "Backfire" from later on here.

    It seems that Skyfall tracks were put over the movie as temp tracks, and then someone said that works great let's leave them there. Are these the exact same tracks from last time or were they rerecorded? If there is any difference it seems to be negligible. There have been many occasions where music cues have been reused and tracked from one part of a Bond movie to another part, so I wouldn't complain about it here. It is maybe going to be the case that it is the amount of times that it happens here becomes the issue, plus we are borrowing tracks from the previous movie, which I can only recall happening before between DN and FRWL.

    The repeated (or should that be prepeated) bit of "Backfire" works perfectly well here. The "Quartermaster" bit works too, though it is odd.



    Day Of The Dead. This is the movie version not the one on the CD. Again you have to make do with the film soundtrack as it is. The music accompanying the festival is nice enough, then we get a brief section of the CD track itself.



    Helicopter Fight. Not on the CD as is. I'm struggling now. Is all of this tracked from "Tempus Fugit" or is the first part from "Grand Bazaar Istanbul". I even put "Tempus Fugit" through SoundHound and it said I was playing "Grand Bazaar Istanbul". I'm not sure that there is any dramatic difference between the two in their arrangement. Beyond that I actually don't find this one abrasive being a repeat. It seems to suit the helicopter scene quite well, actually I like it here better than in SF. So I guess I'm saying that I am fine with some cue tracking, but within limits.



    On the whole the PTS has good music, particularly the fresh stuff which is cool. The tracked music I am OK with at this point as a sort of blunt hint that what we are watching is connected to past Bond adventures. But then we have the title track.

    The Writing's On The Wall.

    I know if I criticise this people who like it will think I've just joined the ranks of the many in taking easy pot shots at Sam Smith. Honestly I'm not interested in doing that. I hadn't heard anything of his before this, nor have I heard anything of his since. So I went into it totally open. The opening bars sound very Bondian but when he starts singing I know straight off that like a lot of modern singers I don't like it. His voice sounds affected in some way. I can't describe it easily, but the nearest comparison I can come up with is Des O'Connor. Now Des can hold a tune OK, but to me he always sounds like he has swallowed a clarinet. Sam Smith sounds like he is singing through something. Is it autotune? He sounds a bit tortured. Then comes the falsetto. I don't get why he does this, if he can't hit those notes straight, don't attempt them at all. It just sounds forced. It sounds like how I'd hit those notes. A lot of modern singers just don't seem to have natural talent or range, or haven't had any vocal training. He's singing out of his throat. When I hear a cover version of this it seems to be acceptable.

    The song itself is ordinary, with the lyrics being rather trite. I don't see how it fits the movies at all. Is this Bond singing? It's too wet if it is. The tune is OK. It gets to a good bit where he sings "If I risk it all..." which is rather lovely, but though it sounds like it is building to something it then crashes to a stop. It doesn't fit that well with the weird and brooding titles. So, all in all a disaster. It's not on the CD, so that's something.



    Not on the CD is Personal Effects. Newman reuses the Moneypenny theme. It wasn't fantastic the first time.



    Not on the CD is Message For Bond. Newman reuses the M theme. I can understand the callback here.



    Vauxhall Bridge is track 2 on the CD. Newman reuses Tanner's theme. It exactly mirrors the exposition scene in Skyfall. It's weird to have all of these characters getting recurring music themes. This is starting to get tiring now, and we are still at the start of the movie.



    EDIT: I completely missed the track that plays during the Q Branch scene, which is nice and light and features a fair amount of Bond Theme (which is why I finally noticed it when I watched Spectre the other week). I think it fits the fairly light-hearted tone of the scene well.

    The Eternal City is track 3 on the CD. After the last 4 tracks, this lifts things a bit. Some playful notes to accompany Q"s distress, followed by some nice choral tones as we see Bond arrive in Rome. Pretty good, but then the last 2 minutes of the track drifts off into a rerun of "Skyfall" as we see the funeral. This tracking works OK for this scene.



    Cum Dederit by Andreas Scholl plays over the Donna Lucia scene. Not on the CD. At 0.30 below



    Donna Lucia is a beautifully romantic string piece. Elegant and classy. Newman can capture the quiet and romantic moments well enough. Track 4 on the CD. At 2.30 above.

    One Furtive Tear by Geoff Love is real beautiful, but you can barely hear it later in that scene. Not on the CD. At 4.30 above.

    A Place Without Mercy, track 5, covers Bond arriving for the Spectre meeting. It's a short functional track, that has the usual Newman driving forward sound of percussive beats with some brass stings. It's OK but quite unmemorable. it's at 0.39 below.



    Hinx Arrives is not on the CD as it appears in the movie. This sneaky Oddjob-style riff is repeated 4 times on screen. On the CD I think it occurs just twice and is stuck at the start of the another cue instead of being a separate short one.



    Backfire, track 6, is quite a bit different in the movie. Sometimes I might edit a movie version on the other Bond soundtracks but I'm not sure that is possible here. Plus I think this version sounds fine as it is. It's a decent action track and I still like to listen to it now. In the movie it doesn't seem to work quite as well as it doesn't always seem to fit. There is one part where the music is still piledriving along whilst Moneypenny is opening up her fridge. Plus, as good as it is, it then concludes in the final minute by switching yet again to a Skyfall rerun (from the PTS). Ends up being a mixed bag of a track rather than an out and out winner. At 1.06 below.



    The Pale King, track 8, suffers a bit from me having seen the trailer. As Bond sets out across the lake the ominous trailer music fits perfectly. Meanwhile this track sounds very stoic and British (before noodling off into Newman nothingness) and to me therefore sounds completely wrong. It's fine enough to listen to on the CD, but a poor fit in the movie.



    Kite In A Hurricane, track 10, is an atmospheric eerie cue that might have fit Bond arriving on the boat better than the previous track did. Another lift from "Skyfall". At 2.36 below.



    Crows Klinik, track 7, starts off as more Newman slow repetitive percussion, and I'm starting to think this'll be another bland one, but it opens out into a lush string piece that is quite nice.



    Snow Plane, track 11, is along with Backfire one of Newman's big action hitters. This is a pretty good one for me. If he had served up something more like this for later set pieces we might have been better off. It has a very rapid pace for most of the first half, which sounds very reminiscent of Skyfall but without being a direct ripoff (this is how you link back Newman). In the second half there are some decent brass fanfares to highlight the action.



    L'Americain, track 12, has a suitable vibe for the change of location, and again the orchestration really reminds me of Skyfall without being a repeat. I'd rate this one as OK.



    Secret Room, track 13, sounds eerie at first then goes into what sounds like it should be part of Madeline's theme (but is actually "Out Of Bullets"), then heads for a Newman chugalong. First part good, second part OK. 5.33 in video above.

    Madeline, track 9, and why are all these tracks on the CD ever so slightly out of order. Annoying and pointless. Anyway the track is lush and romantic in feel, but it does drift a few times into nothingness. So it isn't as strong as Severine. Maybe that was Newman's point.



    Hinx, track 14, covers Hinx attacking Bond on the train, or at least the end of that scene. It sounds a bit train-like, and conveys Bond's desperation. Pretty good this one, and not as clunky as some of Newman's other action pieces. At 1.37 below.



    Bond And Madeline, is not on the CD, though you can mimic it close enough. On the CD at this point they just drop in the instrumental version of "Writing's On The Wall" (track 15), and if you edit it down, you get a reasonable version. I think the only difference is that in the movie version the first half has the brass removed and strings added or enhanced, giving it a quieter more romantic feeling. I sometimes play the PTS tracks in order followed by this one, which is quite satisfying.



    Silver Wraith, track 16, is another Newman classic noodler. It does nothing for me, though in the movie it isn't annoying. At 0.30 below.



    A Reunion, track 17, carries on in a similar vein. It's Newman atmosphere with little tune. All percussion for most of it's run time. At 1.45 below.



    Tempus Fugit, track 19, has the floaty flute bit edited out in the movie, as that bit had already been used in the PTS helicopter fight. This is a strident action piece that works well enough. It does seem to be a case of just repeatedly hammering away at strings to convey speed and threat, which is maybe a bit obvious. Especially so when you feel like he has already done that a few times here and again in Skyfall. At 1.30 below.



