Last Friday, the highly anticipated theme song to the upcoming James Bond film Skyfall was unveiled. Aptly named “Skyfall,” the track is a sleek and soulful feast for the ears. Sung by British songstress Adele and co-written with her “Rolling in the Deep” collaborator, Paul Epworth, “Skyfall” feels instantaneously like a Bond theme.
Adele’s sultry vocals blend elegantly with a brooding minor chord progression and a mammoth 77 piece orchestra. The mood is a 1960s throwback to when themes like “Goldfinger” were smooth, seductive and larger than life. This is exactly the type of theme the multi-million dollar franchise needs.
In more recent years, Bond’s signature tunes have all but fallen flat. Always reliable hitmakers such as Chris Cornell, Sheryl Crow, Jack White and Alicia Keys have all failed to produce a noteworthy anthem. With “Skyfall,” Adele has crafted a tune that is not only beautifully written and performed, but perfectly capable of standing on its own as a first-rate composition.
The lyrics also offer the classic Bond vibe—mysteriously dangerous and urgently apocalyptic: “Let the sky fall/when it crumbles/we will stand tall/face it all together/as sky falls,” she sings.
However, getting the mega-singer on board was not an easy feat. In a recent statement, Adele spoke about her initial skepticism, “I was a little hesitant at first to be involved with the theme song for Skyfall. There’s a lot of instant spotlight and pressure when it comes to a Bond song. But I fell in love with the script and Paul had some great ideas for the track and it ended up being a bit of a no-brainer to do it in the end.” “Skyfall” marks the first single Adele has released since her monster-smash album 21, which earned her an armful of Grammys and nearly two years on the Billboard charts.
The film, which releases on Nov. 9, is directed by Hollywood veteran Sam Mendes. A respected filmmaker, Mendes has made such cinematic hits as American Beauty, Revolutionary Road and Road to Perdition. Like lead actor Daniel Craig, he is also an Englishman who’s grown up on all things Bond. His enthusiasm for the job is impossible to miss.
In an interview with UK newspaper The Guardian, the director stated,“I’m incredibly excited to be doing it and it has, I think, all the elements of a classic Bond movie including, to quell rumours, a lot of action and many other things too.” Let’s hope Mendes isn’t just flapping his gums. Balance between action and drama is one area in which previous Bond directors have fallen short of the mark.
This will be the 23rd Bond film in the franchise and marks the 50th anniversary. The previous film, Quantum of Solace, was met with mixed reviews from critics and fans and was an unfortunate misstep from 2006’s surprisingly brilliant Casino Royale. The film also deviated too far from the classic Bond image.
No more are the dashing suits and shaken martinis. Contemporary Bond had traded them in for rolled up sleeves and bare-knuckled boxing. Mendes’ devotion to making a Bond film, reminiscent of the throwback era, is a welcomed plus. No matter how many people Bond beats up with his bare hands, deep down, he is a suave and sophisticated professional who would much rather dispose of his targets with a pistol than with a punch.
If the theme song is any indication at all of how the film will turn out, things are looking very good for our smooth talking secret agent. The pressure may be on for director Sam Mendes to deliver, but as for Adele? She’s safe. She’s delivered a theme song worthy of a million shaken martinis.
Eric Duffert can be reached at email@example.com