Friday, May 26, 2017

SONGS, BOND SONGS: THE MUSIC OF 007 review

     


     Even though the movies themselves are (usually) gems filled with action, adventure and humor, sometimes people associate the James Bond films with their theme music.  When one mentions LIVE AND LET DIE, the first thing that pops into many people’s heads is not the awesome boat chase: instead, the familiar theme tune by Paul McCartney & Wings is what shoots to the top of their memory pile. Same with GOLDFINGER, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, etc. However, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who remembers the theme songs to any post-Roger Moore Bond films apart from SKYFALL. That is not because the quality of the music dropped… for the most part.  The same can’t be said about the movies, though.  Heck, does anyone remember the name of any Dalton or Brosnan-era Bond movie?  Oh, you do?  I guess I’m in the minority (and yes, I’ve seen them all!). These days, Bond films are always good escapist fun but they no longer hold the magic that they once did. 

     Andrew Curry from Curry Cuts remembers the fun of Bond films and excitement of hearing the theme songs for the first time. In fact, Andy (nobody else calls him Andy) decided to remind the rest of us about how great the music was so he asked a bunch of his musician friends to contribute updated interpretations of all of the Bond themes for his latest project, SONGS, BOND SONGS: THE MUSIC OF 007. I have to be honest: after his tribute to ‘70s Soft Rock (DRINK A TOAST TO INNOCENCE: A TRIBUTE TO LITE ROCK) and the glorious ‘80s New Wave movement (HERE COMES THE REIGN AGAIN: THE SECOND BRITISH INVASION), I was hesitant to embrace the idea of a collection of updated Bond themes. Hasn’t it been done before? With few exceptions, does anyone remember any theme song after “The Living Daylights” (originally performed by a-Ha)? And besides, if I was in a cranky mood, could I handle dissing a project so close to Andy Curry’s heart? Well, I want to apologize, Mr. Curry… because I was wrong! SONGS, BOND SONGS: THE MUSIC OF 007 is a triumph.

     Like his previous ‘tribute’ releases, Curry gives the artists free reign on the music and almost every one of them knocks it out of the park.  Even when they take the song in new directions (Jay Gonzalez’s “A View To A Kill” and “Nobody Does It Better” by Mike Viola & Red Bank Catholic), the artists still reveal a great amount of respect to the originals. There are so many highlights that I know I’ll forget to mention some. Lannie Flowers’ (the man with the golden twang!) exceptional “James Bond Theme” features nods to themes from GOLDFINGER and LIVE AND LET DIE as well as the Bond-like music from the soundtrack to The Beatles’ HELP. The Stereo Twins (former members of Splitsville/Greenberry Woods) offer up a remarkably emotional “From Russia With Love”. Jason Berk has such a smooth poptastic voice that he makes “Goldfinger” sound as if it was the coolest Barry Manilow Bond theme ever (and yes, that is a compliment of the highest order). The Corner Laughers have a little fun with “Diamonds Are Forever” and remain one of the most joyful bands in all the land. The Popdudes stick close to the Macca arrangement of “Live And Let Die” yet still make it powerful and punchy without George Martin’s big production. Gary Frenay, Freedy Johnston, Brendan Schott & Jack Gideon and Zach Jones made me fall in love with their interpretations of themes that I didn’t care too much about before. Look Park can do no wrong and “The World Is Not Enough” proves it.  I really need to hear more by Minky Starshine, Cirrone, Cliff Hills, Wyatt Funderburk and Gretchen’s Wheel – I can already imagine myself making room on my CD shelf for them! There are few songs/artists that I may not have mentioned but that doesn’t mean I didn’t care for them.  It just means that I know that if I babble on any longer, this review will technically become a ‘book’ and I’ll be forever known as the guy that writes too much… (I'm already too late, I imagine!)

     That is three out of three for Curry Cuts. Can’t wait to see what he does next.  I’m hoping Power Pop versions of AOR hits (imagine 38 Special’s “Caught Up In You” in Power Pop clothes!!) but even if he decides to do a tribute to COP ROCK, I’m all in!

Keep on truckin’,

Schnee, SPAZ Schnee

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