Soundtrack Review: The World is Not Enough

Composed by: David Arnold

Conducted by: Nicholas Dodd

The World is Not Enough was generally well-liked. It has a pretty good storyline, very unique, but for some reason a good number of fans don’t care much for it. Thanks to the smashing success of his music for Tomorrow Never Dies, David Arnold returned. After a great score for the aforementioned film, David Arnold was officially the new musician for James Bond, and was the first after John Barry to actually get to a second outing.

This time Arnold was able to provide the opening title song, which of course shares its title with the movie. It’s a good song, and weaves in a bit of the James Bond theme at the end. Usually only three notes, the “not enough” portion of the song, is used frequently, with the following melody distinguishing its use in certain scenes. There’s a romantic version that soars in Snow Business” which regrettably was only available via David Arnold’s website instead of the actual album. It is present on piano in “Christmas in Turkey”. There’s an action variation that is introduced in “Come in, 007, Your Time is Up” and more notably in “Ice Bandits”.

As with Tomorrow Never Dies, Arnold provides a liberal amount of themes and motifs. Sophia Marceau’s character Elektra King warrants her own theme (“Elektra’s Theme”). It’s an appropriately sad piece that debuts in “M’s Confession” and shows up often. The song on the album’s last track, slow lounge number “Only Myself to Blame” by Scott Walker, actually has the theme towards its beginning. Walker’s song was originally going to play over the end credits, but was replaced by rendition of the James Bond theme with references to the main movie theme. It’s not a bad song, but it lacks the energy and drama of other Bond songs. The instrumental track that most reflects “Only Myself to Blame” is “Casino”, a rather relaxing cue.

There are a couple notable suspense/villain motifs. One is the repeating descending four-note motif introduced in Tomorrow Never Dies. It’s much more prominent in this score, though it doesn’t make its first appearance until “Going Down/The Bunker”. Its most sustained playing is in “Pipeline”. The other motif appears bombastically in “Caviar Factory” and “Submarine”.

David Arnold still liberally applies James Bond’s theme, but not to the level of Tomorrow Never Dies. It’s heavily noticeable, but the only tracks where it really takes over are “Come in, 007, Your Time is Up” and “Caviar Factory”. In many of the other tracks it will often just appear for a few seconds, for example the heroic statement when the action starts in “Going Down/The Bunker”.

The first two score tracks actually segue right into each other in a rather unnecessary move. Nevertheless they feature an invigorating chase cue with new variations of James Bond’s theme and the main title theme. It quickly becomes apparent that David Arnold has bulked up on the electronics, usually running under the orchestra and interjecting in various ways. This move has annoyed many film music fans and some of those who prefer John Barry’s music. I don’t find them too distracting, though I have to admit that most of the action cues would play just fine without them.

The main theme returns in a nice short electronic cue labeled “Access Denied” and later amidst wailing vocals and the Bond theme in the wonderful “Welcome to Baku”. The main theme receives a full action treatment in “Ice Bandits” (this track may have inspired the main menu music on the N64 game). “Body Double” is a neat three-minute stealth cue and is actually quite light-hearted. A couple of the tracks around this point, “Remember Pleasure and Torture Queen” descend into dark underscore, but sadly are a bit underwhelming. “Caviar Factory” starts off slow, but about a minute in explodes into very raucous piece, with a heavily electronized James Bond theme.

“Submarine” is the ten-minute climax and features several suspense motifs. It starts with a propulsive rhythm and the James Bond theme. It slows down with another rhythm before burst of action. After a middle portion that really conveys the perilous situation Bond finds himself in, there is a last act with furious action, climaxing triumphantly with the James Bond theme. By not outright stating James Bond’s theme until the last minute, Arnold makes its appearance effective. This is actually a common method in Arnold’s scores, where the last action cue will go through various moods until the James Bond theme triumphantly emerges at the end. Some people regard this lengthy cues as a bunch of noise, but I just love them. “Christmas in Turkey” delivers the main theme for one last time and the album closes out with the jazzy “Only Myself to Blame” which sounds very subdued a relaxing listen after the loud orchestral/techno score.

The World is Not Enough is nice change of pace from Tomorrow Never Dies. Ironically, despite thickening many of the action pieces with electronics, it’s a comparatively more subdued score (it still has plenty of noisy moments), with softer romantic themes, less lengthy versions of the James Bond theme, and more I the way of dark underscore. I think this is a tremendous work by David Arnold, but it doesn’t match the consistently entertaining Tomorrow Never Dies.

Rating: 8/10

Tracklisting

  1. The World is Not Enough (performed by Garbage) (3:55)
  2. Show Me the Money (1:28)
  3. Come in, 007, Your Time is Up (5:19)
  4. Access Denied (1:33)
  5. M’s Confession (1:32)
  6. Welcome to Baku (1:41)
  7. Casino (2:55)
  8. Ice Bandits (3:52)
  9. Elektra’s Theme – The Bedroom (2:06)
  10. Body Double (3:00)
  11. Going Down/The Bunker (6:27)
  12. Pipeline (4:15)
  13. Remember Pleasure (2:45)
  14. Caviar Factory (6:01)
  15. Torture Queen (2:22)
  16. I Never Miss (3:32)
  17. Submarine (10:19)
  18. Christmas in Turkey (1:27)
  19. Only Myself to Blame (sung by Scott Walker) (3:37)
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