I am a sucker for Bond films. The Daniel Craig Era has been particularly dynamic. Even if all his movies have not been classics, Craig is a tremendous 007 and the franchise has adapted to grittier stories. An important part of Bond 25 dropped on February 13: Billie Eilish’s theme song for No Time To Die.
At age 18, Eilish is the youngest singer to record a Bond theme song. Her track “No Time To Die” has the elements of classic Bond themes without being an obvious retread. Like all 007 films, there are references to past work in the franchise, but it is flexible to the artist and her time.
Her delivery is low key when held against her anthemic predecessors: Sam Smith and Adele. Despite this contrast, Eilish succeeds because the track is fueled by reserved passion. This is rare territory for a 007 theme and it is something different for the artist. It represents a breakaway from the electropop of her 2019 full-length debut, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
The vintage horns, orchestral strings, and guitar in “No Time To Die” fall in line with traditional John Barry Bond themes. No artist has incorporated electronic music into a Bond title sequence since Madonna’s “Die Another Day” in 2002. Eilish’s effort is an instant classic because of its stylistic allusions and foreboding lyrics.
Some Bond themes just sound catchy. Others are more in tune with their companion film. The crestfallen nature of the “No Time To Die” lyrics tease the premise of Bond 25. Bond comes back to the save the world (again). Along the way he reunites with a past romance who holds dark secrets.
That I’d fallen for a lie
You were never on my side
Fool me once, fool me twice
Are you death or paradise?
Now you’ll never see me cry
There’s just no time to die
The Bond themes for Daniel Craig’s movies have featured diverse vocal styles. Sam Smith, Chris Cornell, Jack White, and Alicia Keys do not share much in common, but all have left their stamp on each film. Eilish did well on her contribution to the Bond franchise and will be a smash when it hits theaters in April.