Eilish, Finneas provide more details about NTTD song

Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell did interviews on morning shows in the U.K. and the U.S. and provided a few additional details about the No Time to Die title song they co-wrote with Eilish performing.

BBC BreakfastO’Connell said “we did go to re-listen to everything,” referring to past Bond songs to make sure they weren’t copying “other great songs.”

Eilish said she and her brother had a meeting Eon chief Barbara Broccoli in Ireland in early September.

“She basically gave us a little hint of what the first scene, what’s happening.” Broccoli later sent the first part of the script. “We had what the audience will have watched before they hear the song…It was really, really helpful. It really wrote the song for us.”

The siblings also said they had writer’s block initially. It was after that they wrote the song in three days.

Each also said star Daniel Craig had a big say in the song. “If Daniel doesn’t like it, you don’t get the job,” O’Connell said.

Toward the end, Eilish said she was scared about performing at the BRITS later in the day because “I have to hit a note I’ve never hit before.”

Good Morning America: O’Connell said the duo had “essentially total creative freedom in the writing process.”

Finneas O’Connell discusses origins of NTTD song

Finneas O’Connell, older brother and collaborator of Billie Eilish

Finneas O’Connell, co-writer of the No Time to Die title song with his sister Billie Eilish, described the creative process in an interview with GQ.

“We wrote No Time to Die on a tour bus. Specifically, in the bunks of our tour bus,” told the magazine.

“We were given the first 20 pages of the script. I guess that’s up to the point when the song comes in during the movie, right? That’s how all the Bond films open up.

“So we were able to read the first 20 pages, which was obviously incredible. It gave us such a good steer and such insight into where the song would fall, and the tone. It makes it easier than having to write the whole song based on the entire movie; or in fact none of the movie.”

That sounds like the duo read the script’s pre-titles sequence. The general rule of thumb is that one page of script equals about one minute of screen time.

That suggests the pre-titles sequence may run about 20 minutes, although no one will know for sure until editing of the movie is complete.

O’Connell described what happened next.

“So Billie and I wrote the song, recorded the demo, sent it to them and then we finished it in London with Hans Zimmer doing the orchestral arrangements and also Johnny Marr from The Smiths,” he said. “I mean, James Bond? Hans Zimmer? Johnny Marr? Mind blowing.”

The interview covers other subjects. You can read the interview by CLICKING HERE.

NTTD song gets rave reviews from major outlets

No Time to Die teaser poster

The release of No Time to Die’s title song generated debate among Bond fans. But the Billie Eilish number, which she performed and co-wrote, generated rave reviews from some established outlets.

What follows is a sampling.

BRENNA EHRLICH, ROLLING STONE: “Is this a soundtrack for exploding cars and sharks with lasers on their heads? Hell no. It’s a soundtrack befitting a Bond for our times, played by a worn-out Daniel Craig facing down his fifth and final outing as 007. Bond always gets the girl, but it never ends well. As such, Eilish’s acceptance of a lonely life is really kind of fitting.”

CHRIS WILLMAN, VARIETY: “‘No Time to Die’ is one of the better Bond songs of the last 25 or 30 years, coming in ahead of a lot of entries that seemed promising and didn’t really work: besides Garbage’s and (Sheryl) Crow’s, there were underwhelming efforts from Chris Cornell and the team of Jack White and Alicia Keys, worthy artists that tried to contemporize the idea of what a Bond theme should be, at their mortal peril. (The less remembered about Madonna turning Bond techno, the better.)”

MARK SAVAGE, BBC: Billie Eilish “is known for her intimate, designed-for-headphone vocal style, but she rises to the challenge of the song’s soaring climax, with her early vulnerability transforming into strength and resolve. It’s easily the most audacious and atmospheric take on the Bond theme in recent memory.”

ALEXIS PETRIDRIS, THE GUARDIAN: “Yet Eilish has stamped her own identity on the song. The tendency for vocalists tackling a Bond theme is to belt it out, as if in homage to the most famous Bond singer of the lot: Shirley Bassey is known for many things, but subtle understatement isn’t among them. Eilish, however, opts for her standard close-mic approach in which surliness does battle with vulnerability.”

Your mileage may vary. Among fans, the ones who liked the song really, really liked it while among fans who didn’t care it, they really, really didn’t like it. 

No Time to Die title song debuts

The title song for No Time to Die debuted Thursday night. The song co-written and performed by Billie Eilish included a few Bond music touches.

