SPECTRE - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2015)
Whenever a new James Bond movie is released, people talk about the action, the fast cars, and the Bond girls. When it comes to music, people get excited about the theme song. Tina Turner’s “GoldenEye”, Madonna’s “Die Another Day” and Adele’s “Skyfall” have all gotten their fair share of attention. However, how much do you know about the score and its composer? What else do you know other than the iconic James Bond main theme (courtesy of veterans John Barry and Monty Norman)?
You probably only know that the title song “Writing’s On The Wall” from 24th movie in the James Bond series is performed by the very popular Sam Smith. American composer Thomas Newman is the man behind the film score, after his work on 2012’s Skyfall. This is also the sixth film the 12 time Oscar nominee has worked on with director Sam Mendes.
While Newman is known for his affecting compositions (Mendes’ American Beauty, Road to Perdition and Road to Perdition being some of his best scores), it does not mean that the 60 year old composer is inept with action movie scores.
As he has proven with The Adjustment Bureau and the last James Bond instalment, there is something unique about Newman’s action scores. There is a certain minimalism and grace which he brings to his music, something which someone like, say, Hans Zimmer will forego for mindless and deafening bombastic cues.
The 80 minute (rarely do you get a soundtrack album with such a generous amount of runtime) opens with the atmospheric “Los Muertos Vivos Estan”, aptly setting the stage for the entire album. The mysterious “Donna Lucia” is a Bond girl theme for Monica Belluci’s character, while “Backfire” is a glorious five minute track that proves to be a great listening experience. “Snow Plane” is another highlight on the album, showcasing Newman’s ability to infuse adrenaline filled action with tender quiet moments.
Things get a little emotional with “Secret Room”, while the instrumental version of Smith’s chart topping song is too brief at two minutes.
While there are any very memorable themes that will stick in your head even after three to four spins, you are consoled that such fine music is still being composed in this age where artistes go with convenient templated styles.
Recommended Track: (6) Backfire
Review by John Li