Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Two Reviews of Adele's Skyfall.

Review by Michael Roderick (OP) (originally written for an Oxford University newspaper)

The new Adele Bond theme is fantastic and will go down in history as the greatest song of all time. Perhaps it's the tonality of Adele's dulcet voice, perhaps it's the melody that carries the whole way through the song. I don't know. But all I know is this is a song that will transcend time and maybe even space.

Review by Daniel Rollins

James Bond themes are a big deal; everyone has their favourite. Some themes are more memorable than the films they were featured in and many have become classic songs in their own right: Louis Armstrong’s beautiful “We Have all the Time in the World” (from the below-par On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), Wing’s reggae-inspired, “Live and Let Die” and Shirley Bassey’s belting “Diamonds Are Forever” have all come out of the 50-year-old franchise.

In comparison, however, the last two themes have not been received as warmly. Chris Cornell's “You Know My Name” was criticised for being "unexpectedly dull" and "forgettable". Jack White and Alicia Keys' duet, “Another Way To Die”, for Quantum Of Solace, while a great piece of music was called “a missed opportunity”. Therefore expectation were high when rumours began to circulate the internet that Adele, the multi-Grammy-Award-winning singer of “Rolling in the Deep” and “Set Fire to the Rain” would be singing the theme.

Now Adele has delivered a powerful and dramatic record. The new theme has replaced the “rockier” sound of recent Bond themes with a traditional orchestral arrangement more suited to both Adele and Bond. This return to tradition is most obvious in the music arranged by the film composer JAC Redford and Paul Epworth (producer of “Rolling In The Deep) with its soft orchestral piano, climbing violins and brass giving it a similar feel to the original Bond themes by the great John Barry.  Adele’s powerful voice soars above the 77-piece orchestra, with long notes reminiscent of Shirley Bassey’s famous Bond themes, and that is where this song stumbles. While it is a great song and theme for a Bond film, it sounds a little pale in comparison to the early Bond themes it tries to imitate.

There is a happy balance to be found between fitting into the “Barry model” and being original. While recent themes have strayed too far from this, Adele and Epworth have copied the classics too closely leaving their theme sounding a bit half baked.  Meanwhile fans and critics alike are proclaiming the opener from Muse’s new album, “Supremacy” as the greatest-ever Bond theme; this “mad sci-fi rock and electronica romp” with its subtle John Barry motifs certainly sounds stronger than the official theme.

However I’m sure that, when the lights go out and women start flying across the screen without the intrusion of the old greats or modern competition, Adele’s voice will cause hairs to stand on necks and prepare audiences for whatever mission Mr Bond is about to embark on

1 comment:

  1. I really love that song!! Chose the right person to sing it! And i totally recommend the film!!

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