Around the 1:00 mark, there was a “WAAAAAA” sound that John Barry dropped into his James Bond film scores now and then. Around the 2:02 mark, there was an ominous-sounding instrumental, similar to Barry scores when something, well, ominous was about the happen.

Finally, at the end, there was a brief twang of an electric guitar, again similar to early Barry scores in the Bond series. Barry retired the electric guitar after Sean Connery departed the Eon-produced series. Other composers, such as Marvin Hamlisch, Michael Kamen, and David Arnold brought it back.

We’ll see how the reaction goes. Regardless, it was far from the parody version seen on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on CBS. That was essentially “Bad Guy” with tweaked lyrics.

You can view the YouTube version of the No Time to Die song below.

What’s more, Eon Production posted a video featuring the song. It had some shots (not many) that hadn’t been in previous trailers and TV spots.

UPDATE (8:02 p.m., New York time): If you CLICK HERE you can read the lyrics to No Time to Die. h/t Jack Lugo.

UPDATE II (3:40 a.m., Feb. 14): Hans Zimmer, who is scoring the movie, says on Twitter, that the No Time to Die song includes an orchestral arrangement by himself and Matt Dunkley. 

No Time to Die song to debut Thursday

Billie Eilish

No Time to Die’s title song will debut on Thursday, Feb. 13, co-writer and performer Billie Eilish announced on Twitter.

The song will be released at 4 p.m. Los Angeles time, or 7 p.m. New York time, according to the post on Twitter.

The song is actually titled “No Time to Die,” Eilish said.

Eilish wrote the song with her brother, Finneas O’Connell. The announcement that she was performing the Bond song was made in mid-January.

Eilish appeared on the Feb. 9 Oscars telecast. She performed the song “Yesterday” as part of the program’s In Memoriam segment.

Here’s the Twitter post that went out. There’s a snippet of the song.

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Billie Eilish says No Time to Die song is finished

Billie Eilish, ahead of winning a number of Grammy Awards on Sunday night, said the title song for No Time to Die is finished.

“It’s done,” Eilish said in an interview on the E! cable channel.

She didn’t provide additional details. (Does done mean it’s recorded? Or just written and recording still has to take place?). Eilish did talk about doing a Bond song in general.

“Writing a Bond theme song is like one of, I feel like,  the biggest goals in life” for a musician and songwriter, she said.

Eilish is performing the No Time to Die song and co-wrote it with her brother Finneas O’Connell.

The interview is below. The Bond portion begins at the 1:19 mark.

NTTD title song took a year to sell, co-writer says

Finneas O’Connell, older brother and writing collaborator of Billie Eilish

It took about a year to sell Eon Productions on the idea of a James Bond title song performed by Billie Eilish, Finneas O’Connell, who co-wrote the No Time to Die song with his sister, said in an interview with Billboard.

“We fought it out for a year,” O’Connell said in the interview. “We’ve always wanted to write a James Bond theme song. And you know, it’s a legendary franchise, so we had to convince a lot of people that we were the right choice.”

The interview was about O’Connell’s career with in general. But there were details about No Time to Die. O’Connor described the selection process.

“And then we had to write a song that everybody liked,” he said. “So it was a hard-won process. But everybody that we worked with on it, Barbara Broccoli, the producer of the Bond franchise (alongside Michael G. Wilson), we got to work with Hans Zimmer… it was a real joy.”

O’Connell reflected on the publicity about last week’s announcement concerning the No Time to Die title song.

“But uh, yeah, it’s so funny, ’cause some of the headlines have been like, ‘Billie Eilish and Finneas are writing the James Bond theme.’ And I’m so glad we’re no longer writing it — I’m so glad we wrote it a couple months ago, because, oh my god, if it was like, announced that we were doing it and we still had to write it, I would have such writer’s anxiety, you know?”

O’Connell described the ups and downs involved.

“It’s, in my experience, in my limited experience, as a songwriter and producer, it’s the hardest playing field I’ve never been on. … There were so many points where I was like, ‘I don’t know, maybe we don’t have this!’ (Laughs.) Like, it’s just like such a big deal. And you know … the whole pairing is very authentic to my and Billie’s relationship with those movies.”

Billie Eislish talks briefly about No Time to Die

Billie Eilish talked briefly about No Time to Die in a video interview, indicating she has worked on the movie’s title song for “a couple of months.”

Eilish told ALT 98.7 FM she was contacted about the Bond song “a while ago…It was a crazy call and a crazy last couple of months.”

The singer also said she was excited to have the gig. “Bond is so dope, it really is,” she said. “It’s like the coolest movie franchise in the world.”

