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After months of speculation, Sam Smith finally confirmed on September 8 that he would be performing the latest James Bond theme for Spectre, titled The Writing’s On The Wall. The UK artist is stepping into some very intimidating shoes, with fellow Brit Adele earning an Oscar win in 2012 for Skyfall, the most recent James Bond theme.
The new theme is officially out today and Smith spoke with BBC Radio 1 host Nick Grimshaw about the nerves surrounding the release of The Writing’s On The Wall, saying, “I haven’t really felt pressure with Bond until the last few days. Now I’m so nervous about what people are going to think about it.”
Creating the song with frequent collaborators Disclosure, Smith says the Bond theme was written in 20 minutes and without expectation. “With the writing of the song, I was actually recording the vocals to Lay Me Down in the studio and in one of our breaks, Jimmy started playing some chords and we went away that day and we wrote so quick. I wasn’t feeling pressure at the time, which is why I think it came so easily, maybe, but now I’m scared.”
Always a perfectionist, the four-time Grammy winner said, “I’m never happy with my vocals, ever. There’s always a moment I have to let go with my vocals and just accept that if other people are saying it’s good, then it’s good.” Sam continued, saying that The Writing’s On The Wall is “a song I look back to now and I fall in love with it each time. It’s a grower, this one. It takes a few listens, which is a good thing, I think.”
Surprisingly, no James Bond theme has ever hit number one on the charts, a feat that Smith doesn’t think will be achieved with The Writing’s On The Wall. “This song isn’t a big pop song. It’s a classic Bond song. That’s what I wanted it to be.”
The latest Bond theme does indeed stick with the classic model, most easily compared to Adele’s Skyfall, Sheryl Crow’s Tomorrow Never Dies and Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger, as opposed to the more radio-friendly themes put forth by Madonna and Paul McCartney.
As Smith points out himself, The Writing’s On The Wall is a song that grows on you and we think a few more listens may do the trick. Plus, having Adele as the most recent Bond singer is no easy comparison.
Daniel Craig returns as James Bond in Spectre on November 6.