Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Quantum of Songstress

This year I've been reading Ian Fleming's original James Bond novels, and a couple of weeks ago I finished For Your Eyes Only, one of two Bond anthologies. This one features "Quantum of Solace," a short story about love, betrayal and cold revenge. Atypically, this isn't an espionage story; Bond, desperately bored during an obligatory diplomatic function, winds up conversing with a man who explains his theory of human relations by way of telling a story about a broken marriage. Bond is fascinated, and by the tale's end he realizes that everyday human drama is far more compelling than his own empty life of intrigue. I've been pleasantly surprised by the literary Bond, and "Quantum of Solace" may be my favourite Bond adventure so far.

Reading "Quantum of Solace" reminded me of the last Bond film, Quantum of Solace, which has only a tangential, metaphorical connection to the short story the film is named for. As a fan of the film (and all Bond films), I watched the opening sequence again, seen below:

While I believe Alicia Keys is a talented artist, her Bond song leaves me a little cold, especially compared to the note-perfect "You Know My Name" from the previous Bond film, Casino Royale. But thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I discovered a rejected theme for Quantum of Solace, one I feel would have served the film better. I can't embed this one, but I urge Bond fans to view the video here.

The producers rejected this latter theme, but I think Eva Almer's powerful, operatic ballad far more Bond-esque than Keys' effort, with the soaring, bombastic, exciting yet somehow mournful sound of the best Bond tunes. And for extra bonus points, "quantum of solace" is used as a lyric without sounding forced - an impressive feat all on its own. I wish the filmmakers had chosen it.

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