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Section Header
Die Another Day
2002 Warner

2004 Bootleg

Composed, Co-Programmed, and Produced by:
David Arnold

Conducted and Orchestrated by:
Nicholas Dodd

Co-Programmed by:
Rob Playford
Stephen Hilton

Song Performed by:

Labels and Dates:
Warner Bros. Records
(November 12th, 2002)

2-CD Bootleg

Also See:
The World is Not Enough
Tomorrow Never Dies
Casino Royale
Quantum of Solace
The Living Daylights
A View to a Kill

Audio Clips:
2002 Warner Album:

1. Die Another Day (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (250K)
Real Audio (155K)

4. Hovercraft Chase (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (243K)
Real Audio (151K)

14. Antonov (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (244K)
Real Audio (152K)

15. Going Down Together (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (243K)
Real Audio (151K)

The 2002 Warner album is a regular U.S. release. The Madonna song was released simultaneously on various CD singles. The expanded bootlegs circulating around the secondary market starting in 2004 (some claiming to be promotional) all contained similar contents on two CDs.

  The song "Die Another Day" was nominated for a Golden Globe.

Die Another Day
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Sales Rank: 130304

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Buy it... if you applauded David Arnold's gradual shift of the music in the Brosnan tenure of the Bond franchise towards the hard attitude of abrasive techno and electronica styles.

Avoid it... if you value any part of the heritage in the songs and scores of the franchise, for Madonna and Arnold's ultra-modern re-conceptualization of its music remains a nightmare for many devoted Bond collectors.

Die Another Day: (David Arnold) With the entry of Die Another Day in 2002, the James Bond series surpassed the 20-film mark, an extraordinary achievement considering that a handful of those movies existed on many people's "worst films of all time" lists. Unfortunately, this particular 007 adventure by director Lee Tamahori proved to be among the worst of the worst, decelerating the franchise so quickly that it concluded the Pierce Brosnan era and left a lengthy break before Warner Brothers, MGM, and producer Barbara Broccoli, among others, managed to reboot the concept with the help of Daniel Craig in the far superior Casino Royale. That circumstance didn't stop Brosnan, completing his fourth film as Bond, from teaming up with the super-hot Halle Berry in an effort to thwart the world's newest big, bad billionaire madmen who seek domination with special crystals, remote fortresses, secret satellites, and other tired staples of the Bond franchise. While the film was digging the concept into a bigger hole, composers Monty Norman and John Barry were battling it out in court to decide who exactly could claim the ownership of the infamous James Bond theme. David Arnold, meanwhile, expanded upon his tenure with his third and weakest score for the franchise. The news about Die Another Day was practically all bad, and for film score collectors, the disintegration of Arnold's mastery in the Bond franchise was particularly disappointing. He burst onto the Bond scene with the highly acclaimed score for Tomorrow Never Dies in 1997, a work that would lead to two albums and the rejoicing of fans of traditional Bond music from the pen of Barry. His touch for capturing the spirit of Barry's 007 music (and Norman's theme in particular) and merging it with his own sensibilities had yielded an exciting and relieving sound. Arnold's music for The World is Not Enough was a techno/electronica experiment with the same concept, shifting the emphasis of some of the action sequences from orchestral dominance to a leading roll for synthetic accents, usually in the form of ripping and slapping loops. This technique left many Bond collectors out in the cold, and for those fans in particular, Die Another Day was an even greater nightmare.

