James Bond has returned! SPECTRE, slated for a November 2015 release, will throw the audience back to the old days of Bond, when the sinister SPECTRE organization was the agent’s greatest foe. Many of the film’s primary actors have been announced, but the world has yet to be informed regarding which musician will be heading the next Bond theme.
Music has always been an integral part of the Bond films. From the signature composition “James Bond Theme” to Shirley Bassey’s iconic “Goldfinger” to Adele’s critically-acclaimed “Skyfall,” the franchise has always utilized music in a dynamic way, featuring a breadth of styles across its fifty year life-span.
Rumors regarding this film’s musical candidates have been rampant. Many are looking in the direction of the Englishman Sam Smith, implying that he has been given the role, though his involvement with the film has yet to be confirmed or announced by any party affiliated with either Bond or Smith. For the time being, speculation is warranted. Today, I propose that Alex Turner, lead singer of the Arctic Monkeys, should be tasked with singing the next Bond theme.
Before we begin, understand that I am not a die-hard Arctic Monkeys fan. I enjoy a good amount of the band’s music, but they are by no means a favorite of mine. Minimal bias is present. I am nominating Alex Turner and Alex Turner alone. Allow me to break down the rhetoric behind this selection.
He’s British. Effective Bond singers aren’t exclusively from the Queen’s Land (shout-out to Chris Cornell), but Bond is a British property. English is the name of the game when it comes to Bond. Even when the British do Bond wrong (see Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill), Paul McCartney and Adele are justification enough to adhere to British tradition. I’m not saying that Eon should refrain from employing non-English artists. Rather, I am saying that the company should keep non-English artists an occasional treat rather than an annual expectation. It would be best for the franchise channel its British roots through Queen-blooded singers. Now, let’s consider Alex Turner for his talent.
He has the vocal quality. Without the eyebrow-raising falsetto provided by Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders, Turner’s deep voice could glide right along with the orchestral music. His baritone is smooth and smoky. Unlike an artist like Ed Sheeran, whose voice radiates delicate warmth, Turner has a voice that evokes a challenging masculinity, an essential trait for a modern, male Bond singer.
His most recent album, AM, shows that he can achieve an edgy, slow-boiling sound. Edge is crucial to a successful Bond theme. 007 is not made of marshmallows. 007 does not eat cupcakes. Bond is a man who lives dangerously. “Do I Wanna Know” is a great display of the sinister sound Turner can conjure. While the song isn’t quite fit for a Bond film, it showcases Turner’s most current creative mindset. Many songs from AM, including “R U Mine” and “Arabella,” retain an attitude that borders on self-importance but is shy of narcissism, a quality typical of many Bond songs.
He has proven his ability as a solo artist. Alex Turner wrote and performed the soundtrack for the 2010 film Submarine. A single listen proves that he can hold his own without his band. The soundtrack is acoustic, certainly softer than any Bond song, but it offers an opportunity for one to hear Turner’s voice. Not his electric guitar, not Helders’ falsetto, not the jamming Monkeys (read as ‘moan-kiss,’ in the style of Alex Turner), but his voice. To truly get a feel for Turner’s core vocal sound, listening to Submarine is essential.
He wishes he was Bond. Turner’s confidence is communicated by his hip gyrating, his hairstyle, and his speech. When the man is being interviewed, he acts as if he doesn’t care, and after he gives award speeches, he drops the mic. Many claim that the once-humble front man has become too cocky. I say, let the man have his fun. His demeanor is likely a calculated response to the media, a middle finger if you will, as well as the result of an unconfirmed yet highly probably use of drugs. So Turner can’t quite be Bond, as he lacks the class, but he could surely sing for the secret agent as a court jester.
He wants to. When asked in 2011 if he would consider singing a song for a Bond film, he responded, “I’d love to do a tune for Bond. Definitely.” The man has already said yes.
I am sure that whoever is announced to sing the next Bond theme has does a fantastic job. I have high confidence in the musical endeavors of the franchise. Heck, even Madonna’s theme was listenable. I wish Alex Turner the best of luck. Him and his hair.