After the false start of Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies was
the film to really re-establish James Bond as a viable action hero in a multiplex
culture of Die Hard, Lethal Weapon and John Woo action movies. A large
part of the success came from the appropriation of Woo-style hyper-kinetic
action (something sadly lacking from The World is Not Enough), much
of the rest from David Arnold's dynamic development of the classic John Barry
style of Bond music.
Such was the production schedule of Tomorrow Never Dies that David
Arnold was forced to score the film over a period of six months, working
on early scenes before much of the complete picture had even been shot. The
date the tracks for the soundtrack album had to be delivered was such that
music from the final part of the film was not available, and with the exception
of the end title song, no music was included following the scene in which
Bond makes an 'Underwater Discovery'. In effect the original Tomorrow
Never Dies CD was the soundtrack album to the first two-thirds of the
film, so that when it was announced that Chapter III were to release a new
Tomorrow Never Dies album many people assumed it would include all
the missing music. This turns out not to be the case; this release, billed
as 'The Original Motion Picture Score', might be termed 'The Composer's Cut'.
The first 11 tracks were all on the original album, while the remaining 7
feature some, but not all, of the music from the latter part of the movie.
Omitted from the first release, such that this new disc is not a replacement
for, but a compliment to the original album, are the title song by Sheryl
Crow and the end title song by k.d. lang, together with the instrumental
'Station Break'. Added is 26 minutes of music from the end of the film. Yet
a considerable amount is still missing. Buy both albums, and you will have
a lot of music twice and some not at all.
It is not possible to fit all the music from Tomorrow Never Dies onto
a single CD, as there is around 95 minutes of music in the film. However,
it is certainly possible to fit it all onto two discs, which makes me question
the thinking behind this release. Surely it will be mainly bought by those
who already have the first disc, and so would serve better by providing all
the unreleased cues. Still missing are several short and negligible cues,
including various variations on the James Bond theme, which very few will
miss. More noticeable is the continued absence of some of the music involving
Bond and Paris, and Bond and Doctor Kaufman, the music for Carver's reception,
some of Wai Lin's music, and about 7 minutes of action music from the final
showdown on Carver's ship. For serious Bond and Arnold fans it seems a shame
to lose this music, especially given that the disc certainly had space for
another 15 minutes of score had the 11-minute interview with Arnold which
concludes the disc been presented as text in the booklet.
This interview is interesting, but is not the sort of thing one would listen
to nearly as often as some missing parts of the score would be. Nevertheless,
the presentation here presents a more rounded, fuller version of Arnold's
score that the previous album. After the extended, largely orchestral cues
of 'White Knight' and 'The Sinking of the Devonshire', the original disc
became rather fragmented through a diversity of styles, swinging wildly between
orchestra and violence 'dance music' electronics. Here the balance is more
in favour of epic orchestral scoring, albeit with copious amounts of percussion,
of both acoustic and synthesised/sampled varieties. The electronics here
seem better integrated with the orchestra than on the original album, so
that this release has a much more coherent flow than the first version.
The ethnic flavoured 'Kowloon Bay' is hauntingly melodic and quite gorgeous,
the 'Bike Chase' a splendid virtuoso set-piece, and what there is of the
finale, bold and thrilling. If you are to have one Tomorrow Never Dies
album, this is the one to chose, though so used are we to having songs on
a Bond album that their omission does make the experience a little lacking.
A Bond CD without at least one over-the-top ballad is like a Bond film without
at least one impossibly beautiful girl on our hero's arm. However, if you
already have the original soundtrack release, then buying this full priced
disc will bring you just 26 minutes of new music of what, all things considered,
no more than superior action scoring. This is certainly not one of those
rare film music masterpieces, where every note is worth paying extra to own.
It's worth considering that the Region 1 DVD of Tomorrow Never Dies
has an isolated music only soundtrack, so that if you have, or are considering
buying a region free or 'chipped' DVD player, it may well be worth buying
the American DVD of the film instead. A fair amount of work is involved,
but if you have an appropriate soundcard and CD-R drive, it is perfectly
possible (and legal if it is only for your own use) to make your own
Tomorrow Never Dies score CD(s).
Gary S. Dalkin
||- if you don't already have the original album);
||- if you do.
Tommy TALLARICO 007- Tomorrow
Never Dies Videogame
Music PROMOTIONAL CHA 0126
Information on obtaining Promo discs
Released simultaneously with Chapter III's issue of David Arnold's expanded
score album for the James Bond adventure Tomorrow Never Dies, this
is fundamentally a techno album which, beyond constant quotes of the James
Bond theme, has little to do with the traditional musical styles of the Bond
films. The disc opens with a brief conventional statement of the Bond theme,
after which the disc takes its direction from the dance orientated aspects
of David Arnold's score for Tomorrow Never Dies.
The worst tracks, such as 'Confrontation', 'Convoy' and 'PPK' are an appalling
noise, adding elements of thrash-metal to the mix, while 'Detonate' is a
variation on 'Backseat Driver' from David Arnold's score for the film and
'Media Tower' drifts into 80's Jean-Michael Jarre territory. 'Arms Bazaar'
is moody suspense underscore, 'Decoder', 'Pressing Engagement', 'A New Beginning'
and 'Infrared' not so far from Arnold's own approach in fusing electronic
beats with melody - though everything here is electronically generated and
rather too mechanical. Presumably this is because the album was created as
MIDI files written to accompany the game, such that the stilted, machine
feel is all but unavoidable.
If you have any time for electronic music at all you may find this better
than the thrash-metals cues would lead you to believe, though far too many
of the tracks make use of the James Bond theme itself to sustain the interest
for long. The final track marks a distinct change of mood. 'Letter to Paris'
is a pop-rock ballad with a female vocal unaccredited on my promo copy of
the album. Apparently it does not appear in the video game, though the words
'Tomorrow Never Dies' certainly dominate the lyrics. The histrionic guitar
solo sounds very much a relic from 80's stadium rock, and the whole appears
as a second-rate Bond song. A pale imitation of real James Bond music for
Bond loving techno fans only.
Gary S. Dalkin