Before discussing the score for Die Another Day, however, the title song begs for its fair share of whipping. The songs in the Bond franchise are more important to the greater movie-going masses than the underscores, their legacy extending into nearly every generation of American culture, and many casual music buyers purchase the Bond soundtracks only for the title song. The songs since Brosnan's resurrection of the franchise in 1995 had been mediocre at best. From Tina Turner to Sheryl Crow and Garbage, the best of lot was ironically k.d. lang's title performance for Tomorrow Never Dies, which was rejected and sent to the end credits of its film. When Madonna was announced as the performer for the title song of Die Another Day, many Bond fans were cautiously optimistic. The female performers of Bond songs have traditionally featured a lustful, mature voice, and Madonna's tone had grown into exactly that type since her popular, slower ballads began to hit the air-waves in the mid-1990s ("Take a Bow," "You'll See," "Frozen," "The Power of Good-Bye," etc). Additionally, her spectacular singing performances for the film Evita in 1996 exhibited a further ability to combine romance and pizzazz on the big screen. Breaking with tradition, however, the title song for Die Another Day was not written by the score's composer; instead, it was the result of Madonna, songwriter Michael Colombier, and producer Mirwais Ahmadzai, all of whom having collaborated on the singer's pop album releases of the era. Unfortunately, for the Bond franchise and all of its loyal fans, Madonna's "Die Another Day" is the worst disgrace ever to tarnish the opening credits of a James Bond film. It's even more insufferable than Jack White and Alicia Keys' "Another Way to Die" for Quantum of Solace. There exists no insult that can adequately describe the hideous and inappropriate trash that Madonna and her partners smeared on Die Another Day. The most commonly cited problem with the song involves the fact that it ignores any tradition of the Bond franchise. The title song in Bond films is either a pop rock song or a love ballad, and there's no sense in trying to fix something that isn't broken by flailing around with experimental genre-bending exercises.

The songs submitted just prior by Crow and Garbage, while neglecting the romantic aspect of the tradition, at least played to the mainstream rock audience. Unquestionably, "Die Another Day" is an enormous leap out of the mainstream and utilizes a digital techno and electronica style of editing and mutilation that renders it useless for both the film and for the average listener. Forget the longtime Bond fans who owned all the Barry LP soundtracks; the song in Die Another Day repulsed people well beyond that small group. The editing in particular is a fatal characteristic. The recordings of both the voice and the backing orchestra are digitally chopped into a nearly incomprehensible garble of noise that may honestly make a listener believe for a moment that there is a horrible problem with his or her stereo system. There is no flow to the song, which hides perhaps the total inadequacy of the song's melody (or lack thereof). That melody is a simplistic range of just a few notes, rendering it nearly impossible for Arnold to adapt it well into the score. Arnold himself had no kind word for the song, admitting that it was a stretch to adapt any melody into the score. And even though he did manage to do so quite thoroughly for Die Another Day, that adaptation yields one of the weakest orchestral themes in the franchise (despite the composer's valiant attempts to twist it into something useful for a variety of emotional settings). The song remains proof that the composers of the scores for these films really do need to be involved in the songwriting, despite whatever territorial or protective behavior the performing artists hold over their own songs' writing. Finally, the lyrics for "Die Another Day" are even more ridiculous (or lame, if you want the common jargon) than those of other recent Bond films, making some of even the most flamboyant and embarrassing entries in the series seem like literary masterpieces by comparison. In sum, this song is painful to hear at the beginning of the film, an unequivocal disaster that some viewers joked as being appropriate for the scenes of torture seen over the rather unconventional opening credits sequence. Luckily, history hasn't been kind to Madonna's venture into the realm of Bond.

If you can manage to survive the song at the start, the score by Arnold is a continuation of the style of thinking from The World is Not Enough rather than the true combination of orchestral jazz and electronic samplings heard in Tomorrow Never Dies. Arnold didn't really reach the same strong merging of sounds until Quantum of Solace, and the harsh, electronica attitude of Die Another Day is alone a killing factor for a significant number of listeners. Arnold seems to have attempted, to some degree, to follow the lead of Madonna's song, with the hovercraft chase scene chopped up with the almost identical, nonsensical editing that ruined the song. Portions of the orchestra are artificially cut to silence for a fraction of a second, causing a stutter-stop motion to the music that was probably intended to enhance the pace of the action in the film. Not surprisingly, the technique is nothing more than obnoxious. In fact, this same technique taints several cues throughout the score, though to lesser degrees. Arnold seemingly altered the natural reverberation sound of the orchestra and electronic programming as well. Notes begin normally, but end artificially and too soon, and this is continued for countless progressions in some action cues. The overall sound of the action cues is therefore defined by unnaturally abrupt edges that frankly sound dumb when involving a full ensemble in the mix. This is particularly disturbing in the case of a handful of the larger orchestral cues, for the original unaltered studio performance has quite a vibrant sound to it. There are a handful of cues left untampered with, and you can really hear the orchestra's vivacious power in the percussion of "Some Kind Of Hero?" and "Antonov." In other sections, the orchestra's solo performances seem to be edited not with cuts to silence, but rather with a simple removal of the reverberation, causing the score to sound as though it was recording in a tiny auditorium. Another major problem is Arnold's emphasis on sound effects in the high treble region; some of the zipping effects, likely to emulate a laser beam given this plot, are difficult to tolerate for any length of time. As these looped elements from Arnold have progressively gotten higher in pitch through the years, so too has the music become more unpalatable.

