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The Sky's the limit, but a hell of a way to fall.
Skyfall - Thomas Newman
Member Name: Jojoborne
Skyfall - Thomas Newman
Advantages: Some nice relaxing tracks mixed with some pulsating action tracks.
Disadvantages: None for me but if you don't like Bond, then not for you.
The Skyfall score was written by Thomas Newman who is perhaps best known for his work and collaboration on other movies with the Skyfall movie's director Sam Mendes.
The score was originally going to be written by David Arnold, who was approached in 2011 and seemed a natural choice having worked on five Bond films previously, including 'Tomorrow Never Dies', 'The World is Not Enough', 'Die Another Day' and the other two movies starring Daniel Craig as Bond, 'Casino Royale' and 'Quantum of Solace'. However Mendes chose to go with his long-time collaborator Thomas Newman and in January 2012 it was announced that he would take over the musical score for the movie.
Arnold is well known for his work on Bond related stuff, including the famous 'Golden Eye' video game. There were stories doing the rounds that he was a little miffed at Newman's taking over the Skyfall score but this is not true as he had already committed himself to working with Danny Boyle on the Olympic ceremonies. So it was not such a hard choice for Mendes to make after all.
The soundtrack duration time is 01:08:49 with an extra ten minutes including the added bonus tracks available on iTunes.
One interesting factor about the score and a surprising one when you first listen to it is the fact that the actual title song by Adele is not included. This has only ever happened on one other Bond soundtrack or score; that being Casino Royale. I actually bought mine on iTunes so I got the Adele track with it. Seeing as this is the twenty-third Bond soundtrack that has been made, and then it being only the second to not include the title track is a pretty big deal among Bond fans and aficionados of everything OO7.
Skyfall Original Score - Track Listing
1. Grand Bazaar, Istanbul (5:15)
Superb opening track, which builds up from a patient orchestra like huddle, where they seem to be lulling the listener into a false sense of relaxation and abandonment. At just over fifty seconds in the drum beats start in conjunction with the chase that ensues on the screen. The drum beats are joined by a Turkish sound, which is made up of bongo drums, cellos, guitars and horns. This moulds into a typical Bond type sound and the chase is on, culminating with a fight atop a moving train. At the end of this track we hear the now legendary hint of the Bond Theme itself, which is a nice touch and sends a tingle down your spine whether you be watching the movie or listening to the soundtrack by itself.
2. Voluntary Retirement (2:22)
After the first track of the score in the movie the movie moves to Adele's title track 'Skyfall'. The score picks up on the CD soundtrack to coincide with M's (Judy Dench) end of meeting with Ralph Fiennes character, in which she is rather pushed into deciding to retire early. It is a sombre little opening to this track for an uneasy part of the movie for M. It soon picks up its beat as M realises that the department is under attack through a firewall breach in their computer system.
3. New Digs (2:33)
I personally love this track, which really puts this brilliant orchestra to use. It's a plucky little number in more ways than one and that's the impression you get at the start; that of an instrument being plucked. This joined by some wavering violins, which are joined by more plucking and galloping beats. There is also a slight hint of the Bond theme again cleverly mixed in there. This part of the film shows Bond, who is assumed to have perished, hiding out in an anonymous recovery hole before he meets up with the agency to be taken to the new digs that the CIA have moved to.
4. Severine (1:19)
Bond is out through his paces in order to be reassigned. A slow track that adds tension to the scene by way of delicate violins and a mild, almost hidden beat of the snare.
5. Brave New World (1:50)
The meeting with the new 'Q' and a seemingly subdued background track in the movie to begin with. On the score it is a joyous version of the Bond Theme again, which starts with an Oboe and picks up pace with cellos and violins screeching along in glorious harmony. As the pace picks up the movie moves to Bond swimming in a beautiful pool on top of a tall skyscraper. The music fits the mood perfectly, even if it is just to show one of the obligatory 'Daniel without a top' shots from the movie.
6. Shanghai Drive (1:27)
Yes, Bond has arrived in Shanghai and is on the trail of a baddie. The music is again a heady mix of woodwind instruments which give way to strings as we move into the next track.
7. Jellyfish (3:23)
The score takes us up the skyscraper with Bond hanging precariously from the bottom of the lift. It is a seemingly gentle ride as the music translates but there is a tension in both the music and the scene as one slip and Bond is a memory.
8. Silhouette (0:56)
This is a raucous track for an exciting fight between Bond and the band. They are high up in the glass skyscraper and it is dark, hence the title of this track. Kettle drums boom and drums pound as the two men fight. As the action heats up, so do the drums and we feel like a marching band has joined the actors on screen and are trying to drown out the punches and kicks. It must have been a lot of fun for the orchestra to record this part of the movie.
9. Modigliani (1:04)
Bond travels up river on a boat towards a casino and we hear more of the Bond theme mixed in with Skyfall, the title song. It is nicely done and blends in well with the tension of what Bond expects to find at his destination.
10. Day Wasted (1:32)
Bond sees a familiar face in the casino and makes a vow to help a damsel in distress. The music here is subtle and is a build-up to what is to come.
11. Quartermaster (4:58)
Bond makes his way out of the casino and the music builds up the tension ready for a fight. The build- up is subtle and gives us a hint along with the scene that something is about to happen. Again it is a nice mix and use of melodic violins and slowly rumbling beat.
12. Someone Usually Dies (2:30)
The tempo is slowly raised yet keeps itself in check as it gradually builds up to the major action scene in the movie that we know must be about to come. Newman is a master at pacing the score so it lulls you into a false sense of security, even though you know something major is about to happen, before slapping you in the face with a tantalising break-neck beat.
