When I first heard Adele was the front runner for the new James Bond movie theme, like many others, I believed it to be an inspired choice. After the 2 previous very disappointing and lack-lustre themes by Chris Cornell and the Jack White and Alicia Keys duet (I feel bad mentioning Alicia Keys’ name in the same sentence as lack-lustre!), Adele seemed to hit the right notes – brilliant voice, fantastic lyricist, 60s glam, and with her usual ‘fire/burning’ themes she tends to revisit in her lyrics, Adele to me became the obvious, natural fit.
When she got the gig – the Bond fan club world rejoiced!
Then the title of the movie was published – my heart sank.
Skyfall, sounds like an authentic and emotive enough title for a Bond movie, however as a title for a song, a theme song at that, it doesn’t leave much scope. Try writing a lyric where the subject is Skyfall, it seems easy, until you actually try to do it. All, Ball, Call, Fall, Gall, Hall, Mall, Pall, Tall, Wall, Y’all, and I’ve run out of viable options. From that uninspiring short list, you can only really use all, call, fall, tall and wall – risking a lazy sounding and repetitive lyric.
Adele, as brilliant a lyrist as she is, was well onto a loser with this. Fortunately, her voice and performance carries this song. The melody, capturing variations on the original signature Bond theme by Monty Norman is perfect, rich in tone, packed full of opulent orchestral sounds.
Adele manages to create the essence of Shirley Bassey, without mimicking her. It is just a shame that the subject matter of the song was not as all in capturing as say “Goldfinger”. Yes, I know a Bond theme is about the music with less emphasis on the lyrics, but if you are going to employ the services of a genius talent such as Adele, who is known for her brilliant song writing, then for goodness sakes, give her some room to create a masterpiece, not restrict her with a near impossible theme like Skyfall.
Brave attempt especially with such a restrictive mandate, well performed, but lyrically you simply can not make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Please give Adele a better song title next time!
Rating: 3 out of 5
Now I invite you to listen to Adele’s ‘Rolling in the deep‘, an example of Adele at her best. When given free rein, the difference is clear.
- Watch Adele’s Official ‘Skyfall’ Lyric Video (mashable.com)
- LISTEN: Adele’s 007 Theme Song ‘Skyfall’ Debuts (movieline.com)
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