If the destruction of the music's flow during the editing process doesn't bother you in regards to the Die Another Day score, then perhaps the imbalance between ensemble and synth array will put you over the edge. Arnold's delicate, but successful balance between Barry's traditional, orchestral jazz and his own electronica and techno tendencies in Tomorrow Never Dies is lost to the relentless slashing of the electronic programming here. He simply cannot shake the constant electronic looping for very long, and whenever he begins to adopt a purely Barry-like progression of strings or brass, the cue is cut short by electronic laser sounds or the mad pounding of tinny, electronic drums. Absent from this score are some of the five or six minute juggernaut cues of orchestral and electronic mastery that Arnold has produced for his other scores in the franchise. Even the lengthier action sequences in this film switch stylistic genres of music with such frequency the listener can have difficulty adapting. A few cases of temp track influences contribute to this problem, especially in the lengthy finale sequence aboard the plane. The few moments of more low key character building (such as the Jinx-related cues heard during her introductory scenes) show hints of more readily enjoyable and engaging material, but Arnold never unleashes the full orchestra in these moments until the very last cue. In terms of creativity in its instrumentation and rhythms, the score is, in a word, uninspired. It is evidence of a composer simply going through the motions, and it's not surprising that many critics and fans were calling for a new composer to accompany the reboot of the franchise after Brosnan declined to return for the money offered. Arnold did, to his credit, insert a monumentally mixed choral sound into Die Another Day, a rarity for the franchise. The full, male choral performances are an interesting and perhaps under-explored method of handling a master villain, though critics still cite an over-reliance on Stargate-like sounds in the composer's career. The lengthy "Antonov" offers a solo female voice as well as an ensemble chorale, and these sometimes magnificent moments save the score from being a total waste. A few references to Barry's material for On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice are cool, but usually lost in the mix.

Thematically, Die Another Day seems like a one-dimensional score because of Arnold's almost constant exploration of the title theme loosely inspired by Madonna's song. This theme makes a compelling appearance during the prisoner exchange sequence and is woven into the fabric of many of the subsequent action cues. In its most ominous applications, mostly in relation to the villains, the theme faintly foreshadows the deep brass treatment that Arnold would provide for the Quantum organization a few films later in the franchise. The score's most interesting specialty instruments are devoted to the villains, including the use of an accelerating cimbalom motif for the North Koreans. The composer also offers the Norman theme a significant roll in Die Another Day, ranging in incarnation from loyal solo electric guitar strumming to wildly frenetic techno variations. The version of both this classic theme and the title theme for the film were arranged into an intolerable electronic mess for a rejected end credits suite (which seems like mostly a regurgitation of the obnoxious parts of "Hovercraft Chase" repackaged a second time). A theme for Jinx (in "Jinx Jordan" and "Jinx & James") is not as well adapted into the rest of the score's material, largely diminishing her character's impact on the music. A few other secondary themes, some of which quite noble in intent, peek through in Die Another Day, sometimes mingling with themes established by Arnold in previous films. The bass plucking from the start of the Goldeneye song is reprised. A descending piano motif for danger carries over to late action cues. The theme for Tomorrow Never Dies is heard in the conversational piece after the prisoner exchange (a clever reference to Bond's career). The pretty love theme from The World is Not Enough is heard in this score's final two cues. Also in favor of this score are several references to Barry's general style at specific points, including the well known snare rips that Barry loved to use while the villains were describing their nasty plans and the descending baseline of On Her Majesty's Secret Service under some of the title theme performances. The problem with these subtle references, however, is that they were drowned out in the film and mostly missing from the woeful commercial album released at the time of the film's debut.

