8. “For Your Eyes Only”
From For Your Eyes Only; Performed by Sheena Easton
The first Bond film of the eighties gets the kind of song that epitomizes the decade: Synthesized instrumentation, swooning vocals, and big, illustrative lyrics that don’t say much of anything. And you what? I really love it. There’s a certain irresistible charm to eighties pop that “For Your Eyes Only” captures perfectly, and it’s a much better example than other Bond films from the era of building a song around the movie title. Even if the lyrics are largely substance free, they’re actually pretty good, with a satisfying verse/chorus structure that builds spectacularly and suggests a pleasant, romantic atmosphere. It has nothing to do with James Bond, but it works just fine for the time.
The song, in fact, would be fun on its own, but it’s the visual design that pushes this one into ‘great’ territory. Most of the opening sequences in the Roger Moore era look largely indistinguishable – naked women, suggestive silhouettes, sexy hues, etc. – but For Your Eyes Only breaks things up by putting singer Sheena Easton front and center, singing over recognizable imagery as if in a music video. It’s an odd choice, but one that works surprisingly well. Moore himself is worked into the sequence fairly organically as well, and the overall effect is really satisfying. Not a particularly insightful Bond opening, but a darn stylish one.
From Goldeneye; Performed by Tina Turner
Like the films themselves, the Bond opening sequences had fallen from grace by the time Goldeneye rolled around, recycling the same visual ideas and repeating the same basic song structures over and over again. Goldeneye doesn’t quite blow open the formula, but it tinkers very effectively, giving us visuals that are much bigger and vastly more modern. The naked models and curvy silhouettes are still there in force, but are realized very differently, with a greater emphasis on live action performers and more detailed, stylized backgrounds. There’s even an artistic arc to the sequence, as various Soviet symbols – the hammer and sickle, massive statues, etc. – are torn down with increasing ferocity.
It’s amazing to look at, and the Tina Turner song – written by Bono and the Edge of U2 – is pretty cool as well. Built on a relaxed, three-note bass beat that keeps the song moving at a very compelling pace, the tune is extremely memorable, and Turner sings with an impressive amount of control. In the context of the film itself, the song is a breath of fresh air, as it comes out of one of the most intense pre-credits sequences in franchise history. The song and its accompanying imagery understand that it was time, with the Cold War over, for James Bond to evolve, and the entire sequence works because it pays respect to what came before while making a conscious effort to shake things up. It’s one of the very best.
Continue reading on the next page…PreviousNext