|1.||Nobody Does It Better||Carly Simon||3:32|
|2.||Bond 77 (James Bond Theme)||4:22|
|3.||Ride to Atlantis||3:30|
|5.||Nobody Does It Better (Instrumental)||4:47|
|11.||End Titles - Nobody Does It Better||Carly Simon||3:25|
| ||36:16| Submit your review
The Bond films have never been about high art, indeed they are about as implausible and dopey as action movies get, but the talent behind making them has always been of a fairly high calibre, extending of course to the music. Unfortunately, The Spy Who Loved Me is a fairly weak film, at the stage when they were swerving dangerously towards self parody. Only once previously had Barry not been on board and that resulted in a pretty feeble effort from George Martin. Unfortunately, this second occasion of Barry's absence is just as keenly felt when Marvin Hamlisch was employed to provide the score.
Hamlisch is better known as a song writer and that is pretty obvious once the title song has finished. In fact, Nobody Does It Better is one of my favourite Bond songs, although the score is one of my least favourite (just pipped by the truly dire Goldeneye). The song isn't in the traditional Barry style - there are no surging brass licks and the singing is somewhat less diva-ish than Shirley Bassey - but as a vanity boost to the already ego fueled Mr Bond, is marvellous and instantly memorable. I'm always amused that Carly Simon sang this and yet is most famous for You're So Vain, clearly at odds with the sentiment of Nobody Does it Better. After such a memorable song, the score is depressingly forgettable.
1977 (the year of my birth in case you're curious) was the year of disco and so Bond 77 provides us with a somewhat ill advised 'update' to the Bond theme for the days of disco. Some curious reverb effects are also employed on the brass which don't improve the already flaccid recording. Ride to Atlantis isn't actually too bad, although it is fairly simplistic and aimless, but doesn't seem that bad when listening. Mojave Club is naff source music, but the quiet instrumental of Nobody Does It Better is passable, although the electric guitar and sax solos make it feel more dated than the vocal version. Hamlisch does manage a couple of reasonable action cues, indeed The Tanker is quite exciting and does have a pleasing Barry edge to it, even if it is almost laughably melodramatic. Perhaps the most surprising cue is the Conclusion which bursts into an almost epic choral passage, evidently attempting to elevate Bond to Biblical proportions. Strange, but briefly thrilling.
Not an unmitigated disaster, but still fairly disappointing, particularly after the quality of the song. Admittedly, the brief running time must surely omit some cues that may lend the score more coherence, but as it stands, the album is an almost unconnected series of musical episodes. Neither the Bond theme nor the title theme appear outside of their designated cues and most of the other ideas are fairly vague melodically, neither making a big impression on their own or developing into anything that can stick in the mind. Now the inevitable punch line. When it comes to Bond scores, Nobody Does It Better than John Barry. Sad but true.