This is a deluxe 50th Anniversary James Bond CD. The first CD features all of the Bond theme songs up through Quantum of Solace’s Another Way to Die. These songs are variable certainly, but when they’re great, they’re really great. When they’re bad . . . well, they’re pretty bad, but it’s still a fun experience to hear them all in a sequence, part of one very long song suite. But CD 2 is where the real gold is. It features 27 tracks of score selections and odd songs that weren’t themes. So, you get a jazzy version of Live & Let Die from the middle of the film; and k.d. lang’s Surrender, which was originally planned as the theme to Tomorrow Never Dies; and the two songs The Pretenders did for The Living Daylights; and Moby’s remix of the Bond theme; and Shirley Bassey’s recording of Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang which was the original theme for Thunderball. Plus a lot of wonderful orchestral stuff. It’s structured in chronological order and there’s an extra song or a bit of score from every film. They range from intense action sequences to lilting, lovely pieces (the inclusion of David Arnold’s Vesper at the very end of the record is the pitch perfect way to start bringing things down for the conclusion). There are some lame songs, as we all know, and a few of the score selections aren’t as good as others (I’m sorry, but the score to Moonraker just doesn’t sit well next to Marvin Hamlisch’s brilliant Pyramids theme from Spy Who Loved Me). But, on the whole, I had an absolute blast with this CD. Oh, yes, the sound quality is lovely, from thumping bass to sweeping strings to soaring vocals. Be sure to get the 2012 edition with two discs; this has been rereleased under the same title countless times; there’s even an alternate version in 2012 that doesn’t include the second disc and you definitely want that second disc. Recommended. 3 ½ stars.
tl;dr – album rounds up all the Bond themes along with a second disc of oddities, rarities and score selections; far from consistent, but entertaining – much like the franchise itself. 3 ½ stars.