Happy Anniversary: Madonna, “Die Another Day”

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Happy Anniversary: Madonna, “Die Another Day”

12 years ago today, Madonna released the title song to the 20th film in the long-running James Bond franchise…or the 22nd if you count the original 1967 version of Casino Royale and 1983’s Never Say Never Again. (We know some of you do count those, so we figured we’d better acknowledge their existence.)

It’s hardly shocking that the Bond folks were interested in having Madonna take a shot at doing a title song, given that A) she’s Madonna, and B) she’d had a considerable amount of success with her contributions to other soundtracks, including “This Used to Be My Playground (A League of Their Own), “I’ll Remember” (With Honors), “Beautiful Stranger” (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me), and – to a decidedly lesser extent – her cover of Don McLean’s “American Pie” (The Next Best Thing).

Madonna herself was somewhat less certain about signing on, however, explaining to Larry King that she “hemmed and hawed about it for a while because…everybody wants to do the theme song of a James Bond movie, and I never liked to do what everybody else likes to do. It's just some perverse thing in me, right? So, but then I thought about it and I said, ‘You know what? James Bond needs to get techno, so...”

As with many Bond themes, some loved it and others hated it, but it certainly sounds as though Madonna may have started out less interested in adapting her musical sensibilities to mesh with the established format of a Bond theme than in saying, “Here’s what I’ve got, now let’s see what you can do to make it work on your end.” In the end, however, the combination of her contributions, the additional contributions by co-writer Mirwais Ahmadzai, and the strings conducted by Michel Colombier turned “Die Another Day” into another top-10 US hit for Madonna while also giving her a top-five UK hit.

vNow that it’s a dozen years later, how does “Die Another Day” hold up for you? Do you consider it one of the best Bond themes, one of the worst, or just fair to middling?