After the warm reception for his soundtrack to Tomorrow Never Dies, the producers had a relatively simple choice when deciding who to select to score the next instalment in the 007 series. So, in September 1998, David Arnold became the first person to be invited to score a second Bond film since John Barry when he was invited by Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli to compose the music for Bond 19.
Arnold immediately turned to legendary lyricist Don Black with who he had collaborated on the track Surrender, originally slated to be the theme song for Tomorrow Never Dies. Over the winter of 1998, the duo came up with the title track The World Is Not Enough (based on the Bond family motto ‘orbis non sufficit’), a haunting ballad in a very traditional Bond style.
The World Is Not Enough (1999)
1. The World Is Not Enough
2. Show Me The Money
3. Come in 007, Your Time Is Up
4. Access Denied
5. M’s Confession
6. Welcome To Baku
8. Ice Bandits
9. Elektra’s Theme
10. Body Double
11. Going Down/The Bunker
13. Remember Pleasure
14. Caviar Factory
15. Torture Queen
16. I Never Miss
18. Christmas in Turkey
19. Only Myself To Blame
In contrast to recent Bond films where the title track had often been written by the artists in isolation – think Duran Duran, a-Ha, Bono and the Edge’s Goldeneye and Sheryl Crow – director of The World Is Not Enough, Michael Apted, was keen for the theme to be written as early as possible in order that it could be used throughout the film.
Apted said: “I was insistent that we got a rough draft of the song out soon enough so that it could be incorporated into the score. I remembered how effective that was in The Spy Who Loved Me; they were able to use the song, Nobody Does It Better, as a love theme throughout the film.”
This was a key departure from recent 007 films and helped Arnold compose a score which incorporated both his own title theme as well as liberal use of Monty Norman’s original James Bond theme. Arnold also created his own love theme for Sophie Marceau’s character Elektra King, meaning there were three very distinct threads to the soundtrack.
When deciding who to approach to record the title track, Arnold was careful to find an artist who was right for the song that he and Black had written. The composer said: “It’s as important as casting the characters, I think; getting the right voice and the right attitude for the song.”
Having met with Shirley Manson, the vocalist for the popular contemporary band Garbage in January 1999, Arnold offered the band the chance to record The World Is Not Enough a week later. His rationale was simple: “I’ve always thought this title song is from Elektra’s point of view and it should be like a steel fist in a velvet glove. […] Shirley is the only person I can think of in the world of contemporary music who is the musical equivalent of Elektra.”
Garbage recorded the song in the summer of 1999 and it was released around the world later that year. It reached number eleven in the UK singles charts as well as the top ten in Italy, Finland and Norway.
For the remainder of the score, Arnold made a conscious decision to use a more electronic, contemporary sound, particularly for the chase sequences. The superb Come In 007, Your Time Is Up underscores the iconic River Thames boat chase sequence while Ice Bandits and Going Down/The Bunker are both classic 007 action sequences.
With The World Is Not Enough, Arnold really enjoyed the chance to create a varied, eclectic selection of songs. Jazz-tinged lounge music, a new theme as a backdrop to the Azerbaijani pipeline scenes (Welcome to Baku) and some tremendous dramatic orchestral pieces contribute brilliantly to one of the best 007 films of recent years.
A quirky anomaly on The World Is Not Enough is the final song. Only Myself To Blame was written by Arnold and Don Black and, sung by the legendary Scott Walker, was originally intended to be played over the closing credits of the film. However, it was eventually replaced by a remix of the James Bond Theme, ending a tradition of ending a 007 movie with a new song or a reprise of the opening theme. The low-key song remains on the soundtrack, however.
The decision to allow Arnold free rein to write the theme song and film score clearly works to The World Is Not Enough’s advantage. From the inclusion of the lyric ‘there’s no point in living if you can’t feel alive’ – an important line from the film – to the score using excerpts from the title song means that the whole soundtrack is much more coherent than some other recent efforts. Allmusic calls it ‘the best Bond soundtrack in a long time’ and there’s no arguing with that.
More on James Bond soundtracks
Free monthly newsletter
Get the latest on Bond 26 and other James Bond news by email.
No thanks, I'm not interested in news about 007
July 7th, 2011 at 01:42
This was the last instance in a 40 year history of the Instant Classic Bond theme tune. With the following film Madonna would single-handedly destroy that tradition with the travesty that was “Die Another Day”.
Not as memorable as your average Barry score but it works well enough otherwise.