Wednesday, March 10, 2010

CD Odyssey Disc 103: Soundtrack

Another random disc, another soundtrack. This time it was also a 'best of'. A foul chimera indeed!

Disc 103 is...The Best of James Bond (30th Anniversary)
Artist: Various, but definitely Shirley Bassey

Year of Release: 1991, with music from 1962 through 1989.

How I Came To Know It: Like many before me and many after me, I grew up with James Bond - the idealized man in every ten year old's mind. It wasn't a stretch to get a bunch of music that reminded me of all those classic bond films.

How It Stacks Up: Best ofs don't stack up, so on that point - this album is moot. As a soundtrack, I'd put it near the bottom of my 22 (or 23) soundtracks.

Rating: Although this is a soundtrack, it is called "The Best of James Bond". You don't flaunt the words "best of" at me and expect to get a rating. Fie on such notions!

This album is a real collection of schmaltzy Vegas pop. The music swings wildly from glorious over-the-top croon-fests to hokey juvenile crap.

On the croon-fest end, I particularly like Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better", Sheena Easton's "For Your Eyes Only", and Paul McCartney and Wings' "Live & Let Die".

On the juvenile crap side of the ledger you can find such turds as on-hit wonder A-Ha euro-popping to "The Living Daylights" and Matt Monro doing the world's worst Dean Martin on "From Russia With Love."

Perennial Bond crooner Shirley Bassey singlehandedly spans the distance with the awesomely ridiculous "Goldfinger" through the passable "Diamonds are Forever" on the way to the annoyingly obtuse "Moonraker" (the movies was just as bad).

The true crime of this album is not murder, however - it is the inclusion of Duran Duran singing "View To A Kill". Duran Duran is to me the eighties artistic equivalent of Nickelback. I hated Duran Duran in high school, and unlike many other bands I falsely accused then, in this case I am unrepentant. They still suck. I am ashamed that even one of their songs exists in my home.

Still I can't part with it - if for no other reason than this album also reminding me of my eighties crush on Sheena Easton - and I don't ever want to lose that memory. Mmm...Sheena.

This record got me thinking about the age old dilemma of which is the better Bond - Roger Moore or Sean Connery (and their latter day equivalents Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig).

The first Bond movie I ever saw at the theatre was Moonraker when I was nine years old. That was an inauspicious start, but things quickly improved with For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy. Naturally, I was a devoted Roger Moore fan for many years. I think the first way we decide which Bond is usually this method - initial exposure at an impressionable age.

But as I've gotten older, I think I now lean to the Sean Connery/Daniel Craig side of the ledger. I think with a little more life experience, I am more drawn to a morally ambiguous Bond. Let's face it - Moore and Brosnan are just too damned perfectly suave to kill people for a living.

You may be wondering - but what about the third Bond archetype? Surely we can't forget about George Lazenby/Timothy Dalton! Actually, we can. That's because those guys are forgettable middle-grounders. Let us not speak of them further.

Believe it or not, despite a light body of work, I actually favour Daniel Craig these days. He is like Sean Connery but he conveys this simmering anger and threat of violence under his rough charms. I would expect that edge in a man who is essentially a state-sponsored killer, and Craig delivers.

Best tracks: Goldfinger, Nobody Does It Better, For Your Eyes Only, Live & Let Die, Thunderball

1 comment:

Sheila said...

I have a bunch of these songs uploaded already - I really like the ones you've selected.

I was a Roger Moore fan too (Live and Let Die was the first Bond movie I ever saw), but also now prefer the Connery/Craig Bonds.