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Comments about the soundtrack for Die Another Day (David Arnold)

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Really surprised at negative reaction
• Posted by: Mike Smith
• Date: Thursday, November 14, 2002, at 11:26 a.m.
• IP Address:

I'll admit right now that the score - as we have here on the album - is probably the weakest of Arnold's Bond work. That said, it is by no means bad and I'm at a loss to explain the negative reaction I see here at Filmtracks. The reviewer is clearly no fan of Arnold's Bond (save for TND) considering the score given to TWINE. I would imagine that the heavy electronics put him off right from the start, negating any futher objective analysis. The themes for the Icarus and Jinx are phenominal and are in many ways more reminiscent of Barry's work than what we got in TND. The way they're employed in the action cues is amazing, and the mix between Jinx' theme and the TWINE pre-ski chase music in Going Down Together ranks among the best romantic songs in any Bond film. If it rips off YOLT (in tone only, really), consider yourselves lucky.

The reviwer doesn't seem to realize that the reason some of the orchestrals sound bizarre is that they're being played backwards; an ingenious technique that creates a feeling of uneasy dissonance. It will be interesting to see the film's accompanying visuals.

I'll concede that there's one cue on the album that is ruined by Arnold's use of electronics; the vaunted Iced inc. Amazing little orchestral parts - the real heart of the song - are completely covered by Arnold's samples. The problem doesn't exist for the Hovercraft Chase and Whiteout, so you have to believe that it's intentional in this case. If so, I would say Arnold made the wrong choice. It's a real damn shame, too, since all he needed to do was turn down the volume. Otherwise, the electronics provide an unrelenting drive to the action cues that infuses them with an almost tangible kinetic energy. And, yes, this may date the work, and that's a problem if that's what you feel. Make no mistake about it, though; Barry's work is just as dated as Hamlisch's. The only difference is that the 60's remain cool (who doesn't want to hear the big, bold brass?) while the 70's never really were.

The reviewer (and anyone else in their right mind) is spot-on in his assessment of Madonna's song, of course. It's a piece of garbage and I feel bad that Kleinman had to work with it for months on end. He's the real victim. Too bad Arnold wasn't allowed to go back to Shirley Bassey for the 40th anniversary, but here's hoping more people buy Arnold's album because of the damn song.

And when you're in such mean spirits that you can't enjoy the Cuban track, well... it's tough to take the review very seriously. And what is meant by "out of context"? I seriously doubt that the reviewer has seen the film, thus enabling him to place the song in its proper context.

When all is said and done, of course, we still have 60 more minutes of music to hear in the film and it's best to hold judgement until then. Praying for a second volume might also be a good idea, too.

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rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. Scoreboard created 7/24/98 and last updated 4/25/15.