Billie Eilish, an 18-year-old singer making waves in the music industry, was announced to be performing the theme song for the next James Bond film in January. The upcoming movie, “No Time to Die,” will be the latest installment in the franchise that is more than 50 years old, and the song bears the same title. Eilish now joins the ranks of artists such as Adele, Tina Turner, and Paul McCartney in recording a James Bond theme.
At 18 years old, Billie Eilish is now the youngest performer ever to be tasked with recording an original Bond theme. The song was released Feb. 13 to high anticipation. Recording a theme song for a James Bond movie is considered a high honor in the music and cinematic industries. For the singer-songwriter, it seems like the next step after her Grammys sweep earlier this year. Eilish was nominated for six awards and won five of them, taking home the most awards of the night.
“No Time to Die” makes a departure from Billie Eilish’s traditional style, which is known for sound effects and audio samples. Instead, there is an understated orchestra that builds until a crescendo in the bridge. While marking a distinct leap from the usual music in her songs, Eilish’s voice is very much the same, playing to the strengths that won her so many Grammys.
James Bond theme songs definitely have similarities. They often have a strong orchestra behind the vocals and are quiet, crescendoing gradually until the bridge. This format usually mirrors the films themselves—building up to a climactic action. Eilish’s track stays true to this tried method.
Just because it is different from her usual style to be more like a traditional Bond theme does not mean Billie Eilish sacrificed any of her own vision for the music, however. Instead of being like every other James Bond theme song that has been released in the 50-plus-year-old franchise, she took the strengths of that style and added the strengths of her own that have worked so well for her in the years since her first single was released.
“No Time to Die” has broken the record for the biggest James Bond single in its opening week. It also served as Billie Eilish’s first number one song on the UK tracks. Last year’s track “Bad Guy” peaked at number two across the pond. To date, it is the fastest selling song this year.
There are very few downsides to this track. All of the elements seem to compliment each other well. I have been looking forward to the release of the track ever since I learned a new movie was in the works. The theme of the 007 movies is considered an important part. The scoring of any film is vital; movies have been made and broken by their soundtracks. This importance is, if anything, multiplied when it comes to James Bond films.
The song does have a lot to live up to. While breaking the most downloaded and most streamed records already, both Adele’s and Sam Smith’s tracks for a 007 theme won Grammys. Only time will tell whether or not Eilish’s will also achieve that honor.
The upcoming film “No Time to Die” has had changes in the franchise. For one, the composer was announced as different just three months before the scheduled release. Hans Zimmer, co-writer of the song, has replaced the American composer Dan Romer. Secondly, Daniel Craig has claimed this film to be his last go as the franchise’s titular secret agent. This was announced before 2015’s “Spectre,” but the actor remains adamant that this time will truly be his last.
Betrayal and deceit have always been common themes in James Bond films. The lyrics definitely play on these. Lines such as “I should have known, I’m better on my own” in the first verse and “fool me once, fool me twice” in the chorus hint at a probable betrayal in the upcoming film.
This track definitely met, if not exceeded all expectations. Whether the film itself will share the success of the track will not be decided for another two months. Until then, however, there is a song to get everyone in the mood to watch Daniel Craig’s portrayal of the spy in action one last time.