My Top 10 Bond Themes

Today Joe and I met Patrick at the theater and saw Skyfall. In 2011, the three of us watched all 22 Eon Bond Films. It was a project that really bonded us together. We also recently re-watched Dr. No on October 5 to celebrate its 50th anniversary. So we were going into Skyfall well versed with the Bond franchise. The film was pretty great and did the franchise proud. When the theme was released last month, the internet went sort of insane, but then again… right now most of the world is insane for Adele. I’ll admit… I wasn’t really impressed. It was a perfectly fine song, but was it a great Bond theme? Well… today I wondered (as I hobbled back to the car) would it even make my top 10 Bond themes. So I came home and went through them all so that I may run down the top ones.

  1. Goldfinger is probably the theme most people would say is “the best”, and it’s hard to argue with that. It starts with the bombastic brass that you really come to expect with Bond music. Shirley Bassey’s vocals are powerful and really match the drama of the strings and horns. It should be on everybody’s list. It also does a really nice job of incorporating the James Bond theme (first heard in the intro to Dr. No) into the song. I’m a sucker for that.
  2. Thunderball is really similar to “Goldfinger” in that is has the brass and the strings, but it also has Tom Jones. Tom Jones is cheesy, but you know what? It’s perfect in this song. Listen to it, it makes no sense but it just has that swagger that you expect from Bond. Even though this song was rushed in to replace “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” (also sung by Shirley Bassey) when the studio changed the name of the film, it’s still one of the best.
  3. The Man With The Golden Gun is sung by another one of my favourites – Lulu. It definitely swings. It has the trademark brass, which also makes it a hit in my opinion. It’s just a fun song and gets stuck in my head a lot.
  4. Diamonds Are Forever is probably the most sampled of the lot, but it’s deserved. Shirley Bassey nails the vocals again. It is more string driven than brassy, which makes it not quite as bombastic as I’d like. The bass line though is very solid and has a groove.
  5. You Only Live Twice is one of the more mellow Bond themes, but it has a haunting quality that makes it very memorable. I think Nancy Sinatra’s vocals balance very nicely with the electric guitar that’s so twangy that it almost sounds like a sitar. I think this is one of most forgotten songs, but it shouldn’t be. Everybody should have it stuck in their head all the time.
  6. Goldeneye was a reboot of the franchise with Pierce Brosnan, but they Tina Turner and The Edge do a pretty decent job of honouring the Bond theme tradition, but also keeping it contemporary. Yeah… it sounds a but dated now, but it definitely feels like a Bond intro, and really… can you mess with Tina? No.
  7. Tomorrow Never Dies was a weird film that was ahead of its time. Its song by Sheryl Crow is weird because it doesn’t really sound like Sheryl Crow song. It captures the moody and dark side of the Bond franchise quite well. It doesn’t really have the brass, but it definitely does have a kick.
  8. Live and Let Die is a great film because it has Yaphet Kotto (and in spite of Roger Moore). If you know me, you know I hate Paul McCartney with more intensity than is healthy, so it sort of pains me to include this song on the list. It was a hit outside the film so it’s sort of easy to forget that it’s Bond theme. For Bond themes though, it hits all the high notes – it has the brass, it has the swagger, and it’s bombastic- even if it’s from one of the most annoying, smarmy mugs in show business.
  9. The Living Daylights is sort of weird, I’ll admit, but I have a soft spot for this song. It’s better than Duran Duran’s A View To A Kill (though that film is better), and it has the novelty of being by a-ha. Part of the problem it suffers (and I think all Bond themes are vulnerable to this point) is that it’s too much a product of its time. It’s very much stuck in a moment.
  10. Skyfall is also very much a product of its time, but it just so happens that the Daniel Craig Bond reboot consciously goes back to the original Bond. This is sort of evident in “You Know My Name” (Casino Royale) and “Another Way To Die” (Quantum of Solace). They have the horns, they have the moodiness, but they also clearly sound like they were made in the 2000s. Maybe if I actually liked Chris Cornell or Jack White then I’d like those songs, but they’re just not very good. I’ll admit, I think Adele is sort of predictable and I’m not really fond of her music, but “Skyfall” does have the same feel of “Diamonds are Forever” and “You Only Live Twice”, so it makes the list.

So there you have it. I’m a little surprised that “Skyfall” made it, but holy shit there are lots of bad Bond themes. I mean, Shirley Bassey nailed “Goldfinger” and “Diamonds are Forever” and then tanks with “Moonraker” (but that movie is just bad). Octopussy’s “All Time High” is just odd and out of place, though Pulp’s cover of it is pretty great. Actually, if Pulp’s “Tomorrow Never Lies” was selected, it might be in the top 5, but alas… they went with Sheryl Crow.

I feel like I have to acknowledge a couple of things though – of course I’m going to like earlier songs better because I just like 60s music (and production) more. I also think those films are stronger. The wilderness years of Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton aren’t really worth remembering, other than the kitsch factor. So… yeah.