Eilish said she’s “working on it with Hans” Zimmer but didn’t go into detail. Eilish is co-writing the song with her brother Finneas O’Connell.

Separately, The Guardian, a sister publication of The Observer, ran a feature story on Eilish.

The story includes  this quote from Popjustice founder Peter Robinson: “She’s not Shirley Bassey. There’s a real power in the understatement of her music. When one of her songs comes on the radio, it sounds like some alien transmission has taken over Capital or Radio 1.”

The video interview is embedded below. The No Time to Die discussion starts around the 1:50 mark.

Ages of Bond title song performers

Sheena Easton performing the title song of For Your Eyes Only

This week’s news that Billie Eilish will perform the title song of No Time to Die got a lot of attention.

Part of the reason was at 18  Eilish becomes the youngest singer for a Bond title song. With a birth date of Dec. 18, 2001, she’s the first Bond song performer to be born in the 21st century.

Out of curiosity, the blog checked out the ages of other Bond title song performers. What follows is a sampling. Ages listed are when their respective movies came out. In some cases, the movie was released after they had wrapped up work on the film

Singers in their 20s

–Sheena Easton, For Your Eyes Only, 22 (DOB: April 27, 1959)

–Sam Smith, Writing’s On The Wall (SPECTRE), 23 (DOB: May 19, 1992)

–Adele, Skyfall, 24 (DOB: May 5, 1988)

–Tom Jones, Thunderball, 25 (DOB: June 7, 1940)

–Lulu, The Man With the Golden Gun, 26 (DOB: Nov. 3, 1948)

–Shirley Bassey, Goldfinger, 27 (DOB: Jan. 8, 1937). Also recorded Diamonds Are Forever in 1971 and Moonraker in 1979.

–Alicia Keys, Another Way to Die (Quantum of Solace), 27, (DOB: Jan. 25, 1981). Song performed with Jack White, 33, at the time of the film’s release.

— Nancy Sinatra, You Only Live Twice, 27 (DOB: June 8, 1940)

Singers in their 30s

-Paul McCartney, 31, Live And Let Die (DOB: June 18, 1942). The group Wings also participated.

–Carly Simon, “Nobody Does It Better,” The Spy Who Loved Me, 32 (DOB: June 25, 1945)

–Matt Munro, From Russia With Love, 32 (DOB: Dec. 1, 1930). Song used in end titles, instrumental used in main titles.

–Sheryl Crow, Tomorrow Never Dies, 35 (DOB: Feb. 11, 1962)

–Rita Coolidge, “All Time High,” Octopussy, 38 (DOB: May 1, 1945)

Singers in their 40s

–Chris Cornell, “You Know My Name,” Casino Royale, 42 (DOB: July 20, 1964)

–Madonna, Die Another Day, 44 (DOB: Aug. 16, 1958)

–Gladys Knight, Licence to Kill, 45 (DOB: May 28, 1944)

Singers in their 50s

–Tina Turner, GoldenEye, 55 (DOB: Nov. 26, 1939)

Billie Eilish will perform, co-write NTTD’s title song

Billie Eilish photo that was included in Eon announcement

Billie Eilish will perform and co-write the title song for No Time to Die, Eon Productions said on its official Twitter account.

The song’s other co-writer is her brother, Finneas O’Connell, who performs under the name Finneas, according to the announcement.

Eilish’s Twitter account also had an announcement but it didn’t mention her brother’s participation in writing the song. Finneas O’Conell had his own comment on Instagram.

Prior to the announcement, Eilish had earlier posted images of Bond actresses on the story portion of her Instagram account.  The MI6 James Bond website reported Jan. 12 that Eilish, 18, would perform the song, becoming the youngest singer of a Bond title song.

Earlier in the morning, Variety ran a story concerning whether Eilish would be retained as title song performer. It included this analysis of how Eilish compares with previous Bond song performers.

If true, the choice of Eilish would be a dramatic change of direction for the legendary franchise’s long history of theme-song performers, which have progressed from Shirley Bassey to Paul McCartney and Duran Duran over the decades. More recent films have featured younger artists like Adele — who sang the smash hit “Skyfall” — and Sam Smith, both of whom, while contemporary artists in their 20s, are both British and create more adult-leaning music than Eilish: Her music is innovative and enormously popular, but her audience skews much younger than those artists’.

Eon yesterday announced that Hans Zimmer will do the score for the 25th James Bond film.

No Time to Die will continue a pattern where the title song is done separately from the score. A Bond film composer hasn’t been involved with a Bond title song since 2006’s Casino Royale, when David Arnold collaborated with Chris Cornell.