Copyright 1998 Southam Inc.
January 8, 1998, Thursday, FINAL EDITION
SECTION: ENTERTAINMENT; Pg. C5
LENGTH: 435 words
HEADLINE: You only hear twice: James Bond music revisited
BYLINE: RICHARD HARRINGTON, THE WASHINGTON POST
Call it a musical variation of the Sean Connery argument: For some, composer John Barry will always be synonymous with James Bond by virtue of having been there at the beginning and having been present during some of 007's finest moments, from the instantly recognizable James Bond Theme and its action counterpart 007, to such bombastic theme songs as Shirley Bassey's Goldfinger and Tom Jones's Thunderball.
By contrast, David Arnold is in the Pierce Brosnan role, a newcomer whose work will inevitably be compared with the past (not all of it Barry's, of course).
Perhaps that's why Arnold's soundtrack for the latest Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies (A&M), is being released simultaneously with a tribute to the past, Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project (Sire).
The soundtrack is serviceable: Arnold, a producer-arranger who broke through last year with the score for Independence Day, is clearly attuned to both orchestral subtleties and techno-ambient textures, which is appropriate to the film's high-tech gloss.
He's better at action settings like The Sinking of the Devonshire and Hamburg Break Out than romantic scenes like The Last Goodbye.
Elsewhere, as on Company Car, where Arnold must necessarily echo Bondian themes, he does so with good humor.
Unfortunately, theme song duty for Tomorrow Never Dies falls to Sheryl Crow, whose title track seems undernourished and a bit sluggish despite its keening chorus.
Moby and k.d. lang fill out the album without conviction.
Shaken and Stirred will probably play better in Britain than North America.
That's because such tracks as David McAlmont's diva-esque rendering of Diamonds Are Forever, Martin Fry's gaudy-glamorous Thunderball and Jarvis Cocker of Pulp's airy, Bowiesque All Time High have a fey grandiosity that seldom plays well here.
Better are Shara Nelson's glossy shimmer on Moonraker and Natacha Atlas's From Russia With Love. Atlas (of Transglobal Underground) provides a mysterious, Eastern-flavor reading of Love.
Aimee Mann's opening for Nobody Does It Better is a spare, harmonium-scored plaint that's quite intriguing until Arnold starts in with the sonic overlays and loses the song's emotional thread.
Chrissie Hynde's Live and Let Die is raucous but hardly enough to make one forget Guns N'Roses' hydraulic cover, while Iggy Pop's world-weary We Have All the Time in the World simply rehashes Louis Armstong's original with postmodern ennui.
As for LTJ Bukem's James Bond Theme, the bass and drum track takes so long to unwind it never does get to the familiar theme.
GRAPHIC: Photo: Pierce Brosnan stars in Tomorrow Never Dies, the latest Bond flick.