I really think the next Bond theme should be by Jarvis Cocker and Richard Hawley. Throw in Shirley Bassey and it’d be amazing.

FA Cup Fever!

Today Stevenage beat Newcastle, being this round of the FA Cup’s big story of giant-killing.

I really wish I could have stayed home all day reading match reports, but watching the second half of the Stevenage-Newcastle match was worth it. I wish I could have watched Bristol City-Sheffield Wednesday, but it was great waking up to the scoreline of 0-3. Now comes the tricky bit – what if Weds draw Everton in the fourth round? I’m going to have to hustle and figure out how to make it over for that. I hope Liverpool continue to implode tomorrow.

And thus ends some boring football talk.

COYB UTO and all that other stuff.

Today, Everton defeated Spurs at Goodison. It was a brilliant display, and I’m much happier I followed that match instead of the Arsenal – Man City match. I didn’t really have any hopes for the Toffies, but they played perhaps the best game of the season. When Seamus Coleman scored that last goal on the diving header I let out an audible yelp in the library. It wasn’t an issue since we were completely empty, so nobody heard. (Think tree in the forest type stuff…) The whole thing was extra interesting because Dr J is ostensibly a Spurs fan, and I (by way of Neil, who was at the match) am an Everton fan. I have bragging rights!

Which is rare, really. While I do support Everton my heart is still tied to the Owls, which is why it’s always broken. This week they signed Reda Johnson from Plymouth Argyle, who appeared in court today on false imprisonment charges. Today Marcus Tudgay’s transfer to Forest was also finalized. So we lost one of our more productive goal scorers in recent years, and may have gotten a defender (which we need) who might be going to prison for 18 months – 8 years (which we don’t need). It’s worth scratching your head over.


wigan… part of what?

i was looking at world soccer shop for white football shirts to wear for my league games. i was thinking an everton away kit, but probably will continue to wear my old janky punk rock shirts. anyhow, i saw this wigan t-shirt which made me laugh. “wigan: greater manchester.” now wigan is part of the borough of greater manchester, but that implies it’s mancunian like bolton. after reading stuart maconie’s pies and prejudice, i really wouldn’t consider wigan to be greater manchester. western lancashier.

this of course begs the question, why do i have such a strange fondness for lancashire. i’m still trying to figure that one out.

after 95 years, owls win the double

there’s tommy spur scoring the owl’s first goal in the first minute of the match.
today was the derby between sheffield united and sheffield wednesday at brammal lane. the owls won. as any casual reader may be able to guess, i’m absolutely delighted by this. did you know that it’s been 95 years since wednesday won the double against the blades? for those of you familiar with moneyball, united’s payroll is one of the largest in the championship, but the owls still won.
you can read more about it here.

it’s funny. i feel happy, yet i didn’t even watch the match. i need to sort this out. it’s hard following a small club nobody else seems to like, but well… i guess that’s the point. i, like many other sport fans, like being miserable. wednesday often make me miserable, like last week, but this week i’m on air.

both my clubs, wednesday and everton, won their derbies this week. i feel lucky.

i am boring.

something just dawned on me tonight as i worked on a group project- i’m a boring person. to that end, it makes sense that i always identified with michael palin’s characters- he likes boring people. proof: eric othwaite.

owls around the world

waddle, originally uploaded by kendrak.

sheffield wednesday have posted something on their website that got my eye today. they’re soliciting pictures of fans wearing wednesday kit in front of global landmarks to be printed in the program. unfortunately i don’t think they’d care about the campanile, but the golden gate bridge is close by.

with that.. i also will join wednesdayite so i can vote on the take over. huzzah!

who really considers coldplay and travis to be britpop?

and by britpop i mean the chiefly 1990s genre comprised of bands like sleeper, elastica, the boo radleys, and manic street preachers. oh yeah, and of course blur and oasis.

the reason i ask this question is because i got hooked on a couple of britpop documentaries on youtube this weekend. (the britpop story and 7 ages of rock: british indie music.) both mentioned that while oasis’ be here now pretty much signaled the end of the britpop movement, popularity of bands like travis and coldplay really signified the end. a- those two bands were entirely mainstream (not really “indie”), and b- they didn’t have much of the defiance and anger underlying most of britpop. i suppose there could be a c- they’re both as insipid as all hell. keane would also fit that bill.

i remember when i was in high school, and travis and coldplay were first hitting the states- i and my friends who liked britpop didn’t think much of those bands. other people, who weren’t really into music, took to them like a horse to water. it was good in some ways, to see people become excited about music, but on the other hand it’s a little sad when they go for something pretty dull. i never told my friend who went from only liking cheesy top 40 to becoming obsessed with travis and coldplay that she just jumped from one bore to another- i actually went to a travis show with her because nobody else wanted to go- but i kept hoping she’d jump into something deeper. that never happened. she’s happy though and i’m happy for her.