    And so we head to the conclusion of Spectre. We return to London and we return to "The Moors", and no I don't get that link other than it is the end of both movies. I'll try and sum these next tracks up briefly as I think they are all part of the same problem. Up to this point we have had a few decent tracks, a few duffers and a few too many reruns from Skyfall. But now it does go downhill.

    Safe House begins with a tune he has used earlier, I have already forgotten which one. But the percussion in the first few seconds is already hinting at "The Moors". We get some "Out Of Bullets" in the middle to break the boredom. It rounds out with some Bond chords. A Newman mash-up. Track 20 on the CD.

    So it begins. Blindfold, track 21, seems to have some string repeats which sound like they are from Skyfall, but I can't place them. But the baseline seems to be pretty much a rip on "The Moors". At 1.20 below.



    Careless, track 22, goes all out "The Moors" from the start, and hammers on and off with it throughout. At 2.45 above.

    Detonation, track 23, ends with some Bond chords, but before that it mixes between those "Blindfold" strings and "The Moors" chugging bass. At 1.40 below.



    Westminster Bridge, track 24, is more "Moors". At 0.20 below.



    Out Of Bullets, track 25, we have heard in a few tracks already. It is a fair enough light orchestral cue. I'm just glad it isn't "The Moors" at this stage. At 4.35 above.

    Aston Departure is not on the CD, but is pretty much a rerun of the "Back To Work" track on Skyfall. So if you managed to snag that one you are laughing.



    Spectre (End Credits), track 26, rounds off the CD with a replay of "The Moors". OK it might as well have been. Instead it is "Silver Wraith" and "Madeline", maybe.



    So for all you Newman fans clamouring for more, here it is.

    On your playlist you could also include Bond And Madeline (Movie Version), though you can only get that off the audio track with some sfx at the start.

    You have the Teaser Trailer and the Trailer, which have both been covered nicely. The trailer has that nice nod to OHMSS too. You can get hold of these ones easily on iTunes. There is a third trailer too that I haven't seen available, so there is only the third video below.







    Lastly two (partly) unused cues from the CD. Day Of The Dead, track 18, was only lightly used in the movie version earlier, instead with other pieces of music floating around over it. Here it is in full. It's OK.



    We only used maybe half of the Writing's On The Wall (Instrumental) in "Bond And Madeline" earlier. I enjoy the full version as I can sing over the top of it and think I am a horrible singer who can't properly hit the high notes, but at least I'm not inflicting it on anyone else. No really you can try and appreciate the tune here. It's not a bad tune, minus the lyrics and singing.



    So to sum up, this is pretty awful overall. It gets off to a good start through the PTS. But we get far too much repeated Skyfall music, which makes no sense thematically, and is just plain boring. If he'd rearranged these tracks that'd have been something. Repeating music and themes is fine by me. John Barry did it. He'd rework the main theme over and again in truly different ways. Think of OHMSS as a main theme and then "Over And Out". Think of "He's Dangerous" being used 4 or 5 times largely in the same fashion in AVTAK. That's a strong secondary theme that stands up to it.

    Worse than that Newman picks "The Moors" and runs it over and over through 4 or 5 tracks. I don't mind that track in Skyfall, it is effective enough and only lasts 2 minutes or so. Here it drags across 18 minutes. It becomes torturous being beaten over the head with that pulsating repetitive baseline and beat. I actually think it's use detracts from the London scenes. Maybe Newman thought that was like his "007". It isn't.

    Of the remaining tracks there are a few that are decent enough. But if you run through these tracks (setting aside the repeats) and compare them to Skyfall there are far fewer decent tracks here. Skyfall had decent cues for the PTS, plus "Severine", "Shanghai Lobby", "Jellyfish", "The Chimera", "Tennyson/Enquiry" and "Silhouette". These were all good tracks for me with some other reasonable ones too. Here I'm looking at the PTS and then "Eternal City", "Donna Lucia" and "Snow Plane", plus half of "Backfire". It's a real drop in quality.

    There are no real themes here. "The Moors" is used as a recurring theme. There is Madeline's Theme, but it isn't great and doesn't get used much. All the other themes are Skyfall repeats. Other Bond films have the main theme, with possibly a secondary theme and a romantic theme turning up in variations. There are no such hooks here.

    Before running through this soundtrack this time, I'd have guessed that I'd have rated this as a lower level score. However I'm inclined to think now that it is the worst for me. Dr No is at least original. I can see Monty Norman's idea for Jamaican music. NSNA has a series of cues that don't feel like Bond, but at least he has some sort of jazzy tunes that I can remember. Thomas Newman serves up repetition from Skyfall to Spectre, and within Spectre. His tunes to me are often non-tunes. They aren't that memorable either, nor are they Bondian. Even when his action tunes are decent, like "Snow Plane" they still don't scream Bond to me.

    After Skyfall I wouldn't have minded Thomas Newman returning. I hope he doesn't next time. If he does, I hope he bucks his ideas up.

    In conclusion.......

  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 15,634
    Great review @vzok, I'm inclined to agree. A couple of decent tracks over all but an unfortunately very forgettable score... It's bottom of the bunch for me as well.

    And to accompany your Seinfeld clip, I made this a few months back. :))
    SwfjG84l.jpg
  • WalecsWalecs On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    edited November 2017 Posts: 2,009
    The "Spectre (End Titles)" video you shared was uploaded by me! I feel flattered! As I noted in the video description, interestingly the CD version is slightly different from the movie version.
  • TripAcesTripAces Universal Exports
    Posts: 2,685
    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.

    The Recording Academy didn't forget. They gave Newman a Grammy for SF. That's how kick@ss the OST was.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 15,634
    They sure owe John Barry a bunch. None of his Bond scores got any.
  • edited November 2017 Posts: 3,123
    Walecs wrote: »
    The "Spectre (End Titles)" video you shared was uploaded by me! I feel flattered! As I noted in the video description, interestingly the CD version is slightly different from the movie version.

    I hadn't noticed the difference until I saw that comment. Good spot.
    TripAces wrote: »
    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.

    The Recording Academy didn't forget. They gave Newman a Grammy for SF. That's how kick@ss the OST was.

    Well I don't mind Skyfall, but it certainly makes you scratch your head that John Barry got no acknowledgement for his 007 soundtracks. Is SF a favourite soundtrack for you?
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    vzok wrote: »
    Spectre - Thomas Newman

    How do you solve a problem like the Spectre soundtrack? Let's try to stay open-minded here. Even more than Skyfall this soundtrack gets slated on many forums. I'll try and take this one track by track.

    First up is Gunbarrel. Not on the CD, but easy to get hold of. We are off to a great start. The gunbarrel is back and it is one of the best. It sounds like the finest classical version of the gunbarrel theme, like a really pacy Octopussy but slightly brassier. But it is really lifted by those light bongos. Awesome. Even better is the prelude over the Columbia logos. What a great idea. I hope they stick with that in future.



    Next is Los Muertos Vivos Estan (Prelude). The first part of this track in the movie is not on the CD. There is no way to get this track, so you pretty much have to make do with the film soundtrack. I like the trumpet flourishes and that latin sounding song that plays as Bond is in the elevator.



    Then comes Los Muertos Vivos Estan. This is on the CD as track 1. A really cool sixties Bond Theme sound, without being some sort of homage. Best cue from any Bond soundtrack in a long time.



    Chasing Sciarra is not on the CD. Well not on this CD in this format. This is where it gets a bit confusing. To the best of my knowledge this track starts with a portion of "Quartermaster" from Skyfall, before going into a portion of "Backfire" from later on here.

    It seems that Skyfall tracks were put over the movie as temp tracks, and then someone said that works great let's leave them there. Are these the exact same tracks from last time or were they rerecorded? If there is any difference it seems to be negligible. There have been many occasions where music cues have been reused and tracked from one part of a Bond movie to another part, so I wouldn't complain about it here. It is maybe going to be the case that it is the amount of times that it happens here becomes the issue, plus we are borrowing tracks from the previous movie, which I can only recall happening before between DN and FRWL.

    The repeated (or should that be prepeated) bit of "Backfire" works perfectly well here. The "Quartermaster" bit works too, though it is odd.



    Day Of The Dead. This is the movie version not the one on the CD. Again you have to make do with the film soundtrack as it is. The music accompanying the festival is nice enough, then we get a brief section of the CD track itself.



