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|1. Die Another Day - Madonna|
|2. James Bond Theme (Bond Vs. Oakenfold) - Paul Oakenfold|
|3. On The Beach|
|4. Hovercraft Chase|
|5. Some Kind Of Hero?|
|6. Welcome To Cuba|
|7. Jinx Jordan|
|8. Jinx & James|
|9. A Touch Of Frost|
|11. Laser Fight|
|13. Iced Inc.|
|15. Going Down Together|
But don't let that put you off, the brass is still dirty, the strings still as piercingly urgent as ever and as mellow as needed, especially during the romance cues. The album opens with Madonna's controversial new theme, not a bad Bond theme admittedly, but the lack of any Bond referencing and strange lyrics add to its negative qualities, even if they are quite endearing. It's a song that will stand out in the Bond Legacy, if maybe not for the right reasons...
Now onto Paul Oakenfold's Bond remix. We had Moby's unrelenting disco hit Re-version back in '97, which gave a new slant to the theme. Does Oakenfold's extend on this?
One word: No. Unfortunately, although the man himself has left his electronic stamp on the theme, it is obviously a basic reworking of Arnold's end credits theme heard in The World Is Enough and has all the punch of a 007 computer game soundtrack. He gives nothing to the theme, essentially, just adds electronics.
Then comes Arnold's shamefully short score (40 minutes out of 100 heard in the film) this is so, Arnold admits, because of the incredibly tight post-production schedule on the film, and he has expressed his interest in releasing a second volume (as seen with Tomorrow Never Dies, a film dogged with the same short post-production time).
The Gunbarrel Theme is easily the best in the series so far, and I say that with all the gravity it deserves. He finally starts with the Bond fanfare, and it suddenly morphs into thumping electronics reminiscent of Serra's GoldenEye Gunbarrel, but the strings and the twangy guitar are still prevalent.Read more ›
Arnold was called back to score the 19th Bond, "The World Is Not Enough". Once again he employed a full "Bond" orchestra, and used a number of more unusual oriental instruments to connect the score to the relevant spot on the world culturally. For The World Is Not Enough, Arnold began to experiment more with electronic techno and advanced spatial mixing. If you have the TWINE album, "Come In 007, You're Time Is Up" and "Submarine" are very good examples of this.
With "Die Another Day", Arnold updates this sound increasingly, and has created a very contempary, if slightly controversial Bond score. The increased use of drum loops, techno and digital sample work very well here, and the Bond sound crashes into the 21st century with style.
The album is headed up by Madonna's single "Die Another Day". Think of this what you will, but it is undeniable that it brings the "Bond ballad" into the new millennium, and is a very catchy tune even as a non-Bond theme.
Second on the disc is Paul Oakenfold's new remix of the James Bond Theme. Oakenfold, who recently scored Sworfish (starring Halle Berry) with composer Christopher Young gives the Bond theme a welcome new "zing". Unlike Moby's 1997 rendition, this tune keeps the Bond theme in its entirety, and is a far more groovy tune, fantastically mixed by Oakenfold.
We are then taken to the score. The first track "On The Beach" will be a joy to hear more Bond fans, as this features the Gunbarrel music often missing from soundtrack albums. It is certainly different, and is very guitar "wah, wah" heavy, like Lalo Schrifrin's Dirty Harry scores. After two minutes of scene setting by this track, we are taken to:
"Hovercraft Chase", which is and immensely exciting piece of Bond score. Undercut by an orchestra going mad, a brilliant techo section, and some very impressive mixing effects, this track pretty much sets the scene for the rest of the album.
"Some Kind Of Hero" is a very echo heavy atmospheric track, and fits the grittier tone of this film well. Once again, the orchestra is ably backed up by the techo section, but fortunately, it is used well and never begins to sound like noise.
"Welcome To Cuba" made my jaw hit the floor when I first heard it. It may seem quite possibly the most un-Bond piece of music ever written, but if you imagine the setting in Cuba, I can imagine it fitting very well. It does sound a little like the "Sex And The City" theme, which can't be bad really.
"Jinx Jordan" and "Jinx & James" are both more mellow pieces, that bring the romantic element of the film together. The themes are a brief welcome break from techno-heaven, and show how talented Arnold is as a composer.
"A Touch Of Frost" is a very good piece. Starting out as what seems like a romantic cue quickly transforms into a heartbeat - like slow techno track, that sounds like it comes from a section where Bond is spying and trying not to get caught.
"Icarus" is a spine-chillingly fantastic track. Arnold employs the use of a choir for the first time in a Bond score since Moonraker (1979). The track is brief but highly evocative, and the choir give it a kind of "Omen-esque" quality that is fantastically chilling.
"Laser Fight" is another expertly crafted track. A non techno section builds up suspense for a minute or so, and then explodes into a synth of techno batteries and orchestral swells. The pace is kept constantly till the track ends at 4:35.
"Whiteout" is yet another great techno track. The sample kicks up from the outset, and the horn and bass section of the orchestra really flexes its muscles. The piece harkens back to "Hovercraft Chase", and I can imagine it sounding fanstastic in the film. The track also brings back the choir to amazing effect against the techno loops.
"Iced Inc." is a more drum 'n bass orientated track. The horn section of the orchestra once again is out in full force, as some very bassy techno sample handles the pace of the track. Listen for similarities from the horn section to "Tomorrow Never Dies" track "White Knight".
Finally, after this excitement, we are taken to the penultimate track, "Antonov". At almost 12 minutes in length, it covers almost the entire ending. The effective four barred piano sample from "Pipeline" in The World Is Not Enough is used again, and despite many reviews have cited this as Arnold ripping himself off, it brings back musical continuity and works very well against the more subdued techo section. The track flips alternatively between techno and orchestra, and then combines the two, in a great pattern that slightly mimics "Submarine" in The World Is Not Enough.
For the obvious 'Bond getting the girl at the end' scene, Arnold uses Jinx's theme from earlier to create a fun and soft track that closes the film nicely. Once again, there are thematic hints from The World Is Not Enough's final track "Christmas In Turkey" ... all good stuff!
Arnold has proved himself a very capable composer, and has given the Bond franchise new life musically, and perhaps you will find this score too techno heavy, but Bond must change with the times, as must the score.
One minor complaint is Warner Bros release. Including only about 45 minutes score from the reported 106 minutes that Arnold wrote for Die Another Day, it seems a slight shame WB coulnd't have discarded the "added bonus material - which belongs on the DVD really" on the disc and given us more score. Surely the purpose of a soundtrack is just that, the music from the film. Chapter III records released the updated Tomorrow Never Dies score in 1999, and hopefully a similar effort will be made with the remaining score from the film as soon as possible!
Well done David Arnold, look forward to Bond 21!
The CD itself, alas, is lacking. Oh, its fine if you're a Madonna fan and buy a CD soundtrack for enhanced features that CD-Rom technology offers, but isn't the soundtrack supposed to be just that? The CD itself is an even 55 minutes. David Arnold wrote 100 minutes of score for the film, of which 45 minutes are captured on this CD. The title song runs 4+ minutes and then the 4+ minute Paul Oakenfield remix. Sounds great, but to my knowledge is not in the film so why use the space. The CD-Rom extras are the space hogs here. Bond and soundtrack aficianados would have much preferred an 80 minute CD with 1 song and more score. I know I would have.
Anyone have a release date on Volume 2?