What does James Bond sound like in 2020? Judging by “No Time to Die,” Billie Eilish’s new theme song for the 25th Bond film, he’s a little exhausted. And doesn’t that make a strange kind of sense? How does a martini-swilling, womanizing International Man of Mystery come out unscathed by a world that has, essentially, outgrown him? He can’t be a woman — but he can channel his world-weariness through the world’s most weary teen.
“No Time to Die,” which shares a title with the upcoming film, lacks the bombast and brass of many previous Bond themes, but it does capture something essential about the character: a roving secret agent who has no time for love, no time for lies, and certainly no time to die. The track kicks off with sparse, ominous piano, swelling tensely until Eilish’s singular voice comes in: “I should have known/I’d leave alone/Just goes to show/That the blood you bleed is just the blood you own.”
Is this a soundtrack for exploding cars and sharks with lasers on their heads? Hell no. It’s a soundtrack befitting a Bond for our times, played by a worn-out Daniel Craig facing down his fifth and final outing as 007. Bond always gets the girl, but it never ends well. As such, Eilish’s acceptance of a lonely life is really kind of fitting.
The characteristic Bond strings come in on the chorus, as Eilish sings, “I’ve 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.”
It almost sounds as if Eilish is writing the theme for a wholly revamped version of Bond, one in which co-writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge (who also wrote Season One of Killing Eve) was allowed to run wild with the script, replacing Craig with Sandra Oh and all the various Bond girls with Jodie Comer.
Now that sounds like 2020 Bond.
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