He has the cars, the gadgets, designer suits, weaponry, martinis, and a cinematic legacy like few other fictional franchises. His name is Bond, James Bond… a British secret agent sensation that first entered the global consciousness by way of author Ian Fleming’s 1953 novel, Casino Royale. James Bond has remained a pop-cultural juggernaut ever since, sky-diving and somersaulting his way into numerous books, movies, comics, radio programs, and video games. Over the years Bond has developed a number of iconic tropes and signature moves, one of which being a film’s opening song. Despite his filmography spanning a number of directors, writers, leading actors, and audience generations; the James Bond opening title sequence has seemingly always prevailed and only grown in scale. Where a simple title card would suffice for other films, Bond always prefers to show up in style. Dreamy opening digital effects and imagery are a modern necessity for James Bond, setting the tone for the film not just visually but musically as well.
A number of renowned artists have written original music for the films’ opening titles, including Shirley Bassey, Paul McCartney, U2, Madonna, Adele, and most recently Sam Smith for 2015’s Spectre. Sam Smith’s “Writing’s on the Wall” would go on to win the singer-songwriter his first Oscar award for Best Original Song, a feat that was also accomplished by Adele for her 2013 Bond hit, “Skyfall.” It’s becoming clear that it’s not only the Academy that appreciates a solid Bong song, as “Writing’s on the Wall” climbed all the way to the top of the UK charts — a first for any James Bond piece.
And while it’s unknown when we’ll see the MI6 superstar grace the big screen again or who will portray him, one thing’s for certain: he’s going to need one hell of a musical number to announce his arrival. Here’s 007 suggestions for who should have the honor…
001) LANA DEL REY
We’ll start off with perhaps the most obvious selection, only because many were convinced that Lana Del Rey would actually be the one to sing on Spectre. Her sultry lounge-esque “24” seems tailor-made for the man with the license to kill, and the folks at Eon Productions were allegedly considering the singer before apparently deciding on Sam Smith instead. Del Rey has stated herself that she’d be open to collaborating with the franchise, whether it be lending one of her songs out or composing something original altogether; she just simply hasn’t been contacted yet. Hollywood could have had coincidental gold on their hands (and in their ears) considering that Spectre also happens to be the 24th James Bond film. Is “25” too much to ask for?
002) ARIANA GRANDE
Twenty two year old superstar Ariana Grande may not seem like an immediately obvious choice for a James Bond theme. However, one listen to one of her most recently released singles — “Dangerous Woman” will make it perfectly clear that she has what it takes. The song almost approaches big band/swing-esque territory and despite a more upbeat tempo than a typical Bond theme, proves that the artist could very comfortably work in that world. Any woman in a Bond film is automatically dangerous by association, no?
003) KALI UCHIS
Despite being one of the lesser known artists on this list, Colombian singer-songwriter Kali Uchis possesses all of the extraordinary talent required to create an interesting Bond song. Kali was introduced to a whole new world of ears last year after singing on Tyler, the Creator‘s “Perfect” and we’ve been obsessed ever since. The above track, “Loner”, is a neon-laced lounge jam that feels appropriate with the theme of isolation present in Bond films since Daniel Craig’s arrival to the franchise in 2006. Kali Uchis deserves all the exposure that she gets and we think a Bond song would put her over the top.
004) THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
The Neighbourhood (or NBHD as they’re often abbreviated) have been crafting a unique LA-sound ever since 2012’s debut EP I’m Sorry…; comprised of elements of indie rock, hip-hop, electronic, jazz, and a distinct appreciation for professional wrestling. They’re an incredibly unique band with a diverse discography that refuses to be put in a box. “Lurk”, a track off of their 2014 mixtape #000000 & #FFFFFF takes things to a brooding, methodical location that we wouldn’t mind seeing explored through the lens of the modern, vunerable James Bond. It wouldn’t be the band’s first time teaming up with a feature film, having contributed original track “Honest” to 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 soundtrack.
005: TRENT REZNOR / HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS
Trent Reznor is most commonly known as the mastermind behind industrial rock behemoth Nine Inch Nails, but the singer-songwriter has actually contributed to a number of other projects, one of which being How to Destroy Angels: a spacey collaboration with Reznor’s wife Mariqueen Maandig, Atticus Ross, and Alessandro Cortini. While the above track may be a little more subdued than other suggestions on this list, we think Reznor could bring the iconic James Bond sound into an entirely new realm of experimentation. It doesn’t hurt that Reznor and Atticus Ross have completely scored several films: The Social Network, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011), and Gone Girl. Social Network earned the pair both that year’s Golden Globe and Academy Award for Original Score, while Dragon Tattoo won them the Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. It doesn’t get more qualified than this.
006: FKA TWIGS
FKA Twigs is a jack of all trades — the singer/songwriter/dancer/producer has been getting a ton of well-earned recognition lately for her unique sound and a collaboration with a major film franchise like Bond would only increase that. Twigs was allegedly recommended by Adele herself after finishing “Skyfall”, but unfortunately hasn’t been brought into the fold just yet. We can only hope she’s still on the shortlist by the time the cameras start rolling again as FKA Twigs would be a perfect accomplice for Bond’s lavish opening visuals.
007: KANYE WEST
Few modern mainsteam artists are as versatile or polarizing as Kanye West. While ‘Ye may not be the first artist that springs to mind when compared to former Bond themes, his constant experimentation and innovation makes him relevant in many musical conversations. We couldn’t resist including his 2005 Grammy winner “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” considering the track’s heavy of sampling of Shirley Bassey‘s 1971 Bond theme “Diamonds Are Forever.” Imagine Kanye’s unparalleled production paired up with the vocal finesse of Beyonce or Rihanna in the form of a James Bond theme. ‘Ye has also gone on record supporting British actor Idris Elba for the next Bond once Daniel Craig retires the mantle. Bring it all together and we could have something truly remarkable on our hands.
So what do you think? Do any of our 007 suggestions appeal to you? Is there an even better option that we didn’t consider? Let us know what you think in the comments below!