    Helicopter Fight. Not on the CD as is. I'm struggling now. Is all of this tracked from "Tempus Fugit" or is the first part from "Grand Bazaar Istanbul". I even put "Tempus Fugit" through SoundHound and it said I was playing "Grand Bazaar Istanbul". I'm not sure that there is any dramatic difference between the two in their arrangement. Beyond that I actually don't find this one abrasive being a repeat. It seems to suit the helicopter scene quite well, actually I like it here better than in SF. So I guess I'm saying that I am fine with some cue tracking, but within limits.



    On the whole the PTS has good music, particularly the fresh stuff which is cool. The tracked music I am OK with at this point as a sort of blunt hint that what we are watching is connected to past Bond adventures. But then we have the title track.

    The Writing's On The Wall.

    I know if I criticise this people who like it will think I've just joined the ranks of the many in taking easy pot shots at Sam Smith. Honestly I'm not interested in doing that. I hadn't heard anything of his before this, nor have I heard anything of his since. So I went into it totally open. The opening bars sound very Bondian but when he starts singing I know straight off that like a lot of modern singers I don't like it. His voice sounds affected in some way. I can't describe it easily, but the nearest comparison I can come up with is Des O'Connor. Now Des can hold a tune OK, but to me he always sounds like he has swallowed a clarinet. Sam Smith sounds like he is singing through something. Is it autotune? He sounds a bit tortured. Then comes the falsetto. I don't get why he does this, if he can't hit those notes straight, don't attempt them at all. It just sounds forced. It sounds like how I'd hit those notes. A lot of modern singers just don't seem to have natural talent or range, or haven't had any vocal training. He's singing out of his throat. When I hear a cover version of this it seems to be acceptable.

    The song itself is ordinary, with the lyrics being rather trite. I don't see how it fits the movies at all. Is this Bond singing? It's too wet if it is. The tune is OK. It gets to a good bit where he sings "If I risk it all..." which is rather lovely, but though it sounds like it is building to something it then crashes to a stop. It doesn't fit that well with the weird and brooding titles. So, all in all a disaster. It's not on the CD, so that's something.



    Not on the CD is Personal Effects. Newman reuses the Moneypenny theme. It wasn't fantastic the first time.



    Not on the CD is Message For Bond. Newman reuses the M theme. I can understand the callback here.



    Vauxhall Bridge is track 2 on the CD. Newman reuses Tanner's theme. It exactly mirrors the exposition scene in Skyfall. It's weird to have all of these characters getting recurring music themes. This is starting to get tiring now, and we are still at the start of the movie.



    The Eternal City is track 3 on the CD. After the last 4 tracks, this lifts things a bit. Some playful notes to accompany Q"s distress, followed by some nice choral tones as we see Bond arrive in Rome. Pretty good, but then the last 2 minutes of the track drifts off into a rerun of "Skyfall" as we see the funeral. This tracking works OK for this scene.



    Cum Dederit by Andreas Scholl plays over the Donna Lucia scene. Not on the CD. At 0.30 below



    Donna Lucia is a beautifully romantic string piece. Elegant and classy. Newman can capture the quiet and romantic moments well enough. Track 4 on the CD. At 2.30 above.

    One Furtive Tear by Geoff Love is real beautiful, but you can barely hear it later in that scene. Not on the CD. At 4.30 above.

    A Place Without Mercy, track 5, covers Bond arriving for the Spectre meeting. It's a short functional track, that has the usual Newman driving forward sound of percussive beats with some brass stings. It's OK but quite unmemorable. it's at 0.39 below.



    Hinx Arrives is not on the CD as it appears in the movie. This sneaky Oddjob-style riff is repeated 4 times on screen. On the CD I think it occurs just twice and is stuck at the start of the another cue instead of being a separate short one.



    Backfire, track 6, is quite a bit different in the movie. Sometimes I might edit a movie version on the other Bond soundtracks but I'm not sure that is possible here. Plus I think this version sounds fine as it is. It's a decent action track and I still like to listen to it now. In the movie it doesn't seem to work quite as well as it doesn't always seem to fit. There is one part where the music is still piledriving along whilst Moneypenny is opening up her fridge. Plus, as good as it is, it then concludes in the final minute by switching yet again to a Skyfall rerun (from the PTS). Ends up being a mixed bag of a track rather than an out and out winner. At 1.06 below.



    The Pale King, track 8, suffers a bit from me having seen the trailer. As Bond sets out across the lake the ominous trailer music fits perfectly. Meanwhile this track sounds very stoic and British (before noodling off into Newman nothingness) and to me therefore sounds completely wrong. It's fine enough to listen to on the CD, but a poor fit in the movie.



    Kite In A Hurricane, track 10, is an atmospheric eerie cue that might have fit Bond arriving on the boat better than the previous track did. Another lift from "Skyfall". At 2.36 below.



    Crows Klinik, track 7, starts off as more Newman slow repetitive percussion, and I'm starting to think this'll be another bland one, but it opens out into a lush string piece that is quite nice.



    Snow Plane, track 11, is along with Backfire one of Newman's big action hitters. This is a pretty good one for me. If he had served up something more like this for later set pieces we might have been better off. It has a very rapid pace for most of the first half, which sounds very reminiscent of Skyfall but without being a direct ripoff (this is how you link back Newman). In the second half there are some decent brass fanfares to highlight the action.



    L'Americain, track 12, has a suitable vibe for the change of location, and again the orchestration really reminds me of Skyfall without being a repeat. I'd rate this one as OK.



    Secret Room, track 13, sounds eerie at first then goes into what sounds like it should be part of Madeline's theme (but is actually "Out Of Bullets"), then heads for a Newman chugalong. First part good, second part OK. 5.33 in video above.

    Madeline, track 9, and why are all these tracks on the CD ever so slightly out of order. Annoying and pointless. Anyway the track is lush and romantic in feel, but it does drift a few times into nothingness. So it isn't as strong as Severine. Maybe that was Newman's point.



    Hinx, track 14, covers Hinx attacking Bond on the train, or at least the end of that scene. It sounds a bit train-like, and conveys Bond's desperation. Pretty good this one, and not as clunky as some of Newman's other action pieces. At 1.37 below.



    Bond And Madeline, is not on the CD, though you can mimic it close enough. On the CD at this point they just drop in the instrumental version of "Writing's On The Wall" (track 15), and if you edit it down, you get a reasonable version. I think the only difference is that in the movie version the first half has the brass removed and strings added or enhanced, giving it a quieter more romantic feeling. I sometimes play the PTS tracks in order followed by this one, which is quite satisfying.



    Silver Wraith, track 16, is another Newman classic noodler. It does nothing for me, though in the movie it isn't annoying. At 0.30 below.



    A Reunion, track 17, carries on in a similar vein. It's Newman atmosphere with little tune. All percussion for most of it's run time. At 1.45 below.



    Tempus Fugit, track 19, has the floaty flute bit edited out in the movie, as that bit had already been used in the PTS helicopter fight. This is a strident action piece that works well enough. It does seem to be a case of just repeatedly hammering away at strings to convey speed and threat, which is maybe a bit obvious. Especially so when you feel like he has already done that a few times here and again in Skyfall. At 1.30 below.



    And so we head to the conclusion of Spectre. We return to London and we return to "The Moors", and no I don't get that link other than it is the end of both movies. I'll try and sum these next tracks up briefly as I think they are all part of the same problem. Up to this point we have had a few decent tracks, a few duffers and a few too many reruns from Skyfall. But now it does go downhill.

    Safe House begins with a tune he has used earlier, I have already forgotten which one. But the percussion in the first few seconds is already hinting at "The Moors". We get some "Out Of Bullets" in the middle to break the boredom. It rounds out with some Bond chords. A Newman mash-up. Track 20 on the CD.

    So it begins. Blindfold, track 21, seems to have some string repeats which sound like they are from Skyfall, but I can't place them. But the baseline seems to be pretty much a rip on "The Moors". At 1.20 below.



    Careless, track 22, goes all out "The Moors" from the start, and hammers on and off with it throughout. At 2.45 above.

    Detonation, track 23, ends with some Bond chords, but before that it mixes between those "Blindfold" strings and "The Moors" chugging bass. At 1.40 below.



    Westminster Bridge, track 24, is more "Moors". At 0.20 below.



    Out Of Bullets, track 25, we have heard in a few tracks already. It is a fair enough light orchestral cue. I'm just glad it isn't "The Moors" at this stage. At 4.35 above.

