Artist: Thomas Newman
Genre: Film Soundtrack
Year: 2012
Record Label: Sony Classics

88765410402 (2012). Original soundtrack recording from the 2012 James Bond film SKYFALL. Music composed by Thomas Newman. Stereo. Album running time: 77:55

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Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film from EON Productions, opens with Bond (Daniel Craig) and his assistant, Eve, pursuing through Istanbul a mercenary, known as Patrice, who has stolen a list of every NATO agent embedded in terrorist cells around the world. During the pursuit, Bond is wounded and falls from a moving locomotive into a river. He is presumed dead, and his obituary written by M (Dame Judi Dench), who is officially blamed for the debacle and subsequently pressured to retire "voluntarily" by Intelligence and Security Committee Chairman Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes). Shortly afterward, MI6's computer system is hacked and an explosion destroys M's office — which she witnesses from a distance. As a result, Bond, who has gone underground in Turkey — enjoying his "death," as it were — decides to rejoin MI6 to take up the hunt for the missing list and determine who is behind the attack. His search leads him to Shanghai, where he again encounters Patrice, who is killed in a fight before he can reveal who employed him to steal the list. Bond discovers in Patrice's belongings a poker chip, intended as payment for his work, for a casino in Macau. There, Bond discovers that the mastermind of the attack on MI6 is a former British Secret Service agent named Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem). Silva reveals that he intends to use his sophisticated computer knowledge to destroy MI6 and personally bring down M, whom he blames for having abandoned him to presumed death on a mission. MI6's quartermaster — the new Q (Ben Whishaw) — has provided Bond with a radio tracking device, and a sizable force descends on Silva, takes him into custody, and returns him to London.
     However, Silva has orchestrated his own capture in order to get into the heart of MI6. His computer system brings down MI6's defenses, and he escapes. During the court of enquiry for M, Silva once again attacks, nearly succeeding in murdering M. To protect her, Bond takes her to Scotland, to his childhood home — an ancient estate known as Skyfall. Q sets up a trail of "electronic breadcrumbs" to lead Silva there. With the aid of his family's old groundskeeper, Kincade (Albert Finney), Bond turns Skyfall into a fortress against Silva, who soon deciphers the clues that lead him to his quarry.
     After a fierce battle, Bond manages to kill Silva and most of his men, but M has been mortally wounded, and she dies in Bond's arms. Back in London, Gareth Mallory is made the new M; Eve — whose last name is revealed as Moneypenny — takes on her role as his secretary; and Bond reports for active duty, "with pleasure."

Damned Rodan's Album Review

Rating (out of 5):

Like the soundtrack album to Casino Royale, the Skyfall album — much to its detriment — does not include the film's title theme, this time written by Adele and Paul Epworth and performed by Adele. To obtain a relatively complete soundtrack, one must separately purchase the title song, a fact I find singularly annoying. It's hardly a significant financial concern, of course, but there's a distinct and irritating sense of incompleteness about a soundtrack album that doesn't even include its main theme. The song by Adele works beautifully for the film. It incorporates traditional Bond motifs quite comfortably, and though it's not as dramatic as Chris Cornell's opener for Casino Royale, its lyrics tell a portion of the film's story in a subtle and agreeable manner. The song is infinitely better than that vile piece of crap by Jack White and Alicia Keys from Quantum of Solace.

On the whole, Newman's score isn't much different than a standard David Arnold Bond score, meaning that it's technically competent, generally atmospheric, occasionally superlative, but rarely distinctive. Newman's orchestra seems to have virtually the same composition as David Arnold's in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, with lots of blaring brass and pounding percussion. The tracks together offer a somewhat disappointing sense of sameness, with a steady, driving pace that only occasionally takes a breather and virtually never develops into anything to make one really stand up and take notice. The opening track, "Grand Bazaar, Istanbul," sets the pace and, much like many of Arnold's compositions, borrows the general tone of John Barry's Bond scores without capturing or creating a unique essence. For example, when I'm listening to Barry's score for Diamonds Are Forever, I can tell you immediately whether I'm listening to "Bond Smells a Rat," "Bond Meets Bambi and Thumper," or "Moon Buggy Chase," and that hardly required repeated listenings to do so. With Skyfall, after quite a few listenings, I still couldn't tell you whether that's "Health and Safety," "Granborough Road," "Jellyfish," or "The Bloody Shot" playing at the moment. Like most modern film scoring, individual themes are few and far between, with lots of heavy percussion and long notes building to crescendos that might be from virtually any action-adventure movie. It doesn't help that the tracks on this album are ordered about as haphazardly as they possibly could be; had they followed their actual sequence in the movie, the soundtrack might have achieved a bit more sense of coherence. Maybe. Possibly. But then again....

