David Arnold’s arguably greatest Bond score has gotten a long-awaited expansion and remaster treatment from La-La Land Records, and it has honestly never sounded better.
I have always been a big fan of The World Is Not Enough (both the score and the movie itself) so when I heard La-La Land Records was tackling an expansion of it, I practically jumped for joy. It has unfortunately taken me rather a long time to get around to reviewing it (considering it came out November of last year) but I was lucky enough to attend Settling The Score last week, which was a concert “battle” between Michael Giacchino and David Arnold. One of the pieces of music that Arnold played for his side of the fight was Come In 007, Your Time Is Up, the major action cue from The World Is Not Enough, and hearing that fantastic track played live by orchestra was more than enough for me to finally kick this review into gear, so…here we are.
The album begins with Gun Barrel/Bond Has Left The Building, and Arnold hits all the right notes pretty much straight away with one of the best renditions of the gun barrel Bond theme ever composed. There’s just something about the combination and timings of the strings and percussion elements here that just makes the sequence so…satisfying. The action then kicks off at about the one minute mark with an explosive burst of brass followed by frantic, fast-paced strings, and immediately we are catapulted into the glorious 90s-esque loud-and-proud action style that Arnold is so revered for. The Bond theme starts to build up in the background and soon joins the fast-paced fray briefly before the track then draws to a satisfying brass-heavy close. We truly don’t get film scores like this anymore.
The standout cue of the album actually comes fairly early on in the form of (you guessed it) Come In 007, Your Time Is Up. Not only is it by far the best track to come out of this score, it’s also for me one of the greatest action cues that David Arnold has ever composed. A fast pace is established straight away with loud percussion in combination with the now standard John Barry-style brass, and soon we are introduced to a new theme – the main motif from The World Is Not Enough main title song (which was also composed by David Arnold) hereby dubbed the TWINE (short for the film’s title) theme. Utilising motifs from the songs was always a strong point of Arnold’s Bond scores (see; Casino Royale), and it’s certainly no different here. After a few dramatic renditions of that and one of the composer’s returning action themes from Tomorrow Never Dies, things then quieten down and the tone becomes solemn for a moment. It’s just for that however, as the percussion then starts to build and the Bond theme starts to appear, and before long the orchestra practically explodes with a heroic and particularly epic rendition of the theme to bring the standout cue to an absolutely perfect finish.
Tensions are running high in subsequent cue Balloon with loud brass that then segues rather nicely into The World Is Not Enough, the main title song sung by Garbage. As Bond songs go it’s pretty 90s, and I won’t pretend to be an expert on songs in general, but I think its pretty good. Not the best of them (that award would go to Chris Cornell’s You Know My Name) but certainly up there. Notably, the backing orchestra and the vocals here sound absolutely fantastic, so props to La-La Land Records for a solid remastering job there. Access Denied is up next, with light electronics opening the piece with a sombre rendition of the TWINE theme before then introducing a rather ominous-sounding piano to end the cue.
Deep strings and almost Middle Eastern-sounding vocals play a rather enjoyable TWINE and Bond thematic combination in Welcome to Baku, a musical moment which sadly only lasts a minute or so before the score moves into Snow Business, a track that’s so good it pretty much makes you forget Baku entirely. Soaring brass opens the piece accompanied by rapid strings, playing the first few notes of the TWINE theme in gloriously epic-sounding fashion before then sadly finishing up just as quickly as it arrived. There are a lot of little musical moments on this album where Arnold absolutely shines as a composer, and this is most certainly one of them. The action then gets kicked back into gear with Ice Bandits, which begins with a particularly frantic rendition of the TWINE motif in combination with rapid percussion and several bursts of brass. With tensions high, strings then come to the forefront in the back half of the track, tearing forwards in particularly dramatic fashion with the music then after a few seconds bringing itself to a rapid and rather frenzied close.
Another theme then gets its introduction in Out Of The Snow; a motif for Elektra, the Bond girl/villain of the film. It’s a slow, almost sad piece of music that utilises strings to great effect, and much like the main TWINE motif it recurs throughout the album. One rather prominent subsequent appearance is on woodwinds in Casino, where the theme becomes even more melancholic in combination with blues-esque brass and an almost jazzy piano. These thematic displays then culminate in the two-minute-long Elektra’s Theme, where the motif gets an initially piano-based and similarly solemn playthrough before then switching up into sweeping strings for the rather wistful back half of the cue. Overall, the theme gets quite a workout over these few tracks, fleshing it out as one of the more enjoyable non-action aspects of the score.
