SPECTRE: Writing’s on the Wall – Sam Smith Reviewed

It’s a red letter day for Bond fans across the world today with the big reveal of SPECTRE’s title song, Writing’s on the Wall by Sam Smith. The JBR team thought we’d leap into action and record a special emergency podcast dedicated to the new song, with a section by section break down, lyrical discussions and more!

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  • Bryant Burnette

    I’m holding strong in my avoidance of the song until I see the movie. I’ll listen to the podcast then, too!

  • Gert Waterink

    I have been analizing the lyrics in detail. It makes me think that this is nost just the 2nd real love relationship between Bond and a Bond-girl since “Casino Royale”. To stay both loyal to previous Bond films, but also to stay original, I have a feeling this could happen:

    Bond and Madeleine end up in bed with each other. The traditional “Bond’s bedding the girl”-scene, but with a pivotal twist! Madeleine proposes Bond to get married. Bond is stunned….But he says “YES”, and when this happiest ending scene in the Craig-era ends (Finally! Bond is happy!) we get to see one final pivotal scene that is about S.P.E.C.T.R.E. forging a new villainous idea for the next film. One that makes us SCARED! “The End” smile-emoticon!

    What do you guys think Chris, Tom?

  • Langford

    Tom and Chris – love your analysis as always. Imagine my pleasant surprise when I saw a nearly three hour Bond Girl analysis on my phone, only to be greeted with yet another hour about the Spectre Theme when I woke up this morning. Thanks for your dedication and hard work!

    I agree with you regarding WOTW for the most part. But, alas, not on final assessment. Love the beginning orchestral. Then things go south. As Tom points out, Smith’s voice evokes a gigantic WTF moment, only to be far surpassed in WTF-ness a bit later when he goes into the falsetto refrain. This completely takes me out of the song and I just couldn’t recover. Not sure what Smith was trying to accomplish artistically and Bondistically with the super high notes, but for me it completely misses the mark.

    Strings were quite good, love the fades as you said. Lyrics were good.

    If Adele had sung this exact same song with the same arrangement, I think it simply would’ve worked better for me.

    Take care and thanks again for all you’re doing!

  • Tygr300

    Great analysis.
    First time i hear any of your programs, and i strongly aggree.
    Especially about the ‘WOTW being brave” part. Yes, James Bond needs to change in order to stay relevant, as he always did. We need suprises, things we don’t see coming so we still keep interest and remind us that this series means something to us.
    And right now the most important thing is to see how the song fits the movie and the story, because after the movie is released we will never be able to look at it seperatly from the movie again.

    • Langford

      Very fair points, Tygr. Thankfully we don’t have much longer to wait!

  • GerardoValero

    I can understand that a song titled SPECTRE may not have been feasible but instead of something so romantic I would have hoped for a sinister song in the “Thunderball” tradition (preformed by a male voice as well) with the word SPECTRE mentioned at least once.
    At any rate, even though “Writing’s on the wall” is nowhere near as good as
    Adele’s perfect “Skyfall”, I can imagine that once it is trimmed down to three + minutes, accompanied by some fantastic visuals and maybe by a few more Bondian notes here and there (as they did with the cinematic version of Tina Turne’s Goldeneye and with “Die another Day) it might be fondly remmembered with time.

  • Stephen Wadsworth

    Good analysis, lads.

    I’ve listened to the song once and really like it so I’m going to walk away from it now and then the next time I hear it will be on the 26th sandwiched between the pre-credits sequence and the first scene afterwards. I had no strong feelings either way towards Sam Smith prior to this. I’m going to stick my neck out and say best theme song since Live & Let Die. Lyrics are great and unlike a lot of the post-70s songs not just a collection of clichés and random imagery. The lack of instrumental outro does make me think that we’re going straight from the credits into a hard-hitting dramatic scene too.

    I agree that it’s probably the male falsetto that some just can’t get their heads around but give them time…..!

    Just can’t wait until 26th Oct. Closest I’ve felt to being 5 years old again at Christmas. My only nagging worry is that the film won’t come close to my sky-high expectations for it.

    On a tenuously-related theme, just wanted to say thanks – if they read this – to whoever it was that put together the versions on youtube of the Spectre trailer with Sean, Roger and Pierce inserted in place of Daniel. Love the modernised fan-made trailers of Dr. No, Majesty’s and Live & Let Die too. They”re all so well done.

  • Baldwin Collins

    hi tom & chris i’am so late in giving my opinion on Sam Smith’s ‘writing’s on the wall” i listened to the song and instantly liked it reason’s being. the bond trailer came into my mind, this bond theme song fits perfectly for ”spectre”

  • Baldwin Collins

    you’re so right tom. the song brings back the 60’s era type bond. the music is bond. the song is so Daniel Craig’s bond.

  • Baldwin Collins

    chris is right how would bond progress if every film was the same ? change is good and that’s why james Bond survives the times.