Thursday, December 3, 2009

The score of Quantum of Solace, the 22nd James Bond film, fizzles in the company of its aptly composed and aptly titled predecessors.

Following the highly anticipated action-packed opening scene of every Bond film is the highly anticipated score. Quantum of Solace’s score is titled “Another Way to Die” and is performed by Jack White of The White Stripes and Alicia Keys. White plays the drums and Keys the piano in the first ever duet performed for a Bond soundtrack. The track has an infectious beat but lacks the musical qualities that make it a Bond standard; it lacks the soulful and forceful voice of Shirley Bassey’s "Goldfinger", the song which set the standard for all other Bond scores, it lacks the stadium sound quality of Paul McCartney’s immortal “Live and Let Die” and lacks Tina Turner’s sultry voice in “GoldenEye”.

Furthermore, simply seen from a marketing standpoint, what better way to remember a Bond movie than by writing a score that sings the title of the movie. Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger,” “Diamonds Are Forever,” and “Moonraker” do this, Nancy Sinatra’s “You Only Live Twice” does this, Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” does this, Sheena Easton’s “For Your Eyes Only” does this, Duran Duran’ s “A View to a Kill” does this, Tina Turner’s “GoldenEye” does this, Sheryl Crow’s “Tomorrow Never Dies” does this and Madonna’s “Die Another Day,” does this. Need we go on? The only Bond movies who broke with tradition are 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me (although it does mention the title of the movie at one point in the lyrics), 1983’ s Octopussy, 2006’s Casino Royale and the movie here in question, Quantum of Solace. White and Keys’ “Another Way to Die,” only faintly mentions the word “solace.” Thus, the verdict on this song is self-evident. “Another Way to Die” is an enjoyable song, but it is not a memorable song; for it breaks a sacred tradition. Every Bond film must be complemented by an aptly titled score.

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