What can I say? Superb soundtrack, Arnold really has come into his own in this, his third Bond soundtrack. And his new Drum n' Bass sound is killer!
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.
With this soundtrack, Arnold advances a level on what he did electronics-wise with TWINE, this time actually manipulating the strings, cutting them up and pitch-altering superbly, the best example of this is heard in "Hovercraft Chase," where the dirty brass and superb new Arnold sound work together perfectly.
He references his previous 007 soundtracks too, but towards the end (in Antonov and Going Down Together, for example) this becomes too obvious and parts sound like they have been lifted from TWINE.
Final Word? Superb score, shame there isn't more of it!