Original Soundtrack

The Living Daylights [Extra Tracks]

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John Barry started on the James Bond movies before the Beatles had even broken out of Liverpool, and his last score in the series to date, The Living Daylights, intersects with the work of A-ha and the Pretenders -- what's amazing is that it all works. Barry successfully adapts his compositional technique to the leaner, smoother pop/rock and soundtrack requirements of the late '80s, composing music that is memorable and evocative, if not quite as cutting edge as his material on the 1960s Bond scores. "The Sniper Was a Woman" is the track that comes closest to his classic work in the series, with its long string passages and sonorous horn parts, and "Ice Chase" recalls some of the textural elements of the music accompanying the ski and bobsled chases in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The 2003 CD offers significantly improved sound as well as the inclusion of 31 additional minutes of music, mostly short cues assembled from sections of the score that were left off of the original LP (this was the last Bond soundtrack planned for or released on LP) -- it's a cornucopia of John Barry action music, worth the new purchase and certainly worth the listening for the subtleties that are picked up in this edition; at its best, the additional material balances out the A-ha and Pretenders cuts, which took up three of the 12 tracks on the original LP, and restores the darker atmosphere of the full score and the mood of the movie itself. The annotation is very thorough, though too much space is given to discussing the switch in casting from Roger Moore to Timothy Dalton, where the score could have handled more analysis. The only complaint is the producers' decision to package the CD insert as a poster that requires multiple unfoldings or refoldings, rather than as an easier-to-use booklet.