The theme song for the new James Bond film, Spectre, out later this year, is set to be Sam Smith’s “Writing’s on the Wall.” While the song has received plenty of positive reviews and recognition, charting at number one on British charts, some fans of the Bond films have reservations about whether the song is the right fit.
The song begins with a dramatic crescendo, classic to James Bond’s theme. It ends, as quickly as it begins, with the welcomed interruption of Smith’s crooning voice matched with a slow, soft piano taking its place. This continues throughout the first verse, interspersed with bits of string instruments. Then, the bridge hits and the music picks up. Just as the song starts off, the dramatic music dissipates, leaving only Smith’s haunting voice and the slow melodic whispers of a piano.
In the second verse, there is more instrumental backing to the singing, but it is still slow, serving as more of a background to Smith’s beautiful vocals. The second bridge and chorus are the same as the verse, with the swell and dissipation of instrumentals, staying true to the drama of its predecessors’ songs.
Finally a last chorus, sparsely backed by instrumentals, finishes the nearly five minute ballad off with Smith singing, “For you I have to risk it all, because the writing’s on the wall.” Ahh the tragic romance.
There is a lot of dispute over whether “Writing’s on the Wall” is appropriately suited to represent a Bond film. It is much slower paced and emotional than previous themes of the franchise. Perhaps, like the theme song, the new film will be on the slower slided, compared to the high-action style of earlier versions. Choosing Sam Smith as the singer for the theme, in and of itself may hint at this as well. The 23-year-old London-based singer has made a name for himself as a lyrical poet, whose songs pull at heart strings, like a love affair. His gorgeous vocals tend to take center stage over the background music, videos, and everything else. This is certainly true of “Writing’s on the Wall.” Its hard to say why this song was chosen, without knowledge of the film as of yet, but if they’re trying to set the tone for a less action-packed and more sentimental Bond film, they have succeeded by choosing this beauty.
It is without doubt, a stunning song. The slow, melodic drone of the piano tune continues throughout, punctuated with grand swells, preventing it from getting monotone or repetitive. Smith’s vocals are as intensely poignant as ever. It’s a good song, but is it a Bond song? That seems to be the question fans are asking. We will find out if it’s a hit or miss, with the release of the film. Spectre comes out worldwide on November 6.