The James Bond franchise has always been greater than the sum of its films. No Bond film is perfect, most don’t even come close, but the picture franchise has always been a beacon of cool. We’ve got a good-looking, martini (and now Heineken) drinking, well-dressed super spy. He’s bedded more women than Dr. J and killed more bad guys than bad-guy cancer.
The movies haven’t always been great: The World Is Not Enough for example, (Christmas Jones, I’m looking at you). However, they’ve always done one thing right, each picture has kept the super classy opening credits scene, with an awesome Bond Theme (except the first two, kind of, you’ll see). Even though sprawling credit sequences have long since gone out of vogue, we can always count of a silhouette of our favorite spy to kill ladies and villians in different ways for a couple minutes before the movie begins. We can always count on a song from one of today’s most popular artist to accompany this extended commercial for the movie we’re all about to watch. Just like the films themselves, some of these songs are better than others.
There have been countless countdowns of best 007 music over the franchise’s 50-year history, but each seems to judge the Bond songs on their own merits. That’s a subjective game that I have no intention of playing. This list is about the songs that function the best as a James Bond theme, not just as an enjoyable piece of music. They must fit within the James Bond aesthetic.
The Element Of Danger: This can come across in the music or the lyrics. Lots of imagery of shooting, running or our big, bad villain.
The Ladies: What would Bond be without his Bond Girl? Ladies love him and he loves the ladies, but never long enough to get attached. (Who are we kidding? This is primarily the sex category.)
The Cool Factor: Bond is nothing if not cool and classy. The song must reflect that.
So with that, let’s get to the five best and five worst James Bond songs.
This article was first posted on November 8, 2012