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The real meaning behind Adele’s ‘Skyfall’ Bond theme

Posted at 2:30 pm, October 5, 2012 in Arts & Entertainment, Music & Nightlife

We’re on the brink of the release of another Bond film, so the following things will inevitably happen: there’ll be a lot more pictures of Daniel Craig in small blue shorts in the press; people will start arguing, Alan Partridge-style, about which is the greatest Bond film; there’ll be a new theme song– one which somehow draws an extended metaphor out of the film’s title. This last part of the package is what Tottenham soul juggernaut Adele has been signed up to produce, and she’s delivered the goods. ‘Skyfall‘ is a seductive, noirish ballad about nothing in particular. And yet, it sounds exactly like a Bond song should, which is basically music to have sex to… and then die.

Still, within its lyrical complexities there are hidden themes to pick up on. We take a look.

‘This is the end’

Cleverly, this isn’t the end of the song, but the beginning. Of course, The Doors song ‘The End’ opens with the same lyrics, before leading the listener into a homicidal wig-out. Will the same happen here? No.

‘Hold your breath and count to ten
Feel the earth move and then
Hear my heart burst again’

You know that James Bond is good in bed, right? He’s not only good. He’s the very best – he’s to the female body what Garry Kasparov is to the chess set; what Carol Vorderman is to maths puzzles. This is basically what these lyrics are about.

‘For this is the end
I’ve drowned and dreamed this moment
So overdue, I owe them
Swept away, I’m stolen’

We’re not quite sure who Adele is owing at this point. It might be a coded reference to ‘Skyfall’s delayed release due to studio MGM’s financial difficulties? It might be just that ‘owe them’ kinda’, sorta’ (but not really) rhymes with ‘moment’? Who knows. Basically, it’s the same idea as the verse before: the cycle of Bond; Eros and Thanatos; sex and death; doing ‘it’ and then getting shot at by some Russians, or whoever.

‘Let the sky fall, when it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together
At skyfall’

‘Skyfall’ is the name of the new Bond movie. Hence Adele is here singing, ‘Let the sky fall’, thus incorporating the name of the film into the song. Yep, that’s about the sum of it.

‘Skyfall is where we start
A thousand miles and poles apart
When worlds collide, and days are dark’

Bond wouldn’t be Bond without exotic locations. Hence, when he’s bedded some poor woman in Japan he’s quickly off to Ecuador to shoot someone in the back of the head. When will you ladies learn, the man is not into long distance relationships?

‘You may have my number, you can take my name
But you’ll never have my heart’

This might seem like a reference to CCTV society and Big Brother-esque social monitoring. It’s not. It’s actually what Adele used to say to chancers using pick-up lines on her around the pubs of Tottenham.

‘Where you go I go,
What you see I see
I know I’ll never be me, without the security
Are your loving arms
Keeping me from harm?’

Er, the answer here is no. Everyone knows that Bond girls don’t do that well after they’ve given it up. Think about Gemma Arterton, or that one who rode the horse in ‘Casino Royale’. You’ve been warned.

‘Let the sky fall, when it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together
At skyfall’

And that about wraps it up. Just the 12 references to the name of the film in the lyrics, then. Adele’s song does exactly what it ought to. It’s sultry, sad but not desperate, and it has a few strains of the original theme in it for good measure. It might be predictable and even a bit dull, but it’s Bond for god’s sake, no-one’s asking anyone to reinvent the wheel. You can easily imagine some naked silhouetted girls prancing about over this song during ‘Skyfall’s opening credits. And frankly, that’s good enough.  Jonny Ensall

Read more about Skyfall and vote for your favourite Bond film of all time

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