No Time to Die (song)

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"No Time to Die"
Billie Eilish - No Time to Die.png
Single by Billie Eilish
from the album No Time to Die: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
ReleasedFebruary 13, 2020 (2020-02-13)
RecordedOctober 2019
Genre
Length4:02
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Billie Eilish singles chronology
"Everything I Wanted"
(2019)
"No Time to Die"
(2020)
"Ilomilo"
(2020)
James Bond theme singles chronology
"Writing's on the Wall"
(2015)
"No Time to Die"
(2020)
Music video
No Time to Die on YouTube

"No Time to Die" is a song by American singer and songwriter Billie Eilish. It is the theme song for the James Bond film of the same name, and was released through Darkroom and Interscope Records on February 13, 2020.[1] The song was written by Eilish and her brother Finneas O'Connell, and recorded in a bedroom studio.[2][3] Eilish was nearly 18 at the time of recording, making her the youngest artist to have written and recorded a James Bond theme. [4][5] The song won the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.

"No Time to Die" debuted at top of the Irish Singles Chart and the UK Singles Chart. It became Eilish's first number-one single in the UK and made her the first artist born in the 21st century to top the chart. Furthermore, the song became the first James Bond theme by a female artist to top the UK chart, as well as the second Bond theme overall to top that chart.[6] In the United States, "No Time to Die" debuted and peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100.[7]

Background and release

In an interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music, Eilish explained how she was offered to make the next James Bond theme for No Time to Die, with her brother Finneas O'Connell.[8] On December 19, 2019, they flew to London to work with Hans Zimmer and his orchestra.[9] Finneas explained in an interview that he and his sister wrote and recorded the new James Bond theme song in three days while on a tour bus in Texas. While "No Time to Die" was still in production, the siblings met with the producer Barbara Broccoli, after performing a show in Dublin.[10][11] Broccoli had flown to meet Eilish and Finneas.[11] They were given parts of the script and started to create the theme. Finneas had originally tried to write the song on a guitar, but Eilish scrapped the idea.[11] Finneas later found a piano in the green room of a Texas arena and played a riff which would later appear in the song.[11]

Zimmer liked their demo and the trio would eventually meet in person to start recording the song with a 70-person orchestra at George Martin's AIR Studios.[11] She concluded saying, "For, like, a month-ish, like, half a month maybe, we were just kind of going back and forth to their team and us about, like, just getting it right and getting it right and getting it right and it went through a lot of different versions and then we got it, like, we all worked really hard, Hans was incredibly—like, easy to work with. It was a really good, collaborative experience."[9]

Composition and lyrics

Musically, "No Time to Die" is an orchestral pop ballad with R&B influences.[12][13][14][8] The track runs at 74 BPM and is in the key of E minor. It runs at four minutes and two seconds.[15] Eilish's vocals span E3 to D5, which include a belted B4.[16] According to Roisin O'Connor of The Independent, the song "features classic elements of the most memorable Bond themes including a slow build; a dark, shivery theme; and dramatic orchestration".[17] Cassie Da Costa of The Daily Beast said the song "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".[18] The song features orchestral arrangements by Hans Zimmer as well as Johnny Marr on guitar.[19]

According to Sheldon Pearce of Pitchfork, the lyrics reflect the "betrayal hinted at in the film's trailer and embody the tension of espionage".[14] In the chorus of the song, Eilish sings about a lover's betrayal, more specifically, Bond's belief that Madeleine betrayed him "Was I stupid to love you?/ Was I reckless to help?/Was it obvious to everybody else/That I'd fallen for a lie?/You were never on my side/Fool me once, fool me twice/Are you death or paradise?/Now you'll never see me cry/There's just no time to die."[20]

Promotion

Eilish was announced as the performer of the theme song for the 25th film in the James Bond franchise in January 2020, initially via the franchise's official Twitter account.[21] Eilish called the opportunity "a huge honor",[2] and O'Connell said they "feel so so lucky to play a small role in such a legendary franchise".[2] No Time to Die director Cary Joji Fukunaga described himself as a fan of the duo, and the film's producers, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, said the song is "impeccably crafted".[5] At the 92nd Academy Awards, Eilish said the ballad was "written" and "done".[22]

Eilish performed the song live for the first time at the 2020 Brit Awards on February 18, 2020 alongside Finneas, Zimmer and Marr.[18]

Music video

The official music video for "No Time to Die" was released on October 1, 2020.[23] The video was shot in black-and-white clip and was directed by Daniel Kleinman, who has designed every title sequence for the James Bond series since 1995, except Quantum of Solace in 2008.[23][24][25] In the visual, it shows Eilish singing behind an old-fashioned microphone, as she stares into the camera interspersed with scenes from the film showing James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) engaging in a love affair.[23][24][20] Justin Curto, writing for Vulture magazine, mentions the video has "smokey lounge-singer vibes".[26] Rachel McRady of Entertainment Tonight commented that it was clear that "Madeleine betrays 007 in some way as the video continuously shares shots of the agent looking distrustful as he gazes upon his ladylove".[23]

Critical reception

Alexis Petridis of The Guardian gave an overall positive review, stating that "No Time to Die" is a "confident", and "appealing addition to the Bond theme canon."[27] Chris Willman, writing for Variety, wrote that the track was one of the better James Bond themes to be written in the last 25 to 30 years.[28] Roisin O'Connor of The Independent stated that "'No Time To Die' is one of the best Bond theme songs we've had in some time."[29] Alexa Camp of Slant Magazine said, "the lush, darkly cinematic track falls in line with past 007 themes".[30] Cassie Da Costa of The Daily Beast described the song as "not at the level" of Shirley Bassey's "Goldfinger" and Nancy Sinatra's "You Only Live Twice", and said it was certainly not "Eilish's best, but as of late, the Bond universe has been perfectly satisfied with good enough."[18]

In June 2020, Billboard ranked "No Time to Die" as the 22nd best song of 2020 so far.[31]

Credits and personnel

Credits adapted from Tidal and 007.com.[32][33]

  • Billie Eilish – vocals, songwriting
  • Finneas – production, songwriting, bass, percussion, piano, synthesizer, drum programming, vocal arrangement
  • Stephen Lipson – production, mixing
  • Johnny Marr – guitar
  • Hans Zimmer – orchestral arrangements
  • Matt Dunkley – orchestral arrangements
  • Rob Kinelski – mixing
  • Casey Cuayo – mix engineering
  • Eli Heisler – mix engineering
  • John Greenham – mastering

Charts

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[77] Platinum 70,000double-dagger
Canada (Music Canada)[78] Platinum 80,000double-dagger
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[79] Gold 45,000double-dagger
New Zealand (RMNZ)[80] Gold 15,000double-dagger
Norway (IFPI Norway)[81] Gold 30,000double-dagger
Poland (ZPAV)[82] 2× Platinum 100,000double-dagger
Portugal (AFP)[83] Platinum 10,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[84] Platinum 600,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[85] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger
Streaming
Greece (IFPI Greece)[86] Gold 1,000,000dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.
dagger Streaming-only figures based on certification alone.

Release history

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Various February 14, 2020
[87][32]
Australia Contemporary hit radio UMA [88]
Italy Universal [89]
Russia February 19, 2020 [90]
Various September 14, 2020 7" single
  • Darkroom
  • Interscope
[91]
October 5, 2020 7" picture disc
[92]

See also

References

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