ALBUM REVIEW: Spectre (James Bond) Soundtrack

by Maggie Molloy

The names Bond. James Bond.

spectre-the-james-bond-24-opening-sequence-and-new_txge.1920What a name. What a role! In the past 50 years, six of Hollywoods most devilishly handsome and devastatingly charming actors have brought Agent 007 to life on the big screenfrom Sean Connery to Roger Moore to Pierce Brosnan and, most recently, Daniel Craig.

In fact, this years Spectreis the 24th film in the Bond series which, by the way, is the third-highest-grossing film series in history. But for a secret agent, James Bond sure does get a lot of press. Which is why were more interested in the man behind the scenesor rather, the man behind the music: Thomas Newman.

Alright, alrightin all fairness Newman is not so new to the press either. The mans been nominated for 12 Academy Awards and three Golden Globes, won two BAFTAs, an Emmy, and six Grammysbut whos counting? In any case, were ending the year with a bang by reviewing Newmans spellbinding spy soundtrack for Spectre.

Now I know what youre thinking: Really? How many ways can they spin the classic Bond theme?But fear not: over the course of this 80-minute masterwork Newman manages to musically set the scene, illustrate the action, build the excitement, and still weave in the infamous Bond theme with drama, wit, and subtle charm.

SAVING MR. BANKS..Thomas Newman..Ph: Alberto Rodriguez..©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

SAVING MR. BANKS..Thomas Newman..Ph: Alberto Rodriguez..©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The result is a theatrical and gorgeously textured musical journey that is every bit as action-packed as the movies. Lets begin with a quick movie synopsis:

In this latest Bond flick, a cryptic message from the past leads Bond to Mexico City and eventually Rome, where he meets the latest Bond girl: the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal. He infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of a top secret and super sinister organization known as SPECTREwhich, by the way, stands for Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortionand the action unfolds from there.

Of course, you cant see any of this while listening to the soundtrackbut you can certainly feel it happening all around you. Timbral nuances, sultry strings, mystical flute melodies, and striking percussion elements bring to life the multifaceted world of James Bond in all its elegant and adventurous glory.

From exotic percussion grooves to lush romantic themes, immersive atmospheric electronics to those moments of glorious and radiant movie magicthe soundtrack takes you on an adventure through the streets of Mexico City to the catacombs of Rome, through the eyes of a spy and the heart of a hero.

Over the course of 26 tracks, Newman explores all of the most poignant and powerful moments of human experience: love, loss, life, and death. With cultural nods to Italy and Mexico and pop cultural nods to the great Bond composers before him (Monty Norman, anyone?), Newman navigates the world of Agent 007 with a sense of wit, wonder, imagination, and the utmost adventure.

And just like the film, the soundtrack for Spectreis full of thrilling twists and turns, grand mysteries and golden movie magic.