I almost feel sorry for anyone given the job of making a title song for a new Bond film. It’s bound to leak early, like ‘Another Way To Die’, the Jack White and Alicia Keys theme for Quantum of Solace did today. And then it’ll be taken apart under a microscope, and not much can survive that process. If the song had a stylish credits sequence to hide behind…but for that you’ll have to wait until November.
A few things come to mind listening to this song. The backing track is actually fairly ballsy; it takes some chances and they combine into a weird personality that I like a lot. The first flourishes seemed way too bright for a movie about revenge, but then it dives down into a cool dark chasm, and the rest of the track is spent climbing back up. But tasking Alicia Keys’s pipes with battling horn blasts and then dueling with Jack White’s ultra-treated guitar is only a good idea on paper.
It’s easy to toss out a bunch of ideas from the armchair, but even then I’d never be the guy to suggest just going with John Zorn (who made his mark on the Bond theme through Naked City almost twenty years ago) no matter how much of an experimental influence I convince myself lies in the backing track. But I’d love to hear TV On The Radio tackle this song, or even just to have the band’s singer Tunde Adebimpe take vocal duties over the music heard now. But it’s too late; we’ll have to live with what we’ve got. And it’s better than Chris Cornell, anyway — I’ll take an interesting failure over bland and forgettable without question.