Here we go again. Those last 5 were real pieces of shit to be perfectly honest. Luckily it only gets better from here, but not by much. You can find Part 1 here, if you missed it. Let’s get into it.
20. Never Say Never Again- Lani Hall (from Never Say Never Again)
Yeah I know this isn’t considered a canon Bond film, but screw you it’s my list, and this movie is arguably better than Thunderball (which you can listen to me and Tommy talk about in this podcast). This song though is pretty awful. On its own its something fans of The Captain and Tennille would probably like. But when you place this terrible tune over Sean Connery karate chopping a fool, ziplining down an electrical line, using a blowdart, and throwing a flashbang into a room of guys and then machine gunning them all to death while they writhe in pain, its kind of amazing. It works because the filmmakers were being earnest with it, but by todays standards its cheesy brillance that many filmmakers would try to make on purpose in a parody film. If I judged the song by itself it would rank much lower, but because of that opening scene, it gets some brownie points.
19. Writing’s on the Wall- Sam Smith (from Spectre)
This song is very polarizing for me. When I first heard it, I hated it. Then I heard it a few more times, and I changed my opinion to “it’s not that bad.” Then I saw Spectre‘s opening credits and now I’m back to hating it. The worst thing about this song are Sam Smith’s vocals. His voice just isn’t strong enough to carry a Bond song. You need a voice with gravitas, and Smith’s voice just doesn’t work like that. I’m not saying he’s a bad singer in general, his voice simply doesn’t work with this song. The prechorus tricks you into thinking the song is gonna go somewhere, instead it just leads to an atrocious falsetto by Smith. It sounds like a frat boy trying to sing Queen at a karaoke bar. The instrumentals aren’t bad, and I enjoyed the callback to it throughout the movie, but Smith ruins it. The song could’ve been great with someone else’s vocals, and I found a better version on accident. When I googled “Writing’s on the Wall” to embed the video above I found this cover by a singer named Sofia Karlberg, and its great. Check it out.
It’s the first result when you google the song title, and it should stay that way. She kills it.
18. Tomorrow Never Dies- Sheryl Crow (from Tomorrow Never Dies)
This is another polarizing one. It has the same problems as Writing’s on the Wall, good instrumentals, but poor vocals keep it from being great. Crow’s voice during the verse is sexy, sultry, and solid. Then the chorus hits and it becomes very clear that she’s struggling to hit those high notes. She’s basically screaming it, and it ruins the song. Once again this song could’ve been great with a better singer, Crow’s not a bad singer, but she’s got that rocker girl schtick that doesn’t work for this kind of tune. I’m getting extreme deja vu right now.
Crow actually wrote the song, so it makes sense as to why she sang it, or thought she could sing it. Gotta give her credit for the writing, just wish she had the sense to realize her voice didn’t work with it.
What could’ve been: kd lang wrote a theme for the movie as well, which was too good to pass up completely so the producers stuck it at the end credits. Lang’s voice has that operatic tone needed for a Bond theme and the song just works better overall. Plus that horn section that starts off the song is just classic Bond and I really dig it.
17. We Have All The Time in The World- Louis Armstrong (from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
This is the turning point of the list when the songs start to shift from bad to good. This is a pretty good song, it’s just a little boring for my tastes. Armstrong’s voice is fine in it, the composition is fine too. It’s a fine love song, just not a very good Bond song. None of the classic Bond chords are in it. The lyrics are pretty generic and don’t anything to elevate the song. But you know, it’s a nice song. “Nothing more, nothing less.”
16. From Russia with Love- Matt Monro (From Russia with Love)
Here’s another one thats solid but a little bit boring. It’s technically the first Bond theme song with vocals. It’s an alright song, but once again there’s nothing that’s distinctly Bond about it. I give it some slack because this was before a Bond theme was even a thing people cared about. Monro’s got that poor man’s Sinatra thing going with his voice which works fine for the song. I kind of wish Sinatra sang this song now that I think about it. Might’ve elevated it to the point so it could rank higher on some schmuck’s list.
That does it for Part 2. Look out for Part 3 next week.