13. Komodo Dragon (3:20)
This is an integral part of the score and it becomes evident that the Violins, Cellos and flute at the start of the track are treating you to a slower version of the movie title track in without the voice of Adele. Adele actually collaborated on this instrumental version with Paul Epworth, the producer of the track. The build-up to the hot spot in the scene is still evident even with this apparent lull. Have no fear as it is just the calm before the storm.
14. The Bloody Shot (4:46)
Another action and fight sequence. This track has lots of pace and it soon gathers into a whirlwind of drum bashing and silky smooth guitars. It has that marching element to it again and is akin to a superhero fight scene more than anything but I suppose Bond is a kind of hero after all.
15. Enjoying Death (1:14)
A fight with henchmen and Komodo Dragon's. The orchestra creates the tension of a fight and manages to still keep the scene rolling with some subtle eloquence.
16. The Chimera (1:58)
Bond escapes the casino and ends up on a boat. He also ends up getting the girl as usual. This is a slower track and beautifully composed. The violins are again evident, as are the cellos. This is one of those tracks that goes about its business and once you listen to the soundtrack you realise just how much of these slower tunes matter and gel the movie together.
17. Close Shave (1:33)
Bond meets with the classic Bond Villain played by Javier Bardem. 'Silva' is an interesting character to say the least and the music conveys a steely grit with that somehow perfect mix of evil and mystery to it that you only get in Bond villains. I love the way the score really makes the mood of each of Bardem's scenes that much more creepy.
18. Health & Safety (1:30)
Silva is plotting his escape from the CIA building and the music creates the perfect tension for the scene.
19. Granborough Road (2:33)
Bond and Q try to crack the encrypted code that Silva has laid in his computers. It is amazing how in Bond films, the music actually does convey the techy parts really well and all the flashing screens and computer imagery is shown along with a score that makes you feel like you're in the lab with the characters.
20. Tennyson (2:14)
Silva is on the run and Bond is on his trail. The orchestra is again locked on the eyes of the conductor as it weaves up and down in tempo and an array of instruments is exposed.
21. Enquiry (2:50)
M and many of the big-wigs from the CIA and the judiciary are in the courthouse for an enquiry into how the security at the CIA was breached. Silva breaks in and tries to kill M. The music reaches a crescendo as Bond tries to protect her and once again an action scene opens with crashing symbols and pulsing guitars and synths.
22. Breadcrumbs (2:02)
Good old Monty Norman's Original Bond theme bursts onto the screen at the start of this track and it sounds as good as ever. It sounds rough and smooth all at the same time. It smashes onto the speakers and makes you want to shout 'Yes, this is Bond' and let's remember I am not a Bond obsessive or even a massive fan. Daniel Craig has re-enlightened a childhood lust for adventure in me and I loved the music in this movie; this part gave me some odd nostalgic feeling, probably born out of growing up with Bond films over the last four decades. Bond takes M to safety as Q leaves a hidden trail for Silva to follow in order to lure him into a trap.
23. Skyfall (2:33)
We visit Bond's childhood home 'Skyfall' in the Scottish highlands. The score slows once more into a lull that fits in with the setting really well.
24. Kill Them First (2:22)
M, Bond and Kincaid, Skyfall's old gamekeeper, prepare to protect the house from Silva's imminent attack.
25. Welcome to Scotland (3:21)
Silva and his cronies arrive and the music blasts into action for an immense battle scene. The orchestra is used to its full potential and we get to hear an array of instruments to numerous to name or at least to decipher. Another robust and kicking track that fits the scene perfectly.
26. She's Mine (3:54)
The music really pumps up as M and Kincaid move into the underground passage and as the fire rips through the house the horns section rises to a crescendo.
27. The Moors (2:39)
M and Kincaid are followed across the moors by Silva and the violins continue to dip and rise as if in their own race against time.
28. Deep Water (5:12)
Bond falls through the ice with one of Silva's henchmen and the music dulls into a muffling under water experience that bangs back into focus as Bond fights for his life while running out of air.
29. Mother (1:49)
A touching scene from Dench and Craig or M and Bond and a touching track to go with it that rides into a roof top scene with Bond looking out over the city of London. A great tune to relax and listen to on your headphones.
30. Adrenaline (2:19)
The credits roll and after being treated to the Bond theme again, in the movie, we are thrust into another upbeat Turkish influenced track which seals the movies end with a metal edge. The Bond theme is not part of the soundtrack score for this track and it begins with the Turkish influenced track.
31. Old Dog, New Tricks (1:48)
The main credit sequence tune ends and we are treated to a beautiful slow track that is a conglomeration of a few of the scenes from the Shanghai sequence in the movie. This is a bonus track on the score or soundtrack CD.
A lot of soundtracks or specifically scores are quite difficult to listen to as they contain very few lyrics. If you like to listen to classical music then you will appreciate a lot of them. Let's be honest though, when you have been really touched by a movie, how often most people actually consider the importance of the score; not enough people in my opinion. Next time you feel that your gut has been ripped out by a movie and you are sitting in the cinema transfixed to the screen and the music playing over the end credits, and you realise everyone has left; just take a moment to think back on the music. Skyfall is by no measure of the imagination a movie that will make you feel like your guts have been ripped out but the score is divine. It is everything that encapsulates Bond, whether you are a fan or not and I for one have thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. I fully intend to listen to it over and over and I am looking forward to relaxing and lying down with it on my headphones. Some of the faster tracks are probably a little too loud and lively for relaxation but there are some beautiful tracks on there that suck you into their mood.
The Score can be picked up between eight and sixteen pounds from most good record stockists and online music retailers.
I would give the Skyfall soundtrack four out of five stars for the quality of the work and its ability to carry the story forward during the movie itself.
Summary: Bond is back and so is Newman. Back of the net, a great score!