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Adele: Skyfall (James Bond Theme) - Single Review

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by Katie Thompson (subscribe)
University of York Graduate, aspiring to be a journalist with dreams of one day publishing my own novel. Blog: twotwothompson.wordpress.com/ Published work can be seen at www.theyorker.co.uk and www.yorkvision.co.uk
Published October 6th 2012
Happy James Bond Day
It's been the one of the most highly anticipated James Bond themes in movie history, and today on the 50th anniversary of the release of Dr No we can see why. Ever since soulful songstress Adele made a subtle hint about a 'special project' on The Jonathan Ross Show last month, the media was ripe with speculation that she would in fact be lending her dulcet tones to the latest soundtrack. Our suspicions were confirmed at the beginning of the month when producers teased us with a sneak preview of the track, but truly it did no justice to the full-length masterpiece, which was released officially at 0:07 UK time on October 5th and promptly climbed to the top of the iTunes chart.

adele skyfall james bond movie 2012
The stunning track has already reached #1 in iTunes charts


So just how does the latest James Bond offering truly sound? Co-written by Miss Adele Adkins herself and producer Paul Edworth, the song combines all the classic lyrical styling of the heartbroken songstress with the seductive edge that so many Shirley Bassey theme tunes have entranced us with over the years.

Skyfall instantly draws listeners in with a raw and ominous introduction. While Adele coos over the piano melody, her lyrics paint a picture of the bleak reality that faces us: this is the end/ hold your breath and count to ten. In the same fashion that's made Miss Adkins dominate music charts worldwide, however, it's not long before there's a reference to her own heart, which we're warned we'll hear 'burst again.' Lyrically speaking, rather than make direct reference to a villain a la-Shirley Bassey's Goldfinger, Skyfall instead chooses to represent solidarity, assuring listeners, let the sky fall/when it crumbles/we will stand tall/and face it all. It's unclear at present as to whether this is a message to an estranged lover or a more fitting homage to the themes of loyalty between Bond and M in the latest movie, but it's a beautiful ambiguity that only adds to the song's appeal.

Moving away from the more non-conformist Die Another Day and Another Way To Die theme tunes of recent years, Adele proves that the old formula still works the simple but effective combo of an earth-shattering voice and an orchestra are all that's needed to shape the James Bond opening sequence. As the subtle drum beat introduces the first chorus, the first of a series of goosebumps ensues as the track builds to a later and even bigger crescendo. The second chorus has the added compliment of backing singers, reminiscent of Rolling In The Deep and Adele's unique style, followed by a thicker, stronger sound of classic violins mixed beautifully with the underlying James Bond Theme from the original Dr No.

As theme tunes go, the beautiful Adele may have been criticised for not 'pushing the boundaries' of James Bond themes, but if we're to look back at Madonna's embarrassing contributions, there's no better argument for 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' For 2012, Adele has managed to combine the classic enchantment of previous Bond themes a-la Diamonds Are Forever with her own unique lyrical twist, and the added bonus of the spine-tingling final note is just another facet to this well-written and beautifully composed theme. Adkins and Edworth may have already proved their worth by sky-rocketing to the #1 spot in a matter of hours I just hope that the lovely lady has time to bask in the glory of her latest vocal offerings before she's up to her eyeballs in nappies.

Skyfall hits theatres on UK theatres October 26th and US theatres November 6th.
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Why? To hear why the classic style is truly the best.
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