After a long (six year) hiatus and the departure of the much reviled (though I thought he was pretty awesome) Timothy Dalton, the guy who was born to play Bond finally had the role. Welcome, Pierce Brosnan. We hope you enjoy your stay.
“Goldeneye” – The remarkable overall trend of hiring women who can belt out a tune continues with Tina Turner behind the mic to start off the 90s. The title, again, makes zero sense. But at least the song doesn’t try to explain it. Now we’re firmly in the arena of nostaglia with more punchy horn section samples and strings doing a sort of overwrought, super-obvious version of what they did in the 60s. The lyrics seem strangely divorced from the story: “You’ll never know how I watched you from the shadows as a child. You’ll never know how it feels to be the one who’s left behind.” Huh? Still, this is memorable and fun entry.
“Tomorrow Never Dies” – Sheryl Crow is a good singer for what she does, but she seems a little overmatched to perform a Bond song. Twangy guitars, muted piano chords, and McCartneyesque strings make this another nostalgia entry. This is the most violent of all the songs to date. The first line sets up the danger: “Darling, I’m killed.” This time around, the woman understands the danger Bond puts her in, but she just can’t help herself. An overreaction to the feminist 70s and the cynical 80s? Maybe.
“The World Is Not Enough” – I’m going out on a limb and say that Shirley Manson is the best songtress in the Bond ouvre. She’s equally good at the quiet, sultry verses and the brash choruses. By this time, the nostalgia has taken over the arrangement, and there’s really nothing except production value and the percussion to place this song in the late 90s. This is also best of the “villain portait” songs, perfectly capturing the megalomania and sultriness of Elektra King. I particularly love the use of an important snippet of dialogue from the film: “There’s no point in living if you can’t feel alive.” This is one of the best Bond songs there is.
That decade went by fast, didn’t it?