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1995 Virgin

2003 EMI

Composed, Arranged, Performed, and Produced by:
Eric Serra

Symphonic Parts Conducted by:
John Altman

Performed by:
The London Studio Session Orchestra

Song Vocals by:
Tina Turner

Labels and Dates:
Virgin Records
(November 14th, 1995)

(February 25th, 2003)

Also See:
A View to a Kill
The Living Daylights
Tomorrow Never Dies
The World is Not Enough
Die Another Day

Audio Clips:
1995 Album:

1. Goldeneye (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

2. The Goldeneye Overture (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (251K)
Real Audio (156K)

3. Ladies First (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (250K)
Real Audio (155K)

15. Forever, James (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

The 1995 Virgin album is regular U.S. release that has remained readily available. The 2003 EMI/Capitol album is a mass commercial pressing that was initially sold at a retail price of $10.



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Buy it... only if you are a collector of Eric Serra's soundtracks or specifically appreciated the synthetic crossover sound of the score in the context of the film.

Avoid it... if you demand any consistency in style or substance with John Barry or David Arnold's proven styles for the franchise.

Goldeneye: (Eric Serra) By 1995, the James Bond franchise was finally beginning to get some things right. Shaking the legal difficulties that kept the series from the big screen in the early 1990's, the belated debut of Pierce Brosnan as 007 in Goldeneye marked the end of the longest lapse ever in the production of the series. Along with a thigh crushing actress, an intensely popular movie poster, and a noteworthy video game spin-off, the film was a fiscal success. It paved the way for three more Bond films to star Brosnan, ensuring the continuation of the original concept to a time that Ian Fleming couldn't have even dreamt about. The music for Goldeneye, however, turned out to be a tricky proposition. Franchise veteran John Barry had been quoted by numerous sources that he believed the modern 80's and 90's Bond films were nothing more than formula imitations of the 60's Bond films (and to and extent, he could be right). He reportedly declined participation in Goldeneye, leaving The Living Daylights as his outstanding conclusion to his efforts. The producers at M-G-M decided, and rightly so, that they wanted to continue Barry's late Bond score push into the modern rock and electronica sound, keeping only a faint resemblance to the 60's jazz for the sake of continuity. The job of continuing the modernization of the Bond scores fell on the unlikely shoulders of French synthesist Eric Serra, who was (and still is) best known for his collaborations with French director Luc Besson on Le Femme Nikita, The Professional, The Fifth Element, and The Big Blue. The move by M-G-M was naturally greeted with resentment at first, but once fans got it into their heads that Barry was finished with the series anyways, they turned curious about how Serra would tackle the project. After all, Michael Kamen's single Bond score (for Timothy Dalton's departure in License to Kill), despite its strengths in some parts, never stirred up much interest. While Serra's fan base is extremely loyal, their numbers in America at the time were miniscule when compared to the John Barry fanatics, though part of that was due to the age discrepancy between the two men.

When Goldeneye opened in the theatres, Serra's score thrilled his fans, and even sold well to a younger listening audience in record stores. Tina Turner, whose voice is sultry enough to carry the vocal sound of the franchise well, performed the title song that would circulate with moderate success around the radio stations of America. To the mass of long-time Bond fans, however, Serra's score was not only a failure in the film, but a disgrace to the Bond tradition as a whole. Veteran viewers pounded Serra instantaneously, with some going so far as to claim his score ruined the film. Demands for the whereabouts of John Barry poured in to film music publications. The move towards the musical modernization of the series had indeed been accomplished, but Serra failed completely in his attempt to tie Goldeneye to the franchise's past. Many industry insiders, including those at M-G-M (a studio renown for its poor choice of composer assignments), scratched their heads and were willing to give Serra the benefit of the doubt. When David Arnold took over the series with Tomorrow Never Dies, the young Brit proved that Serra's score was indeed not only inadequate, but a disgrace to the series. While Arnold himself has claimed that he didn't find the music for Goldeneye to be offensive at all, the score still became the subject of mockery in parts of Hollywood. Fans of Serra's music will argue that public perception and expectations shouldn't be the measure of the score for Goldeneye. To an extent, some creative liberty must be allowed, yes. But expectations in a film franchise of this multitude and cross-generational popularity simply must be respected, and Serra unequivocally failed to show that. The score is amateurish in addition to being disrespectful. Serra's techno rhythms are simplistic and uninteresting, forcing more of the excitement to be generated solely by the action on the screen (which is something that the film marginally succeeded in accomplishing). The composer's choice of synthesized samplings came under extreme and warranted criticism. The low-toned belching sound effect used to musically represent the ugly aliens in The Fifth Element is employed here as a token representation of the Russians. At first, it was thought to be a joke, but similarly ridiculous sounds unfortunately permeate Goldeneye.

