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

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Re: Don't believe everything you read folks....
• Posted by: Jeremy
• Date: Friday, November 15, 2002, at 11:46 p.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: Don't believe everything you read folks.... (Brendan Anderson)

I can understand the reviewer's response to Die Another Day as an album experience. The Madonna song is everything bad that he says it is and even worse. As for Arnold's score, as it is represented on the album, it is lacking any sort of coherence or musical identity--save as the most over-produced techno noise masquerading as music that has ever been foisted upon a Bond Movie. Even given that, Die Another Day is far from the worst score produced for a Bond film.

I've read many criticisms here and at other film music forums that claim the score has no strong theme or that it is "uninspired," but in truth there are several excellent themes and motifs apparent in the music on the album. In fact, they represent the most Barry-like music Arnold has yet written. And let's not go gaga over Tomorrow Never Dies, which for the most part displays a composer far too eager to "do" Barry without having achieved the maturity that is so manifest in Barry's music.
TWINE was really Arnold doing Jerry Goldsmith doing John Barry, with some techno elements, though for the most part I enjoyed it. With Die Another Day he seems to have finally "gotten" Barry, then took such a wild turn off course with the techno nonsense going on on top of the orchestral passages that its easy to miss the cool Barry sound buried underneath. And, unfortunately the cool new themes never really seem to go anywhere. The fault there might lie in the brevity of the score's run time on the album, or it might actually be in the music itself. The individual cues don't seem to develop very well, but there are some moments where it does sound as if something is trying to happen musically. Thus, I have high hopes that the score will function well in the film despite the reservations I have for the album.

Maybe next time out Arnold will say, "been there, done that," with the techno and go back to the more fully orchestral palette of TND, but with the maturity he's gained since then as a musical dramatist. That, I think, would make a terrific Bond score.

> Die Another Day is another installment of Arnold's excellence in the Bond
> genre. The combination of electronic and orchestral elements produces a
> truly thrilling effect and makes all those great old John Barry motifs and
> bass lines fresh and exciting again. The Bond theme gets plenty of times
> to run free and spice up the action, and the choral and cuban elements of
> the score are icing on the cake.

> The slow romantic parts of the score are the best Arnold has ever
> composed, with soaring strings and intricate melodies perfectly scoring
> the traditional bond-girl character: beautiful, interesting, and
> delightfully unpredictable.

> If you like John Barry or David Arnold or good Bond music period, you'll
> like this score.

> It is indeed unfortunate that the extra CD-ROM content had to be so
> obnoxious, but if you can see past that (and the crappy Madonna song),
> then you'll be looking a great film score.

> -Brendan

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