Sam Smith‘s “Writing’s on the Wall,” the theme song for the upcoming James Bond film Spectre, has finally arrived. Smith and Jimmy Napes — the same songwriting team who scooped up the Grammy Award for Song of the Year with “Stay With Me” — released the 24th official Bond theme early Friday morning.
The sumptuous ballad acts more as a showcase for Smith’s gorgeous falsetto than orchestral soar of past theme songs. “If I risk it all/Could you break my heart?/How do I live?/How do I breathe?/When you’re not here, I’m suffocating,” Smith sings.
Smith delivers a grand accomplishment by entertaining the romantic danger of the Bond character while staying true to his hallmark simplicity and elegance. His subtle orchestral cheer team is present, but augments his typical heartbroken persona with a confidence rising up to the level of the iconic secret agent.
“I have been dreaming of this moment for a long, long time,” Smith tweeted after releasing the track. UK dance duo Disclosure tweeted their support earlier this month by announcing their official production credit on the track. In anticipation of the song’s global release, Smith wrote on Instagram earlier this week that he was “very scared, very nervous, very excited.”
“I tried to put myself in the shoes of Bond,” Smith told NPR of the track. “My music is a diary and it’s a recap of my life, and I wanted to bring that kind of honesty. In the lyrics … I wanted a touch of vulnerability from Bond, where you see into his heart a little bit.” The singer and Napes wrote the song in less than 30 minutes, according to NPR, and ended up using Smith’s vocal demo on the final track.
Rumors started bubbling earlier this summer about possible vocalists for the Spectre theme. Smith told fans in July that he was in the dark about plans for recording a new installment for the legendary series. The singer originally suggested fellow Brit Ellie Goulding for the coveted spot.
But earlier this month, Smith tweeted a black-and-white photo of his hand wearing a ring with the Spectre symbol; a similar ring had appeared in the film’s trailer, fueling massive speculation. Hours later, Smith confirmed the news, calling the song “one of the highlights of my career.
“I am so excited to be a part of this iconic British legacy and join an incredible lineup of some of my biggest musical inspirations,” the singer tweeted. “I hope you all enjoy the song as much as I enjoyed making it.”
Fellow Brit Adele cleaned up during awards season in 2012 for the last Bond theme “Skyfall,” leaving high expectations for the In the Lonely Hour singer. Numerous British singers have been chosen to sing the theme since 1962’s Dr. No, but Smith’s contribution will mark only the third male voice from across the pond to set the mood for the international man of mystery. Smith is the first male British solo act to perform a Bond theme since Tom Jones performed “Thunderball” in 1965 for the movie of the same name.
After select screenings next month, Spectre is set for release worldwide on November 6th.