There are, at least, a few notable pieces in Skyfall. My favorite is probably "Close Shave," played when Eve takes it upon herself to shave Bond using a straight razor. Of the softer, more lyrical pieces on the album, this one comes closest to actually building any kind of musical identity. "Enjoying Death," with its swirling flutes and muted chimes, weaves a dark and almost wistful atmosphere, though it's too brief to offer any deep enjoyment. "Skyfall," with lots of low, mellow brass and a touch of choral backing, makes for a satisfying aural complement to our arrival at the Bond's ancestral home; this theme is reprised in "Deep Water." And finally, within the course of the film, we get to hear the full James Bond theme, in the piece called "Breadcrumbs," which, to now in the Daniel Craig entries, we really haven't.

Newman's Skyfall score works reasonably well in conjunction with the onscreen action, but as a standalone experience, it isn't particularly memorable. It would work even better onscreen if Newman had taken some cues from any number of "older style" film composers — Ennio Morricone, perhaps? — who could build an identity for a film with just a few notes and some creative orchestrations. I'll give it enough credit to put it several notches above the worst Bond scores — such as Licence to Kill and The Spy Who Loved Me.

10/05/14 15:30

Film Credits
Producers: Barbara Broccoli; Michael G. Wilson; Chiu Wah Lee (Line Producer, China); Callum McDougall (Executive Producer); Andrew Noakes (Co-Producer); David Pope (Co-Producer); Gregg Wilson (Associate Producer)
Writers: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan
Director: Sam Mendes
Cinematography: Roger Deakins
Film Editor: Stuart Baird
Casting: Debbie McWilliams
Production Designer: Dennis Gassner
Art Directors: Neal Callow, James Foster, Mark Harris, Marc Homes, Paul Inglis, Jason Knox-Johnston
Supervising Art Director: Chris Lowe
Set Decorator: Anna Pinnock
Costume Designer: Jany Temime
Title Designer: Daniel Kleinman
Original Music: Thomas Newman
Title Song Written by Adele and Paul Epworth; sung by Adele
Film Running Time: 143 minutes

James Bond: Daniel Craig
Judi Dench: M
Raoul Silva: Javier Bardem
Gareth Mallory: Ralph Fiennes
Eve Moneypenny: Naomie Harris
Sévérine: Bérénice Marlohe
Kincade: Albert Finney
Q: Ben Whishaw
Tanner: Rory Kinnear
Patrice: Ola Rapace


  1. "Grand Bazaar, Istanbul" (5:14)
  2. "Voluntary Retirement" (2:22)
  3. "New Digs" (2:32)
  4. "Sévérine" (1:20)
  5. "Brave New World" (1:50)
  6. "Shanghai Drive" (1:26)
  7. "Jellyfish" (3:22)
  8. "Silhouette" (0:56)
  9. "Modigliani" (1:04)
10. "Day Wasted" (1:31)
11. "Quartermaster" (4:48)
12. "Someone Usually Dies" (2:29)
13. "Komodo Dragon" (3:20)
14. "The Bloody Shot" (4:46)
15. "Enjoying Death" (1:13)

16. "The Chimera" (1:58)
17. "Close Shave" (1:32)
18. "Health & Safety" (1:29)
19. "Granborough Road" (2:32)
20. "Tennyson" (2:14)
21. "Enquiry" (2:49)
22. "Breadcrumbs" (2:02)
23. "Skyfall" (2:32)
24. "Kill Them First" (2:22)
25. "Welcome to Scotland" (3:21)
26. "She's Mine" (3:53)
27. "The Moors" (2:39)
28. "Deep Water" (5:11)
29. "Mother" (1:48)
30. "Adrenaline" (2:18)



Written and Produced by Adele and Paul Epworth
Sung by Adele

This is the end
Hold your breath and count to ten
Feel the earth move and then
Hear my heart burst again

For this is the end
I've drowned and dreamt this moment
So overdue I owe them
Swept away, I'm stolen

Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together

Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together
At skyfall
At skyfall

Skyfall is where we start
A thousand miles and poles apart
Where worlds collide and days are dark
You may have my number, you can take my name
But you'll never have my heart

Let the sky fall (let the sky fall)
When it crumbles (when it crumbles)
We will stand tall (we will stand tall)
Face it all together

Let the sky fall (let the sky fall)
When it crumbles (when it crumbles)
We will stand tall (we will stand tall)
Face it all together
At skyfall

Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall

Where you go I go
What you see I see
I know I'd never be me
Without the security
Of your loving arms
Keeping me from harm
Put your hand in my hand
And we'll stand

Let the sky fall (let the sky fall)
When it crumbles (when it crumbles)
We will stand tall (we will stand tall)
Face it all together
At skyfall

Let the sky fall
We will stand tall
At skyfall