    Aston Departure is not on the CD, but is pretty much a rerun of the "Back To Work" track on Skyfall. So if you managed to snag that one you are laughing.



    Spectre (End Credits), track 26, rounds off the CD with a replay of "The Moors". OK it might as well have been. Instead it is "Silver Wraith" and "Madeline", maybe.



    So for all you Newman fans clamouring for more, here it is.

    On your playlist you could also include Bond And Madeline (Movie Version), though you can only get that off the audio track with some sfx at the start.

    You have the Teaser Trailer and the Trailer, which have both been covered nicely. The trailer has that nice nod to OHMSS too. You can get hold of these ones easily on iTunes. There is a third trailer too that I haven't seen available, so there is only the third video below.







    Lastly two (partly) unused cues from the CD. Day Of The Dead, track 18, was only lightly used in the movie version earlier, instead with other pieces of music floating around over it. Here it is in full. It's OK.



    We only used maybe half of the Writing's On The Wall (Instrumental) in "Bond And Madeline" earlier. I enjoy the full version as I can sing over the top of it and think I am a horrible singer who can't properly hit the high notes, but at least I'm not inflicting it on anyone else. No really you can try and appreciate the tune here. It's not a bad tune, minus the lyrics and singing.



    So to sum up, this is pretty awful overall. It gets off to a good start through the PTS. But we get far too much repeated Skyfall music, which makes no sense thematically, and is just plain boring. If he'd rearranged these tracks that'd have been something. Repeating music and themes is fine by me. John Barry did it. He'd rework the main theme over and again in truly different ways. Think of OHMSS as a main theme and then "Over And Out". Think of "He's Dangerous" being used 4 or 5 times largely in the same fashion in AVTAK. That's a strong secondary theme that stands up to it.

    Worse than that Newman picks "The Moors" and runs it over and over through 4 or 5 tracks. I don't mind that track in Skyfall, it is effective enough and only lasts 2 minutes or so. Here it drags across 18 minutes. It becomes torturous being beaten over the head with that pulsating repetitive baseline and beat. I actually think it's use detracts from the London scenes. Maybe Newman thought that was like his "007". It isn't.

    Of the remaining tracks there are a few that are decent enough. But if you run through these tracks (setting aside the repeats) and compare them to Skyfall there are far fewer decent tracks here. Skyfall had decent cues for the PTS, plus "Severine", "Shanghai Lobby", "Jellyfish", "The Chimera", "Tennyson/Enquiry" and "Silhouette". These were all good tracks for me with some other reasonable ones too. Here I'm looking at the PTS and then "Eternal City", "Donna Lucia" and "Snow Plane", plus half of "Backfire". It's a real drop in quality.

    There are no real themes here. "The Moors" is used as a recurring theme. There is Madeline's Theme, but it isn't great and doesn't get used much. All the other themes are Skyfall repeats. Other Bond films have the main theme, with possibly a secondary theme and a romantic theme turning up in variations. There are no such hooks here.

    Before running through this soundtrack this time, I'd have guessed that I'd have rated this as a lower level score. However I'm inclined to think now that it is the worst for me. Dr No is at least original. I can see Monty Norman's idea for Jamaican music. NSNA has a series of cues that don't feel like Bond, but at least he has some sort of jazzy tunes that I can remember. Thomas Newman serves up repetition from Skyfall to Spectre, and within Spectre. His tunes to me are often non-tunes. They aren't that memorable either, nor are they Bondian. Even when his action tunes are decent, like "Snow Plane" they still don't scream Bond to me.

    After Skyfall I wouldn't have minded Thomas Newman returning. I hope he doesn't next time. If he does, I hope he bucks his ideas up.

    In conclusion.......


    Excellent, and very fair review. There's very little I would argue with.

    SF I can live with but we have severely diminishing returns here. The only moments that spring to mind as being decent are walking across the rooftops, driving towards the Coliseum, powersliding past the Vatican, finding the Vesper video, WOTW instrumental and driving towards the crater. That really isn't much in a 150 minute film.

    The overwhelmingly naff MP cue (I think it's meant to be flirty and cheeky but it just makes me want to punch someone) is a particular bugbear and a serious factor in me finding Harris irritating.

    And a 'Tanner theme'. Christ who knew? But you're absolutely correct. A new low even for Newman.
  • I think if I ever hear 'The Moors' or any sort of variation on it again in a Bond film I'd actually kill myself.
  • WalecsWalecs On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    Posts: 2,009
    vzok wrote: »
    Spectre - Thomas Newman

    How do you solve a problem like the Spectre soundtrack? Let's try to stay open-minded here. Even more than Skyfall this soundtrack gets slated on many forums. I'll try and take this one track by track.

    First up is Gunbarrel. Not on the CD, but easy to get hold of. We are off to a great start. The gunbarrel is back and it is one of the best. It sounds like the finest classical version of the gunbarrel theme, like a really pacy Octopussy but slightly brassier. But it is really lifted by those light bongos. Awesome. Even better is the prelude over the Columbia logos. What a great idea. I hope they stick with that in future.



    Next is Los Muertos Vivos Estan (Prelude). The first part of this track in the movie is not on the CD. There is no way to get this track, so you pretty much have to make do with the film soundtrack. I like the trumpet flourishes and that latin sounding song that plays as Bond is in the elevator.



    Then comes Los Muertos Vivos Estan. This is on the CD as track 1. A really cool sixties Bond Theme sound, without being some sort of homage. Best cue from any Bond soundtrack in a long time.



    Chasing Sciarra is not on the CD. Well not on this CD in this format. This is where it gets a bit confusing. To the best of my knowledge this track starts with a portion of "Quartermaster" from Skyfall, before going into a portion of "Backfire" from later on here.

    It seems that Skyfall tracks were put over the movie as temp tracks, and then someone said that works great let's leave them there. Are these the exact same tracks from last time or were they rerecorded? If there is any difference it seems to be negligible. There have been many occasions where music cues have been reused and tracked from one part of a Bond movie to another part, so I wouldn't complain about it here. It is maybe going to be the case that it is the amount of times that it happens here becomes the issue, plus we are borrowing tracks from the previous movie, which I can only recall happening before between DN and FRWL.

    The repeated (or should that be prepeated) bit of "Backfire" works perfectly well here. The "Quartermaster" bit works too, though it is odd.



    Day Of The Dead. This is the movie version not the one on the CD. Again you have to make do with the film soundtrack as it is. The music accompanying the festival is nice enough, then we get a brief section of the CD track itself.



    Helicopter Fight. Not on the CD as is. I'm struggling now. Is all of this tracked from "Tempus Fugit" or is the first part from "Grand Bazaar Istanbul". I even put "Tempus Fugit" through SoundHound and it said I was playing "Grand Bazaar Istanbul". I'm not sure that there is any dramatic difference between the two in their arrangement. Beyond that I actually don't find this one abrasive being a repeat. It seems to suit the helicopter scene quite well, actually I like it here better than in SF. So I guess I'm saying that I am fine with some cue tracking, but within limits.



    On the whole the PTS has good music, particularly the fresh stuff which is cool. The tracked music I am OK with at this point as a sort of blunt hint that what we are watching is connected to past Bond adventures. But then we have the title track.

    The Writing's On The Wall.

    I know if I criticise this people who like it will think I've just joined the ranks of the many in taking easy pot shots at Sam Smith. Honestly I'm not interested in doing that. I hadn't heard anything of his before this, nor have I heard anything of his since. So I went into it totally open. The opening bars sound very Bondian but when he starts singing I know straight off that like a lot of modern singers I don't like it. His voice sounds affected in some way. I can't describe it easily, but the nearest comparison I can come up with is Des O'Connor. Now Des can hold a tune OK, but to me he always sounds like he has swallowed a clarinet. Sam Smith sounds like he is singing through something. Is it autotune? He sounds a bit tortured. Then comes the falsetto. I don't get why he does this, if he can't hit those notes straight, don't attempt them at all. It just sounds forced. It sounds like how I'd hit those notes. A lot of modern singers just don't seem to have natural talent or range, or haven't had any vocal training. He's singing out of his throat. When I hear a cover version of this it seems to be acceptable.

    The song itself is ordinary, with the lyrics being rather trite. I don't see how it fits the movies at all. Is this Bond singing? It's too wet if it is. The tune is OK. It gets to a good bit where he sings "If I risk it all..." which is rather lovely, but though it sounds like it is building to something it then crashes to a stop. It doesn't fit that well with the weird and brooding titles. So, all in all a disaster. It's not on the CD, so that's something.



