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Adele's 'Skyfall' hints at classic, traditional James Bond themes

October 02, 2012|By Todd Martens
  • James Bond, meet Adele, Adele Adkins. Above is the cover art for Adele's "Skyfall."
James Bond, meet Adele, Adele Adkins. Above is the cover art for Adele's… (Columbia Records )

Forget Daniel Craig or Javier Bardem. It appears that all the upcoming James Bond film needed to cause a promotional ruckus was a musical cameo from Adele.

Currently the world's most popular singer, the not-so-closely-guarded secret that Adele would tackle the "Skyfall" theme was confirmed Monday, and already snippets of the song have appeared online. 

Though only about 90 seconds, what's available of Adele's "Skyfall" seems to hint at the classic -- perhaps more traditional -- Bond themes of yore. If that turns out to be the case, that wouldn't in and of itself be cause for disappointment. Adele, after all, is a big-moment singer, and her albums -- "19" and "21" -- are ones that transcend any vintage trappings thanks to her her stand-and-take-notice voice and casually understated, slow-build delivery.

LISTEN: James Bond songs by British artists

It would be unfair, unethical and downright speculative to review a song after a 90-second preview, although that hasn't stopped some media outlets and Bond enthusiasts from trying. New York Magazine's Vulture declared the available portion of the song "sexy, cinematic," and Britain's the Daily Telegraph wagered that Adele "manages to imbue this filmic torch song with something of her own, a sense of personality and heart."

Maybe.

Her producer and collaborator Paul Epworth urged everyone to just relax. "I hear a short excerpt of Skyfall leaked," he posted on Twitter. "I can't wait for everyone to hear the whole thing because Adele's performance is jaw dropping."

Adele has kept quiet. She did tweet a picture of what appears to be the sheet music, though all one can see is the cover page. Somewhere, no doubt, there's a review of that, too. (Notice the page's boldly cute curly-quotes -- a feminine yet assertive font -- and witness its clean edges and fresh-from-the-paper-mill white, a romantic, wedding-day white, if you will.) 

PHOTOS: James Bond through the years

Readers of MI6-HQ.com, which expertly chronicles all-things-Bond, have been kind to the song, albeit tentatively so. While some fans have already taken to forecasting where the song will fall in the Bond theme catalog, most seem to be of the wait-and-see mind set. 

To be sure, the available snippet seems to hit one chorus and then slowly fade out. The song seems to still be building when the clip concludes. All that can really be said of the cut at this point is that it begins with a rather subdued, forlorn piano, and post-chorus it offers a symphonic nod to the instantly recognizable "James Bond Theme" unveiled in "Dr. No."

So far, it sounds exactly like a Bond theme. The good news is that these 90 seconds of Adele's "Skyfall" are not filled with noisy, rush-hour horns and gratuitous guitar nonsense that fill the first 30 seconds of "Another Way to Die" from Alicia Keys and Jack White.

LISTEN: James Bond songs by British artists

Adele's "Skyfall" will premiere on Adele's website on Thursday about 4:07 p.m. PST (that's 0:07 BST and the start of Friday's promotional holiday known as "James Bond Day," for the curious). 

A snippet is below, although it may be long gone by the time you read this.

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