The TWINE theme gets a particularly warm rendition at the beginning of Welcome To Kazakhstan, followed closely by sweeping strings that play a few notes from a rather tense-sounding Bond theme before the next action setpiece is upon us; Going Down/The Bunker. This nine-minute track is one of the more prominent features of this expanded score, as it extends the original score’s Bunker cue by an additional three minutes, adding more atmosphere, action and notably a short but rather heroic rendition of the Bond theme towards the end that was curiously omitted from the 1999 album. The action then continues in subsequent track Pipeline, with (rather interestingly) a fast-paced piano taking the forefront, building tension to great effect in combination with the now-backgrounded orchestra, which then becomes more and more prominent as time goes on until an epic crescendo is reached right as the track arrives at a particularly dramatic finale.
Ominous percussion opens the now extended Caviar Factory, with some very John Barry-esque strings occupying the background to further the increasingly 60s-Bond-style tone. Before long though the loud and dramatic David Arnold brass makes its return with a loud, foreboding and particularly villainous rendition of the new TWINE theme. Fast-paced 90s percussion joins the fray and the action then truly begins, as the Bond theme arrives in all its glory and we are treated to four minutes of pure orchestral heroism. After that, things die down slightly for a rather pensive rendition of Elektra’s theme at the start of Submarine Surfaces before the brass then starts to build up again in a particularly evil-sounding manner. The TWINE theme then makes a slow, solemn and strings-based appearance in Bomb, with little bursts of brass playing at various intervals to indicate the imminent arrival of the score’s action-centric finale.
Elektra’s theme gets a rather solemn and strings-heavy farewell towards the end of I Never Miss before things then start to ramp back up for the finale, starting with the curiously-titled Submarine #1. Deep brass accompanied by marching percussion opens the piece, followed swiftly by an unusually ominous and hesitant-sounding rendition of the Bond theme before the music segues into a brief appearance from the piano motif heard in Pipeline. Rapid strings, tense electronics and loud brass take up the remainder of the track, with Submarine #2 then continuing where it left off. Much like the previous cue #2 contains much in the way of dramatic brass, frantic strings and many a short rendition of the TWINE theme, which are used quite effectively throughout to play action and build tension until the music finally crescendoes in Sub Gets It, where the TWINE and Bond themes come together to arrive at a rather loud and triumphant finish.
A piano plays the opening notes of the TWINE motif in repeating and rather romantic succession in Christmas In Turkey, with the Bond theme then making a short strings appearance right at the end. To close out the expanded score we are then treated to a previously completely unreleased track; Orbis Non Sufficit – the four-minute end credits rendition of David Arnold’s rather electronics-heavy take on the Bond theme. Annoyingly this isn’t actually the film version of the cue, with the album producers opting to omit the opening forty seconds or so as it apparently contained tracked score from Tomorrow Never Dies. As a result of this I do feel that the track suffers slightly with a rather unimpressive opening, but after that it rapidly picks up with a highly enjoyable concoction of elements from Come In 007, Your Time Is Up mixed with several electronic renditions of the Bond theme, and all-in it’s very 90s, extremely David Arnold and frankly a pretty perfect finale to this absolutely amazing score.
Overall, David Arnold’s score for The World Is Not Enough was always great, and La-La Land Records’ fantastic expansion and remaster of it has somehow managed to elevate it even higher. Themes like the main TWINE and Elektra motifs are now more fleshed out, missing action elements from the original album have been re-added and overall to be honest it’s just nice to get more 90s-style David Arnold. This loud, heroic, sometimes over-the-top (but that’s what makes it great) and frankly epic style for scoring Bond was always what I liked best about the Pierce Brosnan era, and in my opinion is exactly what the franchise is missing nowadays.
In conclusion, The World Is Not Enough is David Arnold action scoring at its finest, so it’s obviously absolutely fantastic. Can’t wait for Tomorrow Never Dies, La-La Land Records. Hint hint.
Standout Cue: 3. Come In 007, Your Time Is Up
Buy the 2-CD The World Is Not Enough expanded set from La-La Land Records right here.