For Your Eyes Only
RYKODISC RCD-10751 [58:59]
John Barry, complete with the right initials for the job, over again showed
the world how to score a James Bond film. Now hear "For Your Eyes Only,"
for '80s ears only. James Bond does discotheque.
Bill Conti uses traditional instruments in absorbing ways; notably the brass
with trills, frills, and thrills that blare the confidence of a composer
who perhaps knows the score is an immodest product of the times and decided
to just bite the bullet. Funk guitar and caterwauling synthesizers try to
take over the material, appropriately possessing the subtly (or lack thereof)
of a Bond villain. "For Your Eyes Only" is a rare case of bad music made
good. Or above average, anyway.
Like most of the composer's output the themes and orchestrations are absurdly
derivative (consider 'The P.M. Gets the Bird,' or is Sir Edward Elgar still
around?), though in this scenario the distraction is negligable. The 'James
Bond Theme' of course deserves specific credit. The leitmotif is coolness
in musical form, and while Conti's arrangements suggest something more frigorific
the tune always injects the score with a degree of mystery and chic. Without
the aid of that famous theme the music would merely be an unusually elaborate
"CHiPs" soundtrack. With it, the score wraps around the occasional bubble
of fresh air and keeps itself afloat.
The title song is a memorable, award-worthy ditty sung by Sheena Easton,
whose voice I am not too keen for, but accept; she can actually sing, unlike
the many performers who screech and shake like rusted Yugos. The lyrics by
Michael Leeson are serviceable, raised higher by what is arguably Conti's
best theme for a movie. At this, the pop approach suits the song and its
instrumental relatives perfectly.
I miss the enhanced CD bits Rykodisc used to offer on these 'deluxe editions,'
and rather wish the disc were sequenced to the film's chronology. Thankfully,
the notes include approximations for makeshift programming that for the most
part works as suggested. The sound is surprisingly clear considering it is
approaching twenty years old. The music has the release it deserves.