After a 90-second teaser released online earlier this week, the theme song for the next James Bond movie has been released in full online with an accompanying lyric video to ensure that you can all learn the words and prepare to sing along when the movie is released in theaters at the end of this month. But does the song live up to the hype – or is the hype the point of the entire exercise, this time around?
There’s no denying that Adele brings her vocal A game for “Skyfall,” the track that shares its name with the third installment of the Bond franchise starring Daniel Craig – The first movie since 2002’s Die Another Day where the theme song is named after the movie’s title; Casino Royale‘s title song was the little-remembered “You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell, and Quantum of Solace was mercifully spared a theme song with that title when Jack White and Alicia Keys provided “Another Way To Die.” The song also features a very familiar musical backing that echoes John Barry’s famous “Bond Theme” in the verses, which is nice to hear. And yet… There’s something missing, isn’t there?
I blame the chorus. Not only does it feature a rhyme that only Adele could make work (“Fall” with “Crumble,” which the listener only really buys because Adele pronounces the latter word “crum-ball,” thanks to her accent), but it’s lyrically weak at best: “Let the sky fall/When it crumbles/We will stand tall/Face it all/Together” Adele croons, and you find yourself glad that you won’t have to read the lyrics when the song is actually playing in the movie theater. Sure, the classic Bond themes were also hardly paragons of lyrical virtue (I’m looking at you, “Live And Let Die”), but there was always something in the performance that distracted you in the right ways. Adele, bless her, doesn’t have that essential Shirley Bassey growl and operatic holler to get you over the speed bumps when necessary.
The track was released at seven minutes past midnight this morning – That would be 0:07, for those using the 24 hour clock – and quickly fulfilled its purpose: Suddenly, everyone on the Internet is talking about the new Bond movie, something that definitely wasn’t true at this time yesterday. That kind of publicity bump is exactly what Skyfall needs, considering the apparent lack of buzz in all the familiar tastemaker-y places with the movie just three weeks from release. By making the release of the theme song a viral event, the Skyfall producers have successfully reminded the world that Bond can still matter in a world more used to superheroes and space-age leads. It almost doesn’t matter that the song is ultimately a disappointment, but still better than other recent efforts; as long as it gets people thinking Bond, it’s done its job.