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Bill Conti

For Your Eyes Only [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] [Remastered]

Format: CD   Release Date: 04/25/2000
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When the James Bond film series entered the '80s, the producers decided it was time to give the series a makeover. The result was For Your Eyes Only, a tougher film that downplayed the wisecracks, gimmicks and comic book elements that dominated the Bond films of the '70s. This film was also noticeable for replacing regular series soundtrack composer John Barry with Bill Conti, a composer best known for his work on the Rocky films. Conti keeps For Your Eyes Only's score full of symphonic grandeur and spy film theatrics, but also adds several new elements to update the sound to fit the early '80s. For instance, Conti adds elements of dance and funk music to the action cues: "A Drive in the Country" and "Melina's Revenge" both work funky basslines, roaring electric guitar leads and whooping synthesizer lines in with the standard orchestral elements. The modernized tone also extends to the film's Sheena Easton theme song: it replaces the lush strings and brassy orchestrations that typically dominated Bond theme songs with a minimalist style built on synthesizers. However, Conti proves elsewhere that he could comfortably write music in the traditional vein without utilizing any electronic or pop elements: "Take Me Home" is a lovely romantic interlude that highlights a gentle flugelhorn solo against a backdrop of lush orchestrations, and "St. Cyril's Monastery" is a taut suspense cue that builds from atmospheric strings into a brassy reinterpretation of the "James Bond Theme." Purists may complain that the pop elements Conti incorporates into this score date it, but there is