The brand of James Bond theme songs is self-seriousness — but while they’re often so over the top in this vein as to be hilariously campy, Sam Smith has reinvented the Bond theme as a completely earnest love song for the upcoming Spectre. The sleek “Writing’s on the Wall” quivers with all the drama of unquenchable desire and danger of being your everyday spy who jumps from tall things, dodges exploding things, and drives fast things — all the while attempting to break your heart with high-pitched emotional puppeteering. In the just-released music video for the song, all this dramatic sensuality comes together in a series of images attempting to be very intense, very grave (actually; Smith sings against a backdrop of coffins draped in British flags), yet very sexy. Whether or not it accomplishes this is another story.
Here, Smith sings — hardly able to keep his eyes open, it’s so real — as Daniel Craig walks, very slowly, and with such purpose. Then, Monica Bellucci (who plays “an Italian widow with secrets” whose mob boss husband was murdered) also walks, very slowly, and also with such purpose. It again cuts to Smith singing, leaping into his famous falsetto — seemingly with such affecting beauty as to unzip Monica Bellucci’s dress. (We soon see that the hand unzipping it is not the figurative hand of the poignant music, but rather, more expectedly, just that of old James Bond, up to his usual seductive/seduced tricks.) Then, Léa Seydoux (as Madeleine Swann, a “sensitive” doctor), also stares out with intensity, then backs into another bedroom scenario, seydouxing Bond behind a diaphanous curtain. Also: Landscapes! Snow! Shadowy figures! Is your breath not taken?
Spectre will be released on November 6.