    Not on the CD is Personal Effects. Newman reuses the Moneypenny theme. It wasn't fantastic the first time.



    Not on the CD is Message For Bond. Newman reuses the M theme. I can understand the callback here.



    Vauxhall Bridge is track 2 on the CD. Newman reuses Tanner's theme. It exactly mirrors the exposition scene in Skyfall. It's weird to have all of these characters getting recurring music themes. This is starting to get tiring now, and we are still at the start of the movie.



    The Eternal City is track 3 on the CD. After the last 4 tracks, this lifts things a bit. Some playful notes to accompany Q"s distress, followed by some nice choral tones as we see Bond arrive in Rome. Pretty good, but then the last 2 minutes of the track drifts off into a rerun of "Skyfall" as we see the funeral. This tracking works OK for this scene.



    Cum Dederit by Andreas Scholl plays over the Donna Lucia scene. Not on the CD. At 0.30 below



    Donna Lucia is a beautifully romantic string piece. Elegant and classy. Newman can capture the quiet and romantic moments well enough. Track 4 on the CD. At 2.30 above.

    One Furtive Tear by Geoff Love is real beautiful, but you can barely hear it later in that scene. Not on the CD. At 4.30 above.

    A Place Without Mercy, track 5, covers Bond arriving for the Spectre meeting. It's a short functional track, that has the usual Newman driving forward sound of percussive beats with some brass stings. It's OK but quite unmemorable. it's at 0.39 below.



    Hinx Arrives is not on the CD as it appears in the movie. This sneaky Oddjob-style riff is repeated 4 times on screen. On the CD I think it occurs just twice and is stuck at the start of the another cue instead of being a separate short one.



    Backfire, track 6, is quite a bit different in the movie. Sometimes I might edit a movie version on the other Bond soundtracks but I'm not sure that is possible here. Plus I think this version sounds fine as it is. It's a decent action track and I still like to listen to it now. In the movie it doesn't seem to work quite as well as it doesn't always seem to fit. There is one part where the music is still piledriving along whilst Moneypenny is opening up her fridge. Plus, as good as it is, it then concludes in the final minute by switching yet again to a Skyfall rerun (from the PTS). Ends up being a mixed bag of a track rather than an out and out winner. At 1.06 below.



    The Pale King, track 8, suffers a bit from me having seen the trailer. As Bond sets out across the lake the ominous trailer music fits perfectly. Meanwhile this track sounds very stoic and British (before noodling off into Newman nothingness) and to me therefore sounds completely wrong. It's fine enough to listen to on the CD, but a poor fit in the movie.



    Kite In A Hurricane, track 10, is an atmospheric eerie cue that might have fit Bond arriving on the boat better than the previous track did. Another lift from "Skyfall". At 2.36 below.



    Crows Klinik, track 7, starts off as more Newman slow repetitive percussion, and I'm starting to think this'll be another bland one, but it opens out into a lush string piece that is quite nice.



    Snow Plane, track 11, is along with Backfire one of Newman's big action hitters. This is a pretty good one for me. If he had served up something more like this for later set pieces we might have been better off. It has a very rapid pace for most of the first half, which sounds very reminiscent of Skyfall but without being a direct ripoff (this is how you link back Newman). In the second half there are some decent brass fanfares to highlight the action.



    L'Americain, track 12, has a suitable vibe for the change of location, and again the orchestration really reminds me of Skyfall without being a repeat. I'd rate this one as OK.



    Secret Room, track 13, sounds eerie at first then goes into what sounds like it should be part of Madeline's theme (but is actually "Out Of Bullets"), then heads for a Newman chugalong. First part good, second part OK. 5.33 in video above.

    Madeline, track 9, and why are all these tracks on the CD ever so slightly out of order. Annoying and pointless. Anyway the track is lush and romantic in feel, but it does drift a few times into nothingness. So it isn't as strong as Severine. Maybe that was Newman's point.



    Hinx, track 14, covers Hinx attacking Bond on the train, or at least the end of that scene. It sounds a bit train-like, and conveys Bond's desperation. Pretty good this one, and not as clunky as some of Newman's other action pieces. At 1.37 below.



    Bond And Madeline, is not on the CD, though you can mimic it close enough. On the CD at this point they just drop in the instrumental version of "Writing's On The Wall" (track 15), and if you edit it down, you get a reasonable version. I think the only difference is that in the movie version the first half has the brass removed and strings added or enhanced, giving it a quieter more romantic feeling. I sometimes play the PTS tracks in order followed by this one, which is quite satisfying.



    Silver Wraith, track 16, is another Newman classic noodler. It does nothing for me, though in the movie it isn't annoying. At 0.30 below.



    A Reunion, track 17, carries on in a similar vein. It's Newman atmosphere with little tune. All percussion for most of it's run time. At 1.45 below.



    Tempus Fugit, track 19, has the floaty flute bit edited out in the movie, as that bit had already been used in the PTS helicopter fight. This is a strident action piece that works well enough. It does seem to be a case of just repeatedly hammering away at strings to convey speed and threat, which is maybe a bit obvious. Especially so when you feel like he has already done that a few times here and again in Skyfall. At 1.30 below.



    And so we head to the conclusion of Spectre. We return to London and we return to "The Moors", and no I don't get that link other than it is the end of both movies. I'll try and sum these next tracks up briefly as I think they are all part of the same problem. Up to this point we have had a few decent tracks, a few duffers and a few too many reruns from Skyfall. But now it does go downhill.

    Safe House begins with a tune he has used earlier, I have already forgotten which one. But the percussion in the first few seconds is already hinting at "The Moors". We get some "Out Of Bullets" in the middle to break the boredom. It rounds out with some Bond chords. A Newman mash-up. Track 20 on the CD.

    So it begins. Blindfold, track 21, seems to have some string repeats which sound like they are from Skyfall, but I can't place them. But the baseline seems to be pretty much a rip on "The Moors". At 1.20 below.



    Careless, track 22, goes all out "The Moors" from the start, and hammers on and off with it throughout. At 2.45 above.

    Detonation, track 23, ends with some Bond chords, but before that it mixes between those "Blindfold" strings and "The Moors" chugging bass. At 1.40 below.



    Westminster Bridge, track 24, is more "Moors". At 0.20 below.



    Out Of Bullets, track 25, we have heard in a few tracks already. It is a fair enough light orchestral cue. I'm just glad it isn't "The Moors" at this stage. At 4.35 above.

    Aston Departure is not on the CD, but is pretty much a rerun of the "Back To Work" track on Skyfall. So if you managed to snag that one you are laughing.



    Spectre (End Credits), track 26, rounds off the CD with a replay of "The Moors". OK it might as well have been. Instead it is "Silver Wraith" and "Madeline", maybe.



    So for all you Newman fans clamouring for more, here it is.

    On your playlist you could also include Bond And Madeline (Movie Version), though you can only get that off the audio track with some sfx at the start.

    You have the Teaser Trailer and the Trailer, which have both been covered nicely. The trailer has that nice nod to OHMSS too. You can get hold of these ones easily on iTunes. There is a third trailer too that I haven't seen available, so there is only the third video below.







    Lastly two (partly) unused cues from the CD. Day Of The Dead, track 18, was only lightly used in the movie version earlier, instead with other pieces of music floating around over it. Here it is in full. It's OK.



    We only used maybe half of the Writing's On The Wall (Instrumental) in "Bond And Madeline" earlier. I enjoy the full version as I can sing over the top of it and think I am a horrible singer who can't properly hit the high notes, but at least I'm not inflicting it on anyone else. No really you can try and appreciate the tune here. It's not a bad tune, minus the lyrics and singing.



    So to sum up, this is pretty awful overall. It gets off to a good start through the PTS. But we get far too much repeated Skyfall music, which makes no sense thematically, and is just plain boring. If he'd rearranged these tracks that'd have been something. Repeating music and themes is fine by me. John Barry did it. He'd rework the main theme over and again in truly different ways. Think of OHMSS as a main theme and then "Over And Out". Think of "He's Dangerous" being used 4 or 5 times largely in the same fashion in AVTAK. That's a strong secondary theme that stands up to it.

