Billie Eilish’s No Time To Die review: atmospheric and classy – but lacking the punch we need from Bond

It's moody and understated, and it riffs on some classic 007 musical motifs - but unlike Bond, Eilish's Bond theme never really kicks off, says Paul Jones

No Time To Die poster

Billie Eilish’s theme for new Bond film No Time To Die has a lot going for it. It’s easy to imagine shadowy figures darting across the cinema screen as it plays, and a silhouetted woman swinging on a giant gun barrel, legs akimbo (despite the fact that even 007 has moved on a bit since the days of Roger Moore).

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The opening piano is a wickedly clever riff on the main James Bond motif, the sultry vocals are atmospheric and the one-off echoing wah-wah of the horn on the one-minute mark sends a thrill up the spine (for me, it’s the best and most exciting bit of the track – but it’s also the right decision not to repeat it).

Also recognisably Bond is that jagged electric guitar riff, and then, after a bit of a wait, the trademark horns and swirling strings taking us as close to a crescendo as the song ever reaches.

Understated and classy, it marks Eilish and her brother Finneas O’Connell as song writers with real craft – but is it just a bit too understated?

Listen to Billie Eilish’s James Bond theme No Time To Die

Yes, Bond is about melancholic moments – and no doubt this outing, Daniel Craig’s last as an ageing and jaded 007 – will feature plenty of those, but Bond is also about action, excitement and a bit of silliness, about edge-of-the-seat stunts and fights for your life and most of all about the vigorous energy of the main man.

Bond isn’t always subtle but Eilish’s track is consistently so, with no real highs to counter the lows – I mean, there isn’t an orchestra stab in sight! What must Duran Duran think.

Despite a hummable tune and great atmospherics, in the end No Time To Die lacks punch and never quite kicks off. And that’s just not very Bond, is it?

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No Time To Die is released in UK cinemas on 3rd April 2020