What makes a good Bond theme?

With Grammy winner Billie Eilish revealed to be singing the main theme for No Time to Die, many have questioned if she is a good choice to fit the film’s style…

After her successful year in 2019, the 18 year old from Los Angeles will have a lot to match up to make critics think different of her and prove them wrong that producers really did make the right decision. But this raises the question: what is needed to make a good Bond theme?

When looking at past legend singers of Bond themes such as Paul McCartney, Shirley Bassey, A-Ha, Adele and many more, the one thing that would stand out to me is how powerful a voice they all have that gets the message in a song, whatever that message might be across in the song. As this is James Bond we are on about, there has got to be some depth, especially to the song as he is such a mysterious and intriguing character. With all these singers that have sung Bond themes, the depth in all their voices produce the uplift that us as audiences need to prepare us for what entails for the rest of the Bond masterpiece we are about to watch.

This goes on to my next point of what really makes a good Bond theme is the classy and seductive style. Something that everyone knows, even people who don’t watch James Bond is he is a ladies man and as in every James Bond film, there is a Bond girl. This is why the song for the Bond theme must be alluring and seductive because that is the essence of James Bond himself.

Not only must the song be one for everyone to sing a long to but it has to have striking chorus that will prepare you for what you are about to witness and that only a compelling singer which a strong vocal range can do such as those in the past have done for Bond.

When looking at the top Bond themes of the past, there are five clear ones that stand out to me and fulfil the requirements of what a Bond theme should be like. These are:

Nobody Does It Better
Carly Simon’s Nobody Does It Better from 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me pays particular attention to the mystical love James Bond is and not only is a true classic for Bond, but has appeared in many other films such as Bridget Jones to show the true effects of a deep love.

Live and Let Die
Paul McCartney’s Live and Let Die from the 1973 classic gives that powerful chorus audiences want to again prepare them for the Bond movie they are about to watch with its outstanding drum and guitar parts throughout the song.

As in every Adele song, of course there is going to be depth to the song as she is known to have such a potent voice. She does just this in Skyfall in 2012 with the striking chorus and as we get to end of the song, the violins in the background and the eventually drowning out of the well know Bond theme simply gives us a small insight into what we are about to watch.

Diamonds Are Forever
The Welsh legend that is Shirley Bassey is the Queen Bond themes as she as not only just done one Bond theme but three in total which include Goldfinger and Moonraker. However it is her 1971 hit Diamonds Are Forever that is her true masterpiece as it gives everything what a Bond theme should have: depth, romance and most importantly, mystery.

Writings on the Wall
Sam Smith’s Writings on the Wall from 2015’s Spectre starts off with the classic Bond theme and continues this mysterious feeling throughout the song. This theme is probably one of the slower of the themes chosen but it is perhaps the slowness of the song that gives the audience more thoughtfulness to the film that is clear within the plot of Spectre.

Ultimately, as audiences, we can only wait and see to see if Billie Eilish can match up to these legend singers in the line of Bond themes and to see if the new song for No Time to Die is worthy of being a Bond theme.

By Katie Green

Feature image credit: Universal

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