Billie Eilish Made an Emo Blockbuster James Bond Theme

Y/NY/N is a guide to the week’s music releases based on our highly scientific, non-subjective Yes/No rating system.

Ya: Billie Eilish, “No Time To Die” - “No Time To Die” isn’t Billie Eilish’s best, and she can’t be blamed—working within the confines of the James Bond series (which usually means forced lyrics about, like, sexy spy stuff... and orchestral refrains), she and her collaborator/brother Finneas managed to craft a beautiful song, but one that feels a bit out of character for them both. (The addition of legends like the Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and arrangements by Hans Zimmer may be responsible.) Still, the song is a romantic, blockbuster-sized dirge—and that is all a Bond theme song could ever hope to be. —Maria Sherman

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I get it: Mandy Moore, “Fifteen” - I never expected Mandy Moore to write a memoirist record, and then she went ahead and dropped the folksy “Fifteen.” The song recalls her adolescence as a teen pop superstar, but without whimsy or derision—she only has some clarity, now, of that time. “It’s been a full circle journey to embrace who I was as a teenager starting off in this industry and forgive my past self for judging her so harshly,” she wrote in a press release. “For years, I apologized for the creative output of that time but in the making of this new collection of music, I was able to process so much and have come to have great affection for that young girl, that part of me, because she’s the reason I’m here today.” The same could be said of the song. —MS

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Um: Sam Smith, “To Die For” (video) - In your dreams, do you envision floating heads haunting you from a storefront? What about a floating Sam Smith mannequin head? What about a floating Sam Smith mannequin head that also sings to you while you “wander down the avenue, so confused”? What about another head? And other dismembered heads? Well, that’s this video! Welcome to your wildest dream. In all seriousness, this is an okay, yearning lovers ballad. In all seriousness as well, it is creepy. —Clover Hope


Not for me: Grimes, “Delete Forever” - It is my understanding that Grimes wrote “Delete Forever” after the tragic passing of Lil Peep, specifically about the ongoing opioid epidemic. That’s noble, but the song itself reads incomplete—it’s more of a twangy demo than a full Grimes tune, and with a song meant to have some sort of a message, the fragmentation fails to feel purposeful. —MS

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Yes, 1000 percent: Special Interest, “Don’t Kiss Me in Public” - New Orleans no-wave punks Special Interest has been on my radar since a friend sent their track “Young, Gifted, Black, in Leather” to me back in 2018, but “Don’t Kiss Me in Public” is easily their best recording to date. It’s a bit atonal, driven by industrial synths and a screechy repetition of the lyrical line, “Get inside of me / get inside of me.” You know, it’s simply the perfect soundtrack to a very steamy (or muted, depending on how you identify in it) Valentine’s Day. I can’t wait to hear a full-length release. —MS

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Why? - RAC, Matthew Koma, and Hilary Duff, “Never Let You Go” - Imagine my surprise when I saw an unexpected song from Hilary Duff (and some other men, namely her new husband Matthew Koma and producer RAC) in my Spotify new releases playlist. The possibilities! Now imagine my overwhelming disappointment upon pressing play and realizing that it was actually just a cover of a Third Eye Blind song that absolutely nobody asked for. Lizzie McGuire deserved to be rebooted, but we can leave this song back in 1999 where it belongs. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve been bopping “Sparks” from Duff’s 2015 album for the last five years. Where is more of that? Hilary, why not take a crazy chance and record another solo album! —Lisa Fischer

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Hmm: The Strokes, “At The Door” - Let the record show that I’m a fan of the Strokes and I’m still eager to see what new music they release in the lead up to their upcoming album. But “At The Door” felt like waiting for a sneeze that never came. It was like rearing back, scrunching up your nose, taking that gulping inhale... and after all that, the sneeze just doesn’t materialize. The animation in the music video is definitely impressive, but the song left me feeling pretty bored. I kept hoping that a new element would come into the mix, lead into some sort of musical departure that would add a little more depth, but nope. Better luck with the next single, I guess! —Ashley Reese

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Sure, but this video is kind of goofy: Camila Cabello, DaBaby, “My Oh My” - Camila Cabello drives me nuts, but her singles are admittedly bangers and “My Oh My” is no exception. It’s the perfectly flirtatious earworm that I’m going to hear in every single Uber I’m in for the next eight months, and I won’t hate a single moment of it. But I need to talk about the music video, which features Cabello as a Hollywood starlet who is sick of playing damsels and wants to be the hero, with DaBaby as her director. This video is full of anachronisms which is absolutely fine. But the one that bothers the hell out of me for no real reason is that the fashion in the video seems to be hinting that this is set in the 1950s, but there’s a silent movie era theme throughout, which started to decline by the late 1920s. Why did they decide to blend those two very different Hollywood eras? This is such a petty critique, but it’s the first thing I thought of! Anyway, DaBaby is hot. That is all. —AR

Culture Editor, Jezebel

Opinions only sometimes my own. Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out now.

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DISCUSSION

mortal-dictata
Mortal Dictata

Remember when new Bond films had great themes... I sadly don’t because all the themes while I’ve been alive have been rather meh. I mean Eilish’s is... alright but it seems pretty standard fare, pretty much the Sam Smith one without the teeth-grindingly bad high-pitched stuff he does.

Hell the whole Craig era feels like trying to redo the Dalton era but with none of the charisma, charm, grit, or a version of Britain that still had some standing in the world as, let’s be honest, the Bond franchise is entirely tied to Britain having an empire and doesn’t work without it.

(also I’m pretty sure Goldeneye is a Dalton script they dusted off and stuck a tacky ending on given most of it is about loyalties falling apart after the fall of the Soviet Union and 007 more of a hasbeen)