    Worse than that Newman picks "The Moors" and runs it over and over through 4 or 5 tracks. I don't mind that track in Skyfall, it is effective enough and only lasts 2 minutes or so. Here it drags across 18 minutes. It becomes torturous being beaten over the head with that pulsating repetitive baseline and beat. I actually think it's use detracts from the London scenes. Maybe Newman thought that was like his "007". It isn't.

    Of the remaining tracks there are a few that are decent enough. But if you run through these tracks (setting aside the repeats) and compare them to Skyfall there are far fewer decent tracks here. Skyfall had decent cues for the PTS, plus "Severine", "Shanghai Lobby", "Jellyfish", "The Chimera", "Tennyson/Enquiry" and "Silhouette". These were all good tracks for me with some other reasonable ones too. Here I'm looking at the PTS and then "Eternal City", "Donna Lucia" and "Snow Plane", plus half of "Backfire". It's a real drop in quality.

    There are no real themes here. "The Moors" is used as a recurring theme. There is Madeline's Theme, but it isn't great and doesn't get used much. All the other themes are Skyfall repeats. Other Bond films have the main theme, with possibly a secondary theme and a romantic theme turning up in variations. There are no such hooks here.

    Before running through this soundtrack this time, I'd have guessed that I'd have rated this as a lower level score. However I'm inclined to think now that it is the worst for me. Dr No is at least original. I can see Monty Norman's idea for Jamaican music. NSNA has a series of cues that don't feel like Bond, but at least he has some sort of jazzy tunes that I can remember. Thomas Newman serves up repetition from Skyfall to Spectre, and within Spectre. His tunes to me are often non-tunes. They aren't that memorable either, nor are they Bondian. Even when his action tunes are decent, like "Snow Plane" they still don't scream Bond to me.

    After Skyfall I wouldn't have minded Thomas Newman returning. I hope he doesn't next time. If he does, I hope he bucks his ideas up.

    In conclusion.......


    Excellent, and very fair review. There's very little I would argue with.

    SF I can live with but we have severely diminishing returns here. The only moments that spring to mind as being decent are walking across the rooftops, driving towards the Coliseum, powersliding past the Vatican, finding the Vesper video, WOTW instrumental and driving towards the crater. That really isn't much in a 150 minute film.

    The overwhelmingly naff MP cue (I think it's meant to be flirty and cheeky but it just makes me want to punch someone) is a particular bugbear and a serious factor in me finding Harris irritating.

    And a 'Tanner theme'. Christ who knew? But you're absolutely correct. A new low even for Newman .

    He is wrong about the 'Tanner theme' comment, though. Vauxhall Bridge is actually an original track and is fairly different from Skyfall's New Digs.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 15,634
    I think if I ever hear 'The Moors' or any sort of variation on it again in a Bond film I'd actually kill myself.

    I'd jam screwdrivers into my ears. :))
  • edited November 2017 Posts: 3,123
    Walecs wrote: »

    He is wrong about the 'Tanner theme' comment, though. Vauxhall Bridge is actually an original track and is fairly different from Skyfall's New Digs.

    Well I said he reused the theme, rather than completely regurgitated it note for note like he did with M's theme and Moneypenny's. It's much the same style. There are the same pauses for orchestral moments then back to the electronic beat section, just that those sections are played slower this time and the percussion element is lower in the mix. I'd call it Tanner's theme remixed. He has certainly used it as the basis of this effort.

    Likewise you could say that he hasn't reused "The Moors" as they are new recordings and are not note for note matching the Skyfall track. But he is replaying the bass or the repetitive strings over an over, so in effect he is reusing it (at great length) just with some rearranging.

  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    vzok wrote: »
    Walecs wrote: »

    He is wrong about the 'Tanner theme' comment, though. Vauxhall Bridge is actually an original track and is fairly different from Skyfall's New Digs.

    Well I said he reused the theme, rather than completely regurgitated it note for note like he did with M's theme and Moneypenny's. It's much the same style. There are the same pauses for orchestral moments then back to the electronic beat section, just that those sections are played slower this time and the percussion element is lower in the mix. I'd call it Tanner's theme remixed. He has certainly used it as the basis of this effort.

    Likewise you could say that he hasn't reused "The Moors" as they are new recordings and are not note for note matching the Skyfall track. But he is replaying the bass or the repetitive strings over an over, so in effect he is reusing it (at great length) just with some rearranging.

    You don't have to convince me. If it's got Tanner's name attached I despise it.
  • Posts: 3,123
    vzok wrote: »
    Walecs wrote: »

    He is wrong about the 'Tanner theme' comment, though. Vauxhall Bridge is actually an original track and is fairly different from Skyfall's New Digs.

    Well I said he reused the theme, rather than completely regurgitated it note for note like he did with M's theme and Moneypenny's. It's much the same style. There are the same pauses for orchestral moments then back to the electronic beat section, just that those sections are played slower this time and the percussion element is lower in the mix. I'd call it Tanner's theme remixed. He has certainly used it as the basis of this effort.

    Likewise you could say that he hasn't reused "The Moors" as they are new recordings and are not note for note matching the Skyfall track. But he is replaying the bass or the repetitive strings over an over, so in effect he is reusing it (at great length) just with some rearranging.

    You don't have to convince me. If it's got Tanner's name attached I despise it.

    It's like a sort of dance mix for bean counters.
  • WalecsWalecs On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    Posts: 2,009
    I don't know, Vauxhall Bridge doesn't sound like a remixed version of New Digs to me. I see what you mean, but they sound very different to me.
  • Posts: 3,123
    Walecs wrote: »
    I don't know, Vauxhall Bridge doesn't sound like a remixed version of New Digs to me. I see what you mean, but they sound very different to me.

    Count yourself lucky then, it's a new track for you.
  • jake24jake24 Sitting at your desk, kissing your lover, eating supper with your family
    Posts: 9,007
    The tracks are similar in structure (as are the scenes they accompany), however they do have very different sounds.
  • Posts: 3,123
    Well he certainly is using different instruments.
  • CASINOROYALECASINOROYALE Somewhere hot
    edited November 2017 Posts: 696
    I must say I was highly disappointed we did not get the ohms homage trailer music in the film. Would have been excellent in the snow plane scene. I was also disappointed in the no skiing.

    I do listen to tempus fugit , snow plane and backfire quite a bit. You can find the opening prelude on youtube its the same name as the first track but just add, "sxf" and "movie version", then download it using youtube to mp3.
  • WalecsWalecs On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    Posts: 2,009
    vzok wrote: »
    Walecs wrote: »
    I don't know, Vauxhall Bridge doesn't sound like a remixed version of New Digs to me. I see what you mean, but they sound very different to me.

    Count yourself lucky then, it's a new track for you.

    Totally agree with this :D
  • Posts: 2,856
    Fantastic breakdown of the FRWL score. Very informative, especially in terms of the function of each cue in the film (every score should get similar treatment). My appreciation of the score has gone up. So much of it is low-key suspenseful music, but it's quality stuff, for sure.

    Some things that came to mind while reading your review (and listening):

    - At times, the sound of the score, with its prominent use of timpani and brass, is especially reminiscent of Zulu, which of course is also by John Barry.

    - What I love the most in the main titles music is the transition between the very end of FRWL and the beginning of the Bond theme. Terrific stuff. The organ in the film version was played by Alan Haven, who also colaborated with Barry on The Knack and some other scores.

    - The SPECTRE theme is really rather good, isn't it? It doesn't sound merely sinister, but also Machiavellian, scheming.

    - Like in other Bond scores, the FRWL theme is used flexibly. In some scenes, it functions as a romantic theme for Bond and Tania, but in others it works as a general main theme for the film, providing connective tissue. For example, when Tania is going to meet with Klebb, or when Bond and Kerim go into the catacombs.

    - As discussed in another thread some months ago, it's very likely the Krilencu cue was officially released as Mort De Krylenko in a French vinyl back in the day.

    - I also enjoy the Zagreb Express theme. It features a Barry staple in how at first, the melody is played on horns/trombones and the harmony on trumpets, and then they switch roles, with the melody on trumpets and the harmony on horns/trombones.

    - "Red Grant's massive cultural cock-up". :))

    - I believe I read somewhere the Golden Horn is the name of the ferry in which Bond and Tania meet, so the eponymous piece was probably intended to be source music for that ferry scene.

