Posts tagged “No Time to Die”

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

For Your Wednesday Listening Pleasure: “No Time to Die” by Billie Eilish

No Time to Die: Billie Eilish

Fool me once, fool me twice…

There’s a new James Bond movie coming out this year! And that means there’s a new James Bond theme song. This is all rather exciting for me; I’m a bit of a James Bond aficionado. The Bond films were my go-to comfort films in my teens and early twenties. I’m also a connoisseur of Bond theme songs. If you meet me at a party, you could ask me to recite the title and artist of all the Bond themes in chronological order and I could probably do it.

Bond themes are a fascinating genre of music all their own. There are a few clunkers (*cough* Quantum of Solace *cough*), but they’ve also produced some of my favorite songs of all time (*cough* Skyfall *cough*). There’s also fun side-branch of secondary Bond themes: original songs that appear either during the movies themselves (á la the Pretenders song “Where Has Everybody Gone” in The Living Daylights) or alternate theme songs played over the end credits (á la k.d. lang’s excellent Tomorrow Never Dies alternate song “Surrender”).

But I digress. As you can see I can go on and on about Bond minutiae.

For No Time to Die, the 25th Bond film, they’ve roped in up-and-coming dark-pop musician Billie Eilish and her producer/brother Finneas O’Connell. The two are apparently as much fans of Bond as I am. Here is the result—partake and be pleasured:

Y’know what? I quite like it! It fits in the progression of the latter half of Daniel Craig bond films, Skyfall and SPECTRE. In fact it has a lot in common with Sam Smith’s “The Writing’s on the Wall” from the latter film. “No Time to Die” is darkly lush, a song ultimately about betrayal and defeat (which seems to fit what little we’ve seen of the film from its trailers). There are some great moments: the wet, Bond-ian brass that creeps into the background for a moment around the 1-minute mark; the guitar that comes in on the chorus about 1:35; the full orchestration that starts building up around the two-minute mark. In all it’s a great variation of a “building” song, where over time more and more elements seep into the initially sparse presentation. But “No Time to Die” is interesting in that it undercuts moments of possible cathartic crescendo, like the way Eilish hits the climactic high-note about 3:20, only to slide down into a lower note before it ends, as if resigned to defeat. And then all the building cuts out and the song ends as sparsely and darkly as it began.

Am I reading too much into it? Probably. But it is well done. I hope you have been pleasured by it.

Categories: Movies, Music, Wednesday Listening Pleasure.