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Die Another Day
Album Cover Art
2002 Warner
2004 Bootleg
Album 2 Cover Art
2017 La-La Land
Album 3 Cover Art
Composed, Co-Programmed, and Produced by:

Conducted and Orchestrated by:
Nicholas Dodd

Co-Programmed by:
Rob Playford
Stephen Hilton

Song Performed by:
Labels Icon
Warner Bros. Records
(November 12th, 2002)

2-CD Bootleg

La-La Land Records
(November 24th, 2017)
Availability Icon
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 2017 La-La Land album is limited to 5,000 copies and available initially for $30 through soundtrack specialty outlets.
The song "Die Another Day" was nominated for a Golden Globe.
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you applauded David Arnold's gradual shift of the music in the James Bond franchise towards a harder, scrappier attitude of abrasive techno and electronica style.

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 reconceptualization of its music remains a nightmare for many devoted Bond collectors.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 11/12/02, REVISED 2/23/19
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 nearly 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 within the same vein, 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 revealed 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' dubious "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, heavily processed, 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 choppy 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 processing 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, who was half-finished with his own song for the film, had no kind word for Madonna's song, admitting that it was a stretch to adapt any melodic influence from it into the score. And even though there is an overlap in the primary phrasing of the song's main verse and Arnold's primary theme, 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 rights 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, aside, perhaps, from the display of her impressive biceps in her on-screen fencing cameo in Die Another Day.

If you can manage to survive the song at the start of Die Another Day, 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 such sounds until Quantum of Solace, and the harsh, processed attitude of Die Another Day is alone a killing factor for a significant number of listeners. Arnold seems to have attempted to follow the same inspiration that guided Madonna's song, pointing to the artificially enhanced nature of the villain's body and his impressive science-fiction technology to justify the obvious technological abrasiveness to the music. (Never mind that Bond himself is the same hero, which seems to get lost here.) The famous hovercraft chase scene's music is 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 sequences 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 ploy 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 progressively became higher in pitch through the years, the music became more unpalatable.

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Average: 2.11 Stars
***** 379 5 Stars
**** 409 4 Stars
*** 989 3 Stars
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Mitchell Kyler Martin - January 1, 2016, at 11:43 a.m.
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Newest: February 5, 2017, at 6:07 p.m. by
Actually good!
Andrew - December 4, 2008, at 8:40 p.m.
1 comment  (2168 views)
SolarisLem - June 16, 2007, at 3:32 p.m.
1 comment  (2700 views)
Die Another Day ending credits   Expand >>
Icarus - June 17, 2006, at 11:29 a.m.
2 comments  (5889 views)
Newest: April 22, 2009, at 11:31 p.m. by
Mark Malmstrøm
The Promo Score
Levente Benedek - November 1, 2004, at 7:24 a.m.
1 comment  (3150 views)
DAD Bootleg available!   Expand >>
Bondfan - September 26, 2004, at 10:15 a.m.
2 comments  (5120 views)
Newest: November 16, 2004, at 2:51 p.m. by

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
2002 Warner Album Tracks   ▼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)
2004 Bootleg Tracks   ▼Total Time: 106:14
2017 La-La Land Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 148:05

Notes Icon
The 2002 Warner album's insert contains but no extra information about the film, score, or song. That product has enhanced CD features, including a movie poster gallery from Bond's history and content mostly related to the song. The bootlegs feature a wide range of fan-created art. The insert of the 2018 La-La Land album contains extensive notes about the score and film.
Copyright © 2002-2021, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Die Another Day are Copyright © 2002, 2004, 2017, Warner Bros. Records, 2-CD Bootleg, La-La Land Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 11/12/02 and last updated 2/23/19.
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