    - It's worth pointing out the harp in Guitar Lament is playing the Bond theme chromatic vamp. And as you say, the theme does sound like a variation on the FRWL instrumental; the beginning of the melody is identical to FRWL.

    - If I'm not mistaken in following your labeling of the motifs, the Chess Match cue does in fact not feature the SPECTRE theme, but that "clock-sounding tune" heard right before the consulate explosion.

    - I believe it was said elsewhere on these forums that the Dr. No suspense theme was in fact re-recorded for the FRWL boat scene. I'm not sure that is true, but I'm going to listen to both of them and compare them; I want to hear it for myself. Now, why bring that theme back? Well, perhaps the other tracks of the FRWL score didn't quite fit the boat scene. After all, it's a rather low-key score without much action music apart from the 007 theme. Now, if they actually re-recorded the Dr. No track, that complicates matters. Perhaps it was an order from above to create stronger musical continuity between the films?

    - Last, but not least: just what version of the 007 theme is used in the gypsy camp attack? I've never really wondered until now, but listen to 1:52 of the video you posted of the scene-- the brief piccolo phrase. I can't believe I've never given this any thought, but the fact is that little moment is not present in identical form in either 007 theme rendition in the album. The phrase is heard at 2:12 of the track named 007, but underneath the trumpet melody, which is absent at 1:52 in the video. It could be assumed that they simply removed the trumpet for the film mix, but the fact is the film version of 007 is much faster than the 007 track, and I believe it's faster than even 007 Takes the Lektor (which doesn't feature the piccolo phrase, mind you). Am I nuts, or are we looking at another unreleased piece?
  • SatoriousSatorious Brushing up on a little Danish
    edited September 2018 Posts: 134
    Just found this thread and love it. I did a couple of soundtrack reviews when Spectre and Skyfall were released (before I saw them with the film). It's interesting reading someone else do a detailed breakdown.

    Spectre soundtrack review/
    Skyfall soundtrack review/
  • Posts: 3,123
    I thought about this thread this morning, and how Spectre knocked my enthusiasm for continuing with it. I’ll have to pick a more joyous offering for next time.

    @mattjoes thanks a lot for your comments. I’m going to have to check out 007 again to hear the differences.
  • edited September 2018 Posts: 2,856
    You're welcome, @vzok.

    I researched this 007 theme thing a bit further. I metronomed the different versions of the theme, and by my count:
    a) The track named "007" plays at 149-151 bpm.
    b) The track named "007 Takes the Lektor" plays at 157-163 bpm.
    c) The film version of 007 in the gypsy camp scene plays at 167-169 bpm (audio here, taken from the FL channel for most clarity).

    The film version must be different. If true, all that repetition of the "dada-dada-da-dada-daaaaa" (you know what I mean) is probably not due to editing, but because the theme was arranged that way for the film. Just by the tempo, the gypsy camp scene definitely does not use "007". The tempo is more similar to "007 Takes the Lektor", but the piccolo phrase heard in the film is missing from the track, so it can't be that either. And just by ear, "Lektor" appears to be slightly slower than the film version.

    I also checked out that Death of Dr. No music. DN and FRWL present different edits of the cue, with some parts only heard in one version or the other, but it's the exact same recording as you had stated in your review. I verified this by taking a fragment common to both pieces and checking its length-- it's the same.

    vzok wrote: »
    I thought about this thread this morning, and how Spectre knocked my enthusiasm for continuing with it. I’ll have to pick a more joyous offering for next time.
    I trust the worst is behind you now!
  • Posts: 3,123
    mattjoes wrote: »
    You're welcome, @vzok.

    I researched this 007 theme thing a bit further. I metronomed the different versions of the theme, and by my count:
    a) The track named "007" plays at 149-151 bpm.
    b) The track named "007 Takes the Lektor" plays at 157-163 bpm.
    c) The film version of 007 in the gypsy camp scene plays at 167-169 bpm (audio here, taken from the FL channel for most clarity).

    The film version must be different. If true, all that repetition of the "dada-dada-da-dada-daaaaa" (you know what I mean) is probably not due to editing, but because the theme was arranged that way for the film. Just by the tempo, the gypsy camp scene definitely does not use "007". The tempo is more similar to "007 Takes the Lektor", but the piccolo phrase heard in the film is missing from the track, so it can't be that either. And just by ear, "Lektor" appears to be slightly slower than the film version.

    I also checked out that Death of Dr. No music. DN and FRWL present different edits of the cue, with some parts only heard in one version or the other, but it's the exact same recording as you had stated in your review. I verified this by taking a fragment common to both pieces and checking its length-- it's the same.

    That's interesting. I'd never noticed that "007" at the gypsy camp was a separate recording.

    Thanks for checking out "Death Of Dr No". There's so much noise going on in both films that I never could hear that track clearly, though I suspected they were the same.
  • Posts: 2,856
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  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!
    Posts: 16,052
    @vzok Excellent post! I have enjoyed reading your analysis very much. It's a truly fair one.
  • Posts: 3,123
    Live And Let Die - George Martin

    So with Dr No and From Russia With Love I tried to do a brief review of each cue on the soundtrack, but also tried to pick up on all of the missing tracks (and how to get hold of them). No need to worry about that here, as the 2003 expanded CD release features all of the tracks in the movie.

    For this CD, any track from 1 to 14 featured on the original LP release, the rest are the 2003 added tracks.

    In movie order we start with track 15 on the CD Gunbarrel - Snakebit. I'm sure that should be snakebite, but that's what the CD says. It's a cracking gunbarrel. Fast paced and dynamic. Bond means business. Then we go into the tribal sounds of snakebite, which has a hint of the tropical music of Monty Norman. Of course with the CD going from the gunbarrel straight into Snakebite it has skipped the funeral music, but we can catch that later. Watch "Snakebite" at 3.38 into the video below.



    We bleed straight into track 1 Live And Let Die which needs little debate here. I know some people aren't keen, but for me this redefined the Bond theme, moving away from the ballads and slow power tunes before it. A rock song with a mock reggae interlude which is perhaps more McCartney than Bond, but is totally memorable inside and outside of the world of Bond. One of the best.

    I'm not sure how much George Martin was involved in this track, but he certainly really uses it as an instrumental throughout the movie. It effectively becomes his 007 theme.



    Bond To New York, track 16, covers from Bond unzipping Miss Caruso through to his plane jetting into America. A short track of two parts, the first being light, dreamy and orchestral. Perfectly frothy. The second hits the accelerator. It sounds direct, determined and dangerous, and introduces George Martin's theme that is perhaps best remembered as the theme that plays on Whisper's first appearance. George Martin shows in one track that he is able to do slower melodic tunes and faster action-oriented material. Track 16 continues on the CD, but those 2 parts are used a bit later in the movie. Miss Caruso's theme is at 4.15 in the first video below, Whisper's theme is in the second.





    Whisper Who Dares, track 4, continues Whisper’s theme though at a much slower pace. His theme picks up the pace as Whisper drives off. Then comes a funky groove before branching off into some dramatic stabs to accompany Bond’s increasing peril. At 0.58 in the track there is a bass theme that I'm going to call George Martin's "dah dah dah" theme (I'm pretty sure that's what he called it). He reuses this piece later. There is some really nice fuzz guitar in the background here. Another good action track. Check it out at 0.57 below.



    Oh Cult Voodoo Shop is the continuation of track 16. This is a light slow theme that fits Bond wandering around the shop. There's a lot of flute going on here, maybe hinting at Baron Samedi. This theme gets vamped up later in the movie. A great scene setter. You might want to close your eyes if you listen to the track in the video below as there is a horrible strobing effect on it.



    The James Bond Theme is track 14. This covers Bond leaving the shop and tailing the pimpmobile. I like that the album just calls it the James Bond Theme rather than a title to fit in with the scene itself. George Martin created a good alternate version to John Barry's efforts. Nice bit of wah-wah guitar in the background. This track was on the original album release, but is 20 seconds longer on the 2003 CD. Watch it below at 0.28.



    Just before the next track is some music that accompanies Bond ordering a drink at the Fillet Of Soul in New York. You can see below at 0.19, and it continues right at the start of the subsequent video (for Bond Meets Solitaire). You could place it at this point in your playlist if you are going by strict movie order, but I was so used of the medley arrangement that sees it attached to the New Orleans music that I've never chosen to separate it out to do that.



