Goldeneye – Tina Turner

Single: Goldeneye
Sung by: Tina Turner
Written by: Bono and The Edge
1995 EMI Records

Out of all the songs in the Bond universe, Goldeneye may be one of the hardest to appreciate, which may have you thinking that I believe the song to be one of the worst in the series. Far from it. That dubious distinction goes to Madonna and Die Another Day. In fact I quite like Goldeneye, but musically the world had changed a lot since Gladys Knight’s Licence to Kill in 1989. Unless you were Celine Dion, big power ballads were no longer in vogue. Quite possibly due to the length of time between Bond films – six years between 1989 and 1995 – synthesized sounds were more common place in the nineties. On first listen, Goldeneye almost doesn’t sound like a Bond song. It has a very pronounced drum machine beat, and the horns sounded rather thin compared to the bombast of Shirley Bassey or Tom Jones classics. But by the time the song hits the chorus and the strings kick it, with Tina’s voice soaring above it, all is forgiven.

Another psychological hurdle, although in reality no way connected, Goldeneye as a movie has an absolutely dreadful score. Eric Serra’s score is almost unlistenable, with some musical cues resembling nothing more than a cat running along the base end of a keyboard.

But the score to the film and the title song are different beasts. Writing duties for the title fell to Bono and the Edge from U2. But before I go any further, I think we should cast our eyes over the lyrics (because then later, you’ll understand what the hell I am rambling about).

See reflections on the water
more than darkness in the depths
see him surface in every shadow
on the wind I feel his breath

Goldeneye I found his weakness
Goldeneye he’ll do what I please
Goldeneye no time for sweetness
but a bitter kiss will bring him to his knees

You’ll never know how I watched you
from the shadows as a child
you’ll never know how it feels to be the one
who’s left behind
You’ll never know the days, the nights,
the tears, the tears I’ve cried
but now my time has come
and time, time is not on your side

See home move through smoke and mirrors
feel his presence in the crowd
other girls they gather around him
if I had him I wouldn’t let him out

Goldeneye not lace or leather
Golden chains take him to the spot
goldeneye I’ll show him forever
it’ll take forever to see
what I’ve got

You’ll never know how I watched you
from the shadows as a child
you’ll never know how it feels to be so close
and be denied
It’s a gold and honey trap
I’ve got for you tonight
Revenge it’s a kiss, this time I won’t miss
now I’ve got you in my sight
With a Goldeneye, golden, goldeneye
with a goldeneye, goldeneye.

Now the question on so many people’s lips, when the song was initially released, were Bono and The Edge’s lyrics about Pierce Brosnan rather than James Bond? After all, they are all from Ireland. Did they meet at a pub, knock down a few pints of Murphy’s and discuss the meaning of Bond? The clues are all in the last chorus to the song. Firstly:

You’ll never know how I watched you
from the shadows as a child

In Brosnan’s early interviews to promote Goldeneye he talked extensively about how as a young boy his first film he ever saw was Goldfinger. Here’s a snippet from an article appeared in the Ezy Entertainment magazine in July 1996:

Pierce Brosnan believes he was destined to play James bond. In fact, he says fate took matters into its own hands when he was just a child. How so? The very first film young Pierce saw was Goldfinger. And it’s an experience that is indelibly etched in his memory.

“I looked up at the big screen for the first time and I saw a naked lady and a cool man who could get out of any situation,” he recalls. “I was captivated, magicked, blown away. It stirred things in my loins I had never known before.”

Now I don’t know about you, but I’d suggest that Brosnan’s pubescent cinema experience would count as ‘watched you from the shadows as a child’. Next we have the cryptic couplet:

you’ll never know how it feels to be so close
and be denied

As many of you will be aware, Pierce Brosnan was offered the part of James Bond back in 1987 for the film The Living Daylights, but at the last moment, due to a contractual obligation with the television series Remmington Steele, Brosnan had to bow out. So close, but yet denied.

Next up:

It’s a gold and honey trap
I’ve got for you tonight

This time, not so cryptic. Particularly if the first time you ever heard this song was in a cinema over the titles to Goldeneye. Gold makes me think of Goldfinger. Honey makes me think of Honey Ryder – Ursula Andress – in Dr. No. So in this instance, now Brosnan is serving up a Bond film…meaning that the equilibrium has returned. He is now the incumbent Bond.

Revenge it’s a kiss, this time I won’t miss
now I’ve got you in my sight

All rather straight forward, indicating that now Brosnan has become Bond he’s going to give it his all and hold on to the role for as long as possible. And Bond is a role that Brosnan seems to treasure quite highly. Only last weekend, in the local paper there was a short retrospective snippet about Brosnan working with Quentin Tarrantino on Casino Royale (wasn’t that five or six years ago – move on!).

Am I reading too much into it?

As with so many singles these days, on this CD there are no bonus tracks, or what we used to call in the old days B-sides, but it does have three additional dance mixes of Goldeneye – an A/C Mix, Urban A/C Mix (by Dave Hall), and a Club Edit (by Dave Morales). All three of these remixes have managed to suck any soul, drama or emotion out of the song, leaving it a shallow and uninteresting series of beats. Not really worth listening to.

I think Goldeneye is a good Bond song. It may not be up there with the greats but it is better than some of the dross of recent years. Which brings me to the other tiny snippet of Bond information in my local paper over the weekend – rumours of Lady Gaga singing the next Bond song. Now I realise that at my age, I no longer fit into the major film going demographic – but none the less when a Bond film comes out, I go and see it on the first day (usually taking a day off work to do so). If I can finagle it, I will even go to advanced screenings (usually the Wednesday night before official release). And I am sure that I am not alone in this. Why can’t the producers and marketeers of the next Bond film throw us ‘oldies’ a bone, and use somebody that we can respect. You’ve got to remember Bond films are not just for the year they are released in. They get watched again and again, generation after generation and so when choosing an artist to sing the title song, some thought should be given to the future and the longevity of the film – and therefore making sure that the artist chosen is not just the ‘flavour of the month’, but somebody whose style and presentation are in keeping with the film.

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