David Arnold's first Bond score, Tomorrow Never Dies, was better than the film itself, and better than Sheryl Crow's theme song, which was one of the lamest entries in 007's history. The World Is Not Enough, the sequel to Tomorrow Never Dies, is a different matter entirely. The film was directed by Michael Apted, meaning it's the first time in a long while that the Bond franchise was given an established director with a reputation for making challenging films. He hired a great cast -- not just Pierce Brosnan, but Robert Carlisle, Denise Richards, Sophie Marceau, Judy Dench, and John Cleese -- and let Arnold run wild. The result is a terrific soundtrack, filled with excitement, melodrama, and romance. Musically, he runs the gamut from jazzy lounge music to exciting orchestral outbursts underpinned by techno. He also gets a first-class theme song from Garbage -- they expertly modernized the classic Bond sound, while turning in a strong melodic tune -- and, even more impressively, coaxed Scott Walker to contribute a moody, loungey closing song, "Only Myself to Blame." It's not among his best songs, but it's hard hearing Walker at the end of the record and film and wish that he could have sung the main theme, as well, since his stylish baritone perfectly fits Bond. Still, that's nitpicking, since this is the best Bond soundtrack in a long time.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
feat: Scott Walker