A recently Channel 4 documentary charted the history of the Bond Movie themes and drew some interesting conclusions: The most successful Bond songs were always the one that tried to do something a little different with the formula. And it is mostly true - Live and Let Die is certainly the only post-Beatles Paul McCartney track that it's socially acceptable to like.
Whilst the Bond theme cannon has given us some classics, there's also been a lot of dross. But any new Bond theme can only improve on giving Madonna a wheelbarrow full of cash to sing some turgid dance tat as she did with 007's last outing.
Step forward Soundgarden/Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell to sing the theme for the new movie, Casino Royale. It's a harder edged Bond theme, which benefits immeasurably from being co-written with David Arnold, who also scored the movie. Given its grunge roots it's not surprising that this is the heaviest entry into the series since Alice Cooper's attempt at The Man With The Golden Gun m(sadly rejected in favour of Lulu- I ask you!)
Whilst it doesn't necessarily grab you straight away it certainly works as an effective theme for the movie, but as a track itself it doesn't really transcend "grower" status. Ultimately these songs were never meant to be released as pop singles. Usually they are the musical accompaniment for silhouetted maidens gyrating against the swirly backdrop of the title sequence. The new movie throws that notion out of the window and Daniel Kleinman's excellent titles reflect the new, grittier image of the franchise - namely animatics of men beating the living daylights out of each other. (sorry about the pun) It makes sense that musical flamboyance has been jettisoned, and whilst some of us long for the days of Shirley Bassey's bombastic vocals, Cornell acquits himself admirably.
It's cheesy I know, but this has been constantly on my MP3 all week. Whilst it leaves you only stirred, not shaken, when I listen to it, for one brief moment I AM JAMES BOND. At the end of the day that's all you can ask- Woe betide anyone who messes with me while this is on!