at kalx it would occasionally be annoying when somebody tried to call coldplay britpop, but there were enough people who actively cared about the genre that it wasn’t an issue. now the genre is dead and coldplay are the new u2 or radiohead.

this is all timely since coldplay’s new album came out last month. when i was in seattle i was upset that the experience music project weren’t selling any pacific northwest garage albums, though there was an exhibit about that scene, but they did have a whole wall devoted to viva la vida. last night i googled “who actually likes coldplay?” and found this piece, why i hate coldplay by andy gill which looks at why most everybody who doesn’t purchase coldplay’s albums loathe the band. the telegraph also looks at why critics largely hate coldplay despite public support. even msnbc asks that question.

i don’t really have the answer. i won’t even say i hate coldplay, rather i find them boring and don’t understand why people think they’re the second coming of anything. of course this is coming from somebody who works at a college radio station, grew up listening to punk garage, and never really got into mainstream music. (my love of rem at the age of 7 not withstanding.) i know i’m not the target audience and i know i’m not your average music fan, so i guess my not liking coldplay is expected. the reasons can be distilled to this:

  • the music is tediously derivative.
  • the songs all sound the same, and not in a billy childish/hasil adkins kind of way.
  • they’re totally the establishment.
  • chris martin’s an insufferable tit and so is his wife.
  • the rest of the band puts up with that tit and doesn’t tell him to shut up.

oh well.


celebration, originally uploaded by mardy1.

today is michael palin’s birthday, which is fitting that i should post about sheffield wednesday staying up in the championship, since he’s the reason i picked this forsaken team when i was 10. whatever, yesterday was brilliant and they showed some life. way to go, owls!

later… with me!

i should be doing lots of different things right now- sleeping, working on software management homework, working on a digital collection project, or even playing smash brothers, but instead i’m looking for clips from later… with jools holland, featuring jools holland from squeeze as host and sometimes band leader. as far as music variety shows go, this is the best. not only does he have an interesting mix of artists on every week, he seems to have a really good attitude about it all. so… here are some of the video i’ve found:
kate nash – “foundations”.

she’s totally a guilty pleasure of mine, which a couple of my student workers have really taken to.

mika – “grace kelly”.

i first heard this song driving back from the manchester airport with neil and it was on radio 1 every other hour after that. another guilty favourite.

enough of the embeds, they take up space.

the view – “wasted little djs”. i first got hooked on this band during the same trip to the uk because “same jeans” seemed to be after “grace kelly” every hour. they’re really good, even if they’re from scotland.

of course, my obligatory plug for bands from sheffield:

and because he’s been on a billion times…
jarvis cocker – “don’t let him waste your time”
pulp – “dishes”
pulp – “sunrise”
and what mix of pulp would be complete without disco 2000?

which goes into the britpop…
blur – “the universal”
oasis – “cum on feel the noize”, er, i mean “wonderwall”.
james – “getting away with it all”.
radiohead – “the bends”..
supergrass – “moving”.
verve – “bittersweet symphony”.
boo radleys – “reaching out from here”.
super furry animals – “if you don’t want me to destroy you”.
manic street preachers – “everything must go”.
cataonia – “road rage”.
ash – “burn baby burn”.
divine comedy – “mother dear”.
cornershop – “brimful of asha”.

and lots of moz-
“last of the famous…”, “suedehead”, “boy racer”, and “first of the gang to die”.

and some other bitchy people:

alright. i’m going to sleep.

[tags]jools holland, youtube, britpop[/tags]

always in love with the big four

AJ calls it!
i’m not talking about that big four, but rather this big four. this morning on espn first take they had america’s leading football commentator, tommy smyth, on to discuss the premier league and how it’s different than american sports. first of all- smyth is an idiot and despised by most football/soccer fans. the segment only discussed the big four since they all met up this weekend. the only highlights they showed where from this weekends match ups between arsenal and chelsea and manchester utd. and liverpool. (it’s always nice to liverpool play terribly.) then they just showed the standing of the top four teams without points, which makes it look like liverpool’s hanging with the other three. of course, being a pseudo-toffee, i was miffed because looking at the standings, the kopshite are 8 points behind arsenal and only 2 points ahead everton- their place at fourth is less than assured. (it’s also remarkable how arsenal has tumbled.) did smyth say anything about that? no. he made it seem like liverpool were on par with chelsea and arsenal and that manchester utd. was just like the yankees- better than god and no pitch outside of old trafford is worthy of them. it’s crap, really.

he also tried to explain the concept of promotion and relegation, which mystified jay crawford. if american sports had that system, the kansas city royals would be gone, and probably the knicks as well. relegation is nasty- just look at sheffield wednesday.

moral of the story- tommy smyth is an big fat moron, and everton are better than liverpool.

[tags]english premiers league, tommy smyth, espn first take, liverpool, everton[/tags]