It doesn’t matter how good David Arnold is, the inescapable fact is that he will always be compared to John Barry, which is probably more than a little unfair.
Personally I loved the soundtrack for Casino Royale, the rich string arrangements matching the timeless look of the cinematography with inclusion of the tune from You Know My Name and Vesper’s theme among the highlights. I was therefore looking forward to hearing how David Arnold would develop the Quantum of Solace soundtrack.
The film itself has taken a good deal of criticism from fans and critics – while notching up an impressive box office score – with the direction and editing of the action scenes attracting particular scorn; rightly so in my opinion.
While the Aston Martin opener doesn’t really work due to this, I love the scene of the lake that leads into it before throwing you in at the deep end with the action. Time To Get Out leads in quietly and then whacks it up a notch to really get the adrenaline pumping as do the other action related tracks that come after.
Two interesting tracks that last just over a minute between them are Inside Man and Bond in Haiti, the former of which has quite an interesting retro feel to it, while the latter features an arrangement of the James Bond that sounds like it’s played on a sitar – more India that Caribbean really – but the influence of the Andes is felt in later tracks with the subtle use of pan pipes and guitar.
Another two interesting tracks are No Interest In Dominic Green, which takes a little time to get going, but midway has the same kind of retro sound as Inside Man, followed by the shimmering sound of Night At The Opera – one of the best tracks and clearly inspired by John Barry – also echoed in the closing bars of Have You Ever Killed Someone?
While Quantum of Solace doesn’t have the sweeping strings of Daniel Craig’s Bond debut, Casino Royale does at least make a welcome reappearance in Talamone, What’s Keeping You Awake and Forgive Yourself with hints of You Know My Name and Vesper’s Theme.
All in all I don’t think it is as good as Casino Royale, this soundtrack does match the look and feel of Quantum of Solace well, although it’s a shame that they didn’t include the James Bond theme – I’d rather have had that than the atrocious Another Way To Die – easily the worst Bond theme ever.
I downloaded the Quantum of Solace Soundtrack from Play.com in high quality 320kbps MP3 format rather than iTunes as I prefer the flexibility of MP3 over AAC. Annoyingly the tracks didn’t download in the correct order, and so I had to rename them by hand , adding the track number of each to the beginning of each file name to get the album to play correctly – Amazon.co.uk has launched it’s MP3 store today and perhaps they are better, although I notice they offer it at a lower bitrate.