“The name’s Bond. James Bond.”
What a name. What a role! In the past 50 years, six of Hollywood’s most devilishly handsome and devastatingly charming actors have brought Agent 007 to life on the big screen—from Sean Connery to Roger Moore to Pierce Brosnan and, most recently, Daniel Craig.
In fact, this year’s “Spectre” is 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 we’re more interested in the man behind the scenes—or rather, the man behind the music: Thomas Newman.
Alright, alright—in all fairness Newman is not so new to the press either. The man’s been nominated for 12 Academy Awards and three Golden Globes, won two BAFTAs, an Emmy, and six Grammys—but who’s counting? In any case, we’re ending the year with a bang by reviewing Newman’s spellbinding spy soundtrack for “Spectre.”
Now I know what you’re 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.
The result is a theatrical and gorgeously textured musical journey that is every bit as action-packed as the movies. Let’s 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 SPECTRE—which, by the way, stands for Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion—and the action unfolds from there.
Of course, you can’t see any of this while listening to the soundtrack—but 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 magic—the 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 “Spectre” is full of thrilling twists and turns, grand mysteries and golden movie magic.