Both Tomorrow Never Dies and The World is Not Enough were badly represented by their initial commercial album offerings. In the case of the latter score, no bootleg was quickly forthcoming to appease angry collectors. The same was not the case with Die Another Day, which was spread around in 2-CD bootleg format within just a few years of its recording. The two previous scores really did have significant and lengthy, superior material missing from their commercial albums. While the 2-CD bootlegs of Die Another Day will offer some material that will clear up Arnold's thematic intents and include some of the less irritating action material, they really don't improve the opinion about the score by great margins. There are interesting, short cues that will be worthy of an Arnold/Bond compilation, but nothing of absolute necessity. The "Kiss of Life" cue, which includes the Tomorrow Never Dies reference, has a few minutes of melodramatic conversational backing. The title theme is elegantly translated onto solo piano in "Peaceful Fountains of Desire" (as well as "A Touch of Frost"). The strong action cue "Jinx, James, and Genes" contains the homage to On Her Majesty's Secret Service and finishes with a great flourish of Norman's theme at the end. A traditional guitar performance of the Norman theme in "Gustav Graves Gravitational Grand Entrance" is interrupted by a terrible, stuttering performance of Arnold's generic "bad guy" theme that existed in his first four scores. The cue for Madonna's cameo is surprisingly lush (and has no hints of the song). Both "Sword Fight" and "Bond Gets the Key" use the title theme extensively, the former with the usual wailing brass and the latter with cimbalom. Arnold gets cute with "Virtual Reality," ending the cue with an intentional shutdown of declining pitch and one last guitar strum to show a sense of humor. Fun, but unlistenable. The subsequent and short "The Vanish" features an ultra cool blend of the orchestra and techno elements performing the Norman theme. The glory of Goldfinger's wailing brass explodes in the flamboyant "Bond Goes to Iceland." The major action piece missing from the commercial album is "Ice Palace Car Chase," a generic blend of the difficult action material heard before (and again in "Switchblades").

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Sentimental sorts will enjoy how the 2-CD bootleg ends, however. The film version of "Going Down Together" is perhaps the most appealing, traditionally orchestral action piece in the score. Finally, the love theme from The World is Not Enough finally represents the longing "Moneypenny" and Bond's affair with Jinx in "Diamonds" with You Only Live Twice style. In sum, the bootleg is interesting in the whole and redemptive to some degree, but it ultimately exposes the reality that Die Another Day is still the weakest of Arnold's first five Bond scores. The commercial product remains a clearly miserable overall product, however. Several aspects of the album are unsavory, starting with the inconsistent mix of the bass from track to track. A comparison with the bootleg's very different sound quality in certain cues will be of interest to die-hard fans. In terms of contents, there are pieces on the commercial album that are almost laughable in the context of a Bond franchise that has seen better times. The Paul Oakenfold remix of the classic Bond theme is sadly predictable and offers nothing of substance. There is an absence of an end credits song or suite on the product. The Cuban-flavored source cues (rolled into one for this album) are barely tolerable. The consistently jarring stutter-step editing in the early cues will end the listening experience for some. The album is surprisingly short, continuing a trend at the time of shorter albums for each successive Bond film. The CD is rich with enhanced features, including a movie poster gallery from Bond's history (to coincide with a similar, full size poster collage available from dealers). The enhanced music features are nearly all dedicated to the song. Finally, that song, of course, cannot be overlooked when evaluating this album. Its total disregard for the franchise's heritage and its unlistenable editing is a waste of Madonna's mature voice and reduces her to an inflective tone as mousy as that of her hits of the mid-80's. There is no cinematic sweep on this album, no consistent action material worthy of the character, and no melodic love theme to mark the film's place in the rich history of Bond music. It is a sickening listening experience for which Tomorrow Never Dies is the only antidote and, fortunately, the pursuit of a strikingly modern and edgy attitude for the Bond songs and scores was finally peacefully balanced in the subsequent Casino Royale. When soundtracks need an antidote, you know you're in trouble. Price Hunt: CD or Download

