MGM and Eon Productions, the companies behind the James Bond franchise, have finally released the theme song to the upcoming 007 movie, No Time To Die.
The track, with music, lyrics, and wispy vocals by the Grammy Award-sweeping sibling duo Billie Eilish and Finneas, orchestral arrangements by Hans Zimmer, and The Smiths’ Johnny Marr on guitar, brings few surprises. It begins with moody, atmospheric piano music before Billie’s pop-enunciated alto vibrato creeps in with depressive yet vague observations about love, loss, and violence.
I’m not 100% certain on the lyrics but this is what I could make out from the beginning: “I should have known / I’d leave alone / Just goes to show / That the blood you bleed / Is just the blood you own.” She goes on: “Was I stupid to love you? / Was I reckless to help? / Was it obvious to everybody else?” And then the chorus: “That I’d fallen for a lie / You were never on my side / Fool me once, fool me twice / How you dare the paradise? / Now you’ll never see me cry / There’s just no time to die.”
Cue dramatic violins and rumbling percussion.
“There are a chosen few who record a Bond theme. I am a huge fan of Billie and Finneas. Their creative integrity and talent are second to none and I cannot wait for audiences to hear what they’ve brought—a fresh new perspective whose vocals will echo for generations to come,” said No Time to Die director Cary Joji Fukunaga.
“It feels crazy to be a part of this in every way,” added Eilish. “To be able to score the theme song to a film that is part of such a legendary series is a huge honor. James Bond is the coolest film franchise ever to exist. I’m still in shock.”
At 18, Eilish is the youngest person yet to record a Bond theme—which she’ll perform live for the first time at the BRIT Awards on Feb. 18. While the brief and hyper-focused ballad is certainly not at the level of Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger” (like Dionne Warwick with “Alfie,” Bassey transformed a pretty ridiculous song into a wonder of vocal interpretation) or Nancy Sinatra’s “You Only Live Twice,” nor was Adele’s “Skyfall” or Sam Smith’s “Writing’s on the Wall” (for Spectre)—and they both won Oscars for their efforts.
In many ways, Eilish’s “No Time to Die” speaks to the death of glamor in the Bond franchise, as sleek efficiency rises above sex and mystery in an ever-more technologized society. It’s certainly not Eilish’s best, but lately, the Bond universe has been perfectly satisfied with good enough.