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The use of the Bond theme is disgracefully minimal, with only two cues in the film making a futile attempt at its incorporation. The opening climbing scene and infamous tank chase through St. Petersburg required full statements of Monty Norman's theme, if even for a few short bursts, but Serra trashes the theme with a corny and faint electronic blast of the first few notes of its progression. The glorious tank scene, especially, was a badly missed opportunity for Serra, whose (eventually unused) cue for the scene locked his score forever in the category of disastrous misadventures. Other action scenes also contain underscore suitable for the Goldeneye video game and not the feature film. Serra makes a futile attempt to incorporate his usual London Session Studio Orchestra into the score to perform the tender moments for Bond. In the film, they make four notable appearances, but are hindered by their usual lack of inspiration and power, along with a tepid love theme attempted by Serra. The love themes in the Bond films are traditionally swoop in an almost overly dramatic movement, and are part of the Bond formula no matter how you cut it. From Russia With Love established the power of the Bond love theme, and Barry continued it to his final score. Serra also fails to quote the theme of the Goldeneye theme song by Turner in his score, which is another unacceptable blunder. When people think of the Goldeneye score in years later, it is the four-note bass plucking from the beginning of the song that is ironically best remembered. Even David Arnold, who has proven himself a master at interpreting themes for a sequel, paid tribute to this four note motif from the Goldeneye song in the first half of Tomorrow Never Dies. The fact that Arnold found nothing worth referencing in Serra's score for Goldeneye should not be neglected. After Arnold led the Bond franchise into the 21st Century with a classy and elegant combination of big jazz, Moby-inspired electronics, exotic instrumentation, and sweeping orchestral love themes, Serra's Bond score seems even more like a fish out of water. Some will continue to argue to the very end that Serra simply produced the score he was asked to write. But too many of the unwritten rules of Bond franchise scores were violated by his effort (or lack thereof), so history will be forever unkind to Eric Serra for his vastly inappropriate contribution. The contents of the 1995 Virgin and 2003 Capitol/EMI albums are the same (though the latter re-mixed the percussion as part of its remastering), and if you value any of the traditions of James Bond music from its prime, avoid the frustration of either album at all costs. * Price Hunt: CD or Download

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.39 Stars
Smart Average: 2.48 Stars*
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 Track Listings (1995 and 2003 Albums): Total Time: 54:33

• 1. Goldeneye - performed by Tina Turner (4:46)
• 2. The Goldeneye Overture (4:24)
• 3. Ladies First (2:44)
• 4. We Share the Same Passions (4:46)
• 5. A Little Surprise for You (2:02)
• 6. The Severnaya Suite (2:07)
• 7. Our Lady of Smolensk (1:01)
• 8. Whispering Statues (3:26)
• 9. Run, Shoot, and Jump (1:05)
• 10. A Pleasant Drive through St. Petersburg* (4:28)
• 11. Fatal Weakness (4:43)
• 12. That's What Keeps You Alone (3:17)
• 13. Dish out of Water (3:57)
• 14. The Scale to Hell (3:43)
• 15. Forever, James (2:01)
• 16. The Experience of Love - performed by Eric Serra (5:57)

* not contained in the film

 Notes and Quotes:  

The 1995 Virgin album's insert includes no extra information about the score or film. The 2003 EMI album's insert contains the series' usual standard of information about the score and film.

    Lyrics to "Goldeneye"

    See reflections on the water,
    More than darkness in the depths,
    See him surface in every shadow,
    On the wind I feel his breath,

    GoldenEye, I've found his weakness,
    GoldenEye, he'll do what I please,
    GoldenEye, a time for sweetness,
    But a bitter kiss will bring him to his knees,

    You'll never know how I watched you from the shadows as a child,
    You'll never know how it feels to be the one who's left left behind,
    You'll never know the days, the nights, the tears, the tears I've cried,
    But now my time has come,
    And time, time is not on your side.

    See him move through smoke and mirrors,
    Feel his presence in the crowd,
    Other girls they gather round him,
    If I had him I wouldn't let him out,

    GoldenEye, not lace or leather,
    Golden chains link him to the spot,
    GoldenEye, I'll show him forever,
    It'll take forever to see what I got,

    You'll never know how I watched you from the shadows as a child,
    You'll never how it feels to get so close and be denied,
    Its a golden honeytrap,
    I've got for you tonight,
    Revenge is a kiss,
    This time I won't miss,
    Now I've got you in my sights,

    With a GoldenEye,
    Golden, GoldenEye,
    With a GoldenEye,

  All artwork and sound clips from Goldeneye are Copyright © 1995, Virgin Records, Capitol/EMI. 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 9/24/96 and last updated 9/12/08. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1996-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.