    Score as Written for Film: **
    Song as Written for Film: FRISBEE
    Overall: *

Bias Check:For David Arnold reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.33 (in 15 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.3 (in 42,763 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.12 Stars
Smart Average: 2.35 Stars*
***** 413 
**** 391 
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* 2329 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Re: Die Another Day ending credits
  Mark Malmstrøm -- 4/23/09 (12:31 a.m.)
   Actually good!
  Andrew -- 12/4/08 (9:40 p.m.)
  SolarisLem -- 6/16/07 (4:32 p.m.)
   Die Another Day ending credits
  Icarus -- 6/17/06 (12:29 p.m.)
   Re: The STepford Wives soundtrack ??
  movieluver -- 3/11/06 (6:47 p.m.)
Read All | Add New Post | Search | Help  

 Track Listings (2002 Warner Album): Total Time: 55:01

• 1. Die Another Day - performed by Madonna (4:38)
• 2. James Bond Theme (Bond Vs. Oakenfold) (4:05)
• 3. On the Beach (2:51)
• 4. Hovercraft Chase (3:49)
• 5. Some Kind of Hero? (4:32)
• 6. Welcome to Cuba (2:07)
• 7. Jinx Jordan (1:29)
• 8. Jinx & James (2:04)
• 9. A Touch of Frost (1:52)
• 10. Icarus (1:23)
• 11. Laser Fight (4:35)
• 12. Whiteout (4:55)
• 13. Iced Inc. (3:08)
• 14. Antonov (11:52)
• 15. Going Down Together (1:34)

 Track Listings (2004 Bootleg): Total Time: 106:14

CD1: (57:56)

• 1. Gun Barrell (0:30)
• 2. Surf's Up (1:07)
• 3. On the Beach (2:31)
• 4. Bond Meets Moon (1:05)
• 5. Hovercrafts (1:16)
• 6. How Do You Intend to Kill Me Now, Mr. Bond? (2:05)
• 7. Hovercraft Chase (3:49)
• 8. Bond to Jail (0:52)
• 9. Prisoner Exchange (4:33)
• 10. Kiss of Life (4:49)
• 11. Peaceful Fountains of Desire (1:08)
• 12. Hotel to Cuba (0:45)
• 13. Cuba (0:45)
• 14. Cuban Car (0:52)
• 15. Jinx Jordan (1:28)
• 16. Bond Bonks Jinx, Jinx Bonx Bond Back (2:07)
• 17. Wheelchair Access (2:24)
• 18. Wheelchair Access (Original) (2:24)
• 19. Jinx, James, and Genes (5:13)
• 20. Gustav Graves Gravitational Grand Entrance (1:37)
• 21. That Looks Like Madonna (0:57)
• 22. Sword Fight (2:18)
• 23. Bond Gets the Key (0:26)
• 24. Virtual Reality (1:42)
• 25. The Vanish (0:54)
• 26. Bond Goes to Iceland (Bogof) (1:19)
• 27. The Explanation (1:37)
• 28. Party Track (1:34)
• 29. Icarus (1:22)
• 30. Ice Spy (3:01)
• 31. A Touch of Frost (1:48)
CD2: (48:18)

• 1. Laser Fight (4:40)
• 2. It Belongs to His Boss (0:46)
• 3. Double Agent (1:53)
• 4. White Out (4:54)
• 5. Skidoos (2:30)
• 6. Iced Inc. (3:09)
• 7. Ice Palace Car Chase (4:57)
• 8. Switchblades (3:26)
• 9. Death of Moon (5:45)
• 10. Gustav Graves Gravitational Grand Exit (6:20)
• 11. Going Down Together (Film Version) (3:21)
• 12. Moneypenney (1:11)
• 13. Diamonds (1:34)
• 14. End Credits (Unused) (3:54)

(The above contents are only a sample of the most common of bootleg variations)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The 2002 Warner album's insert contains credits, but no extra information about the film, score, or song. The bootlegs feature a wide range of fan-created art.

  All artwork and sound clips from Die Another Day are Copyright © 2002, Warner Bros. Records, 2-CD Bootleg. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 11/12/02 and last updated 12/21/08. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2002-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.