It’s been 50 years since the last time a solo male British artist has recorded a James Bond theme song. That was Tom Jones, who fancies himself the Welsh Bond, singing “Thunderball” for the film of the same name. In the years since, we’ve gone from Louis Armstrong to Duran Duran and A-ha to Chris Cornell and Garbage, and also actual garbage (Madonna’s “Die Another Day”). That peculiar trend was snapped this year, though, when crooner Sam Smith was tapped to sing the Spectre theme, the Disclosure-produced “Writing’s on the Wall,” which you can hear below.
It’s appropriately epic and overwrought, two Bond theme trademarks. That’s usually not a bad thing! But the orchestral “Wall” sounds too vulnerable, as if Bond is now one of the characters in SNL‘s Adele sketch. (Smith told NPR, “I tried to put myself in the shoes of Bond. My music is a diary and it’s a recap of my life, and I wanted to bring that kind of honesty.”) What I’m saying is, “Writing’s on the Wall” is no “Skyfall,” one of the best themes in the franchise.
Still, Smith was a worthy choice, especially after reading something like this.
Though he’s longed for years to be the voice crooning over one of those iconic title sequences, Smith says someone else in his life might be even more excited: His uncle Terry, who was diagnosed with brain damage at birth, is also a James Bond superfan.
“He’s got every single poster, every single figurine,” Smith says. “I just thought, how incredible that would be for him, and for the family and stuff, to do that theme song. It would be amazing. I’m not sure he even knows yet that I’m properly doing it. But I’m gonna bring him to the premiere.” (Via)
Spectre is out November 6 in the U.S.