Taking to Twitter at midnight on 14 Feb 2020, the critically acclaimed singer decided to give her fans an extra-special Valentine’s Day treat. And it came in the form of her titular song for Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s No Time To Die.
Naturally, there’s been a lot riding on this – especially as, at 18, Eilish is the youngest ever musician to take on a 007 tune. However, in this writer’s opinion, she has seamlessly managed to blend her own distinctive style with that of the classic Bond songs.
“Was I stupid to love you? Was I reckless to help?” Eilish sings in the haunting ballad, which she co-wrote with her brother and collaborator Finneas.
Then, slowly but surely, the song builds up to its big crescendo.
“Fool me once, fool me twice,” she sings. “You’ll never see me cry, there’s just no time to die.”
Have a listen to No Time To Die for yourself below:
Speaking about what it was like to write and perform the No Time To Die ballad, Eilish explained to Apple Music’s Zane Lowe that she and her brother had the whole thing wrapped up in… ooh, about three days?
“It was honestly like a great process,” she said.
“We got a piece of the script, like the first scene and then wrote the song immediately and we wrote it in three days and we wrote it in Texas and we recorded it in a bunk on the bus, in the basement in the dark.”
What are people saying about Billie Eilish’s No Time To Die?
So, did those three days in the dark pay off? Well, for the most part, absolutely yes. Indeed, music historian Jon Burlingame has admitted that he would be surprised if No Time To Die did not earn Eilish a Best Original Song nomination at the 2021 Oscars. (It’s worth noting here that both Adele and Sam Smith won Academy Awards for their own Bond tracks).
“It’s moody, it’s kind of dark. The lyrics are filled with regret and speak of betrayal, and all of that plays into the current Bond mystique, the Daniel Craig era of Bond,” Burlingame told the PA news agency. “That works for a contemporary Bond audience.”
But what about the general public? What are they saying about the ballad?
Naturally, Eilish’s fans have been praising the song non-stop on Twitter since it debuted, and they’ve been joined in their acclaim by musicians and Bond fans alike.
“Say what you like about Billie Eilish, but she has absolutely hit the nail on the head with this new Bond theme,” wrote one, praising the song’s “atmospheric, moody, perfect” tones.
“Billie Eilish made a Bond song that was the perfect mix of a classic Bond song and a Billie Eilish song,” added another. “It’s eerie and incredible. Walked the tightrope between both sounds and nailed it.”
One more said: “Billie Eilish’s new song just screams James Bond vibes and it is honestly PERFECT for a Bond film!”
And another, firing a heavy dose of shade at Smith’s Spectre song, Writing’s On The Wall, wrote: “Absolutely perfect tone for a spy film, haven’t had this good a song since Adele’s Skyfall, sounds like a bond theme and that’s all we ask for, great work Billie and co.”
Our favourite, though?
As ever, though, there were those who weren’t as keen on the Bond song as others. And, judging by their tweets, this is primarily because they wanted something more uptempo, with a big brass band and sweeping crescendos (think Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger).
Although, to be fair, that’s a heavy interpretation of the one word they’re all using to describe Eilish’s ballad. That’s right: the phrase “#NoTimeToDie boring” is trending on Twitter.
“What a boring song,” wrote one. “Where are the Bond songs with some energy? If this song resembles the movie I will fall asleep after watching it in the first minute.”
“Unpopular opinion but Billie Eilish’s new Bond track #NoTimeToDie is boring as hell,” added another disgruntled 007 fan. “Let’s hope it’s not reflective of the film itself.”
“My lord, this Bond song is ruddy boring,” squawked another.
And still one more said: “Do not like the Bond theme song. It’s just boring.”
To quote one Eilish fan: “The people calling the song ‘boring’ clearly have no idea about how songs use emotions. Like damn, you must have none cuz this song hit me right in the feels.”
You can hear Eilish’s song in action when No Time To Die (starring Daniel Craig and Lashana Lynch) arrives in UK cinemas on 3 April.
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.
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