    Track 3 is Bond Meets Solitaire. This is much more complicated than it sounds at first. It starts with some LALD variants which in this style I think are supposed to represent Solitaire's theme. Next are some Bond Theme chords. These are then layered with the "dah dah dah" theme. Some dramatic fanfares follow that get reused later for Kananga. Half way through and we are back to Whisper's theme. There is a lot more percussion over this version. I tend to remember this track as being a light, slightly romantic track for Solitaire. On reviewing it, it is a lot more than that. This track was on the original album release, but is 20 seconds longer on the 2003 CD. It starts at 0.35 below in the movie.



    Bond Meets Strutter is the final portion of track 16. It is a sharp stabbing fanfare for the arrival of Strutter. It's so short that on my iTunes playlist for this album I joined it to track 3 above. Hear it at 2.32 below.



    Track 6, Baron Samedi's Dance Of Death, is a very catchy source music cue for the outdoor nightclub scene as Bond arrives at San Monique. All the percussion driving on makes it seem like the dance version of "Snakebite", but soon the brass kicks in and that tune is highly whistleable. I can't help but feel that George Martin is having to score a movie that has a lot in common with Dr No, yet his local cues are far more memorable. Plus he does the cues himself rather than farm some of the work off on to local bands like Monty Norman did. This track was on the original album release, but is 25 seconds longer on the 2003 CD.



    Track 7, San Monique plays very quietly in the background as Bond gets ready in his chalet and checks for bugs. This one is easier to forget in the movie as it is dialled down so low. But it is a nice easy listening tune on the CD. It again has a nice light tropical feel.



    We go straight into Snakes Alive next in the movie without a stop in between. As Bond runs the bath this cue begins. It is track 5 on the CD. Highly atmospheric with lots of squealing strings mimicking the snake's slow arrival. There are some slow Bond chords before the return of theme for Whisper at 0.45 in the cue, mixed in with a brief segment of Kananga's theme. Rounds off with a Bond gunbarrel finish. Another track that weaves themes in and out. A good one. This track was on the original album release, but is 10 seconds longer on the 2003 CD.



    Bond And Rosie, track 18, starts with a romantic theme for Rosie (in Bond's apartment). The first chords are almost a mirror of Miss Caruso's theme, maybe to signify she is not on Bond's side. Then a dramatic stab (when Rosie sees the small hat) before going into a breezy reggae style take on LALD (as we see Quarrel Jr). Then there is a mid tempo piece that is reminiscent to "Snakes Alive" (as Kananga seeks information from Solitaire). More romance and then Bond chords to signify 007's lack of faith in Rosie. Then the LALD instrumental break, with frantic background guitar, as Rosie escapes. The romance piece is in the first video below, the complete track is in the second. George Martin loves to create a medley of his themes. Another fine complex piece.





    Bond Drops In is track 9 on the album, but only the first 40 seconds is the music for the scene where 007 paraglides over Kananga's house. The bulk of the track is for Bond and Solitaire's train ride at the end of the movie. We'll get back to that later. This cue is a lovely fast swirling string tune, with harpsichord (or is it piano adjusted to sound like that) that aptly links Bond's descent and dispatching of the guard. Short and memorable.



    The Lovers is track 19. A romantic ballad version of LALD for it's first minute. More romantic than Roger Moore's onscreen card shark antics with Solitaire. Then we get the music as the couple walk out of Kananga's house, including Baron Samedi's flute playing. There is bongo playing across Bond chords. Enough to make you feel they are heading into danger. See it at 1.07 below. Continues in the second video and the first minute of the third video.







    If He Finds It Kill Him is track 10. Bond continues his snooping. I find the opening of this is ideal for some sneaky Bond. This rounds out with some Bond theme chords and a conclusion that reminds me of incidental music you can hear in The Persuaders.



    Track 20, New Orleans starts with the conclusion of the bus chase. This has a fanfare style version of LALD. All change (end of the line) into some cool flutes as Bond and Solitaire arrive at the airport, then the same part is ramped up for Bond's escape. Nice switch in tempo. See the bus chase at 2.26 in the first video, airport arrival in the second, airport escape in the third.







    Track 2, Just A Closer Walk With Thee is the funeral music as Strutter is seen off in New Orleans. Ok, so this is best remembered from the PTS, but it breaks the flow of the tracks placed there. Great source cue.



    Track 8, Fillet Of Soul (New Orleans) / Live And Let Die / Fillet Of Soul (Harlem) is next. Great funky scene setter for the club followed by a soulful and powerful version of the theme song. Hear it at 1.28 in the video above.

    Solitaire's Choice is the final part track 20. It is a doom laden version of Whisper's theme. See it at 0.33 below. I wish they'd attached this to track 12, as it took me ages to realise where it should be placed in the running order.

    In the same video is Solitaire Gets Her Cards, track 12, which starts with Baron Samedi's flute before Whispers theme, played with a sense of urgency and despair. The background is the "dah dah dah" theme again. It rounds off with that Kananga flourish as he hits her. It's at 2.08 below.



    Track 11, Trespassers Will Be Eaten, is another track with a funky bass and percussion. A great Bond fanfare as he escapes the crocodiles and then Whisper's theme as he destroys the drug base. At 3.26 below.



    The Boat Chase is largely unscored, but at 2.17 below the chase music finally kicks in. I wouldn't have said no to a minute or so more of music in this chase. Track 21 starts with Whisper's theme again and finishes with a "Here Comes The Bride" musical joke. The second part covers Bond torching the baddie. We get the LALD instrumental break here. Right at the end of this track on the CD is a few seconds of unused Solitaire's Theme. See the second part of this cue at 5.31 below.



    Track 13, Sacrifice, is essentially a longer version of the Snakebite tune. There is a lot more of a tribal beat, more strings and some extra flute. It works fine here. This track was on the original album release, but is 45 seconds longer on the 2003 CD.



    Track 22, Underground Lair, covers the concluding battles between Bond and Baron Samedi, and then Bond and Kananga. So not all underground then. The arrival of the Baron is another call back to "Snakes Alive". Underground starts with the Airport fight theme before launching into the LALD instrumental break. The second time it is used here it is slightly playful. The snake like strings usher in the shark. A Bond fanfare greets Kananga's explosion. Then we get the LALD break that begins the end credits (we can use that soon). Hear it at 0.20 in the first video and 2.00 in the second video.





    End Credits is easy to recreate using the last 20 seconds of "Underground Lair" and mixing it into a cutdown version of Paul McCartney's theme song.



    We get as a bonus San Monique (Alternate), track 17, which is a slightly cooler version.



    Train Ride is the concluding (and largest part) of track 9 "Bond Drops In". It is fairly light in tone. It veers off into Whisper's Theme, and the style is like that of the music for Solitaire earlier. I don't think that this one was used in the movie in the end, but as it retreads earlier themes it isn't missed too much. Starts at 0.40 below.



    That just leaves one track that isn't on the CD that you might add to your playlist. The single version of BJ Arnau's take on the Live And Let Die theme. This is a good version, worth a listen.



    Overall, there's something very royal sounding about George Martin's work here. Very British. Maybe there is a slightly more classical sound than John Barry's more jazz based work. Yet there is a strong amount of 70's funk in here too. He manages to come up with a sound that fits the blaxploitation era and Bond at the same time. Not easy.

    He is able to use elements of the LALD main theme throughout the score, and has themes for Whisper, Solitaire and Kananga (although the latter two are very brief) plus that recurring bassline. He doesn't skimp on using the Bond Theme either giving it a revamp and a full outing in Harlem, plus several fanfare flourishes. There are loads of good tracks here, especially "Whisper Who Dares", "Trespassers Will Be Eaten", "Bond To New York" and "If He Finds It Kill Him", plus the main theme and his Bond Theme.

    So all in all this is a really fine soundtrack from George Martin. He isn't really known for writing soundtracks, but this is excellent. I've no idea why he wasn't kept on to replace John Barry whenever he was unavailable in the future, as George produced here a soundtrack that matches John Barry's best.

  • Posts: 150
    Wow great review
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Earth, spinning in its grave.
    Posts: 30,784
    As I haven t commented on this marvelous thread before, just want to chime in and say you are doing a fantastic job with it.
  • Posts: 2,632
    Yes, absolutely a marvellous thread you got going here @vzok. Some very good research done on each musical score. I wonder what's next? Could it be one of the following, what I personally think is the golden age of 007 music, that being YOLT, OHMSS or DAF?
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