“No Time To Die”: Who Should Sing Bond’s 25th Theme Song?

James Bond themes are iconic. And with No Time To Die‘s release just around the corner, and Bond themes traditionally being announced and dropped a few months before the film’s release, it’s time to talk about possible theme songs. From Henry Mancini to Shirley Bassey to Adele, theme songs are an indelible part of what makes any particular Bond film work.

And while there are good Bond films with bad theme songs (Ahhem… The Man With the Golden Gun) and also lesser films with iconic songs (Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill” for example), the best Bond perfectly melds theme song and movie material. Goldfinger and Skyfall remain top of the heap for this specific reason.

So with recent Bond films having theme songs that have been both amazing (the aforementioned Adele and Chris Cornell) and underwhelming (looking at you, Jack White and Alecia Keys), the real question is who is going to sing the next one?

Whoever it is will have some big shoes to fill, as Sam Smith’s “The Writing’s On the Wall” was the first Bond them to ever hit #1 on the UK Singles chart and is the second song in a row to win the Oscar for Best Song (after Adele’s “Skyfall”).  While I personally found the song a bit boring and lackluster, apparently lots of people liked it.

But that brings us to No Time To Die, the highly anticipated and 25th official Bond film. (There have been other, ahhem. . .  unofficial Bond films. We don’t talk about those.) Bond films recently seem to have a knack for picking up artists right on their way up as they near some creative peaks. So, given that, and what we might want to hear in a new theme song, we polled Bleeding Cool staff to see what ideas we had. Here are some of them:

Lizzo

She just won Time’s Entertainer of the Year for 2019 and with good reason. “Juice” was inescapable as one of the top songs of the summer and Lizzo has been making crossover success with a cameo in this year’s Hustlers.

She has a powerful and distinctive voice that puts her alongside the top crooners of Bond themes like Bassey, like Tina Turner. And her style, blending hip hop with pop, funk, synth, and r&b would be a great mix to update the (sometimes stale, almost always uber serious) style of Bond.

Adele, Redux

If anyone deserves another chance to make another Bond theme song, it’s Adele. This would follow the tradition of Dame Shirley Bassey getting multiple bites at the apple. And, like Bassey, as a British woman, likely has a greater connection to the source material and inspiration for the Bond franchise.

Let’s also be super clear: “Skyfall” the song slaps. Hard.

No other modern Bond theme is able to actually correctly portray the tone of the film both sonically and lyrically the way this does. This is an easy choice and they should try to capture the lightning in a bottle again. Also, it’s been a while since we heard from Adele and I need more of her music in my life. With a rumored new album coming (any time now?) it would be a major coup to announce a theme to No Time to Die as a lead-in single to her latest. It would also put a nice bookend on the Daniel Craig era, following up “Skyfall” with a (hopefully) equally as epic song.

Metallica

In a “I’m not sure if he’s serious or not” submission, Jeremy offers up the perfect Bond theme, because it’s already been written:

The new Bond theme should be a re-release of “I Disappear” by Metallica, the theme from Mission: Impossible 2, for these reasons:
A) Because it kicks ass
B) Because nobody remembers it
C) It would be hilarious
D) Mission: Impossible is better than Bond.

Also–plot twist!– Daniel Craig turns and shoots at the screen in the remade music video, exclusively on Spotify, so when you play the song it, annoyingly, cannot be closed.

I’m not sold, as, A) No, it doesn’t. B) I do. C) Your sense of humor is strange to me. D) Whoa, easy there, tiger.

This would be the ultimate troll other than, I don’t know, getting Justin Bieber to do it. It’s a quintessentially terrible butt rock song indicative of circa 2000 Limp Bizkit/Creed/Nickelback sensibilities. (Yes, I know Limp Bizkit also did the theme song to MI:2, hence why Mission: Impossible is NOT necessarily better than Bond. But, Mission Impossible: Fallout, tho. That was pretty amazing.)

Metallica, yes. Bring it on. Bond could use some good hard rock vibes. (Remember when Guns ‘n’ Roses did a cover of “Live and Let Die”? Like that.) But not this song.

Billie Eilish

“Duh.”

This is probably the biggest no-brainer of the bunch (besides maybe Adele) because Eilish is so hot right now. Her blend of synth, pop, and beats would potentially really work for a dark, brooding Bond theme that would certainly fit a title like No Time to Die.

At only 18, she’d also be the youngest to ever do a Bond theme, which would be a feat in itself, especially for a franchise who has often veered towards singers either well in or past their prime hitmaking days (Paul McCartney, Chris Cornell, Louis Armstrong). But she best fits the mold of where Bond themes usually find their artists: people hitting breakout success who then catapult to an even higher peak later.

Ed Sheeran

The “Shape of You” singer was just named the UK Artist of the Decade, and amid his career highs this would certainly be a giant feather in his cap. Sheeran is also no stranger to the screen, appearing this year (as himself) in this year’s Yesterday as well as Bridget Jones’s Baby and in a cameo on Game of Thrones, although it’s worth pointing out that all of those performances are sort of terrible.

However, Sheeran is unstoppable when it comes to actual music, and his popularity especially in his native Britain makes him almost as iconic as 007 himself. And while Sheeran is known for his soulful ballads, the broody darkness of “The Shape of You” shows he can do something that might tonally work for a Bond film.

Janelle Monáe

This is both out of left field and also one of the most logical choices, as Monáe’s music effortlessly blends and crosses genres, with the ability to blend hip hop delivery with soulful hooks.

Of all of these artists, except possibly Adele, Monáe is the most talented artist here and Bond would be lucky to get her. Also, I’d just be curious what a Janelle Monáe Bond theme sounds like? Imagine her singing “No Time To Die.” Satiate my curiosity, please, universe. Also? Tessa Thompson for the next Bond. KTHXBYE.

These are just some of our thoughts about who should do the next Bond theme. What are yours? We should be finding out in the coming weeks, so let’s hope it’s someone at least as good as any of these suggestions.

About Andy Wilson

A mild mannered digital strategist working for an environmental nonprofit in Austin, TX roaming the interwebs fighting his nemeses President Luthor and the Roxxon Corporation by day, and by night consuming all manner of media. You can find him either on his couch or at the nearest Alamo Drafthouse catching the latest. Don't follow him on Twitter @CitizenAndy.

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