When it was announced that Billie Eilish had been selected to write and perform the title track for the forthcoming Bond film, No Time To Die, it felt like a strong hint that the genre would be getting a bassy, banging update. Surely the Grammy-winning transgressive pop-star would be jazzing up the canon and swapping the stale emo ballads for something with a quicker heartbeat?
But this morning, with the arrival of her track which shares the same title as the film, it appears Eilish has kept things more classic. 'No Time To Die' has an eerie slowness to it, the sort of thing you can imagine playing in the scenes we've seen of Bond floating underwater.
There's no thudding bass, or moment where the track warps into something more pacy, though there is a crescendo of strings which swells cinematically before bursting into a flurry – a Hans Zimmer touch from the man himself who is working on the film's score. Eilish's vocals are front and centre, breathy and eerie especially in the lullaby-esque ending to the track.
The past two Bond tracks belonged to British artists with voices suited to sad, crooning power ballads: Adele's languid 'Skyfall', and Sam Smith's warbling 'The Writing on the Wall', both of which feel a world away from the digitally warped, radioactive-pop sound of Eilish's trademark.
But Eilish's 'No Time To Die' is her on restrained and respectful form, a song which feels reminiscent of 'When I'm Older', her track inspired by 2018 film Roma, which has a similarly haunting and slow sound. It opens with an eerie piano refrain, which her voice – synthetically edited with a vocoder to give it a haunting sound – floats over. The bass comes in gradually rather than hitting us at force.
The lyrics, which hint at a despairing time for Bond, refer to "falling for a lie" and a break down of trust, likely the romantic betrayal discussed in the film's trailer. Written by Eilish's brother Finneas, the lyrics are less pithy than the tracks on When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, though there is some of the signature darkness with lines such as, "That the blood you bleed is just the blood you owe".
There's a feeling of sorrow hovering around 'No Time To Die', a sense of sadness at how the world has changed for 007. It's perhaps a hint that the film will be tinged with sadness at saying farewell to Daniel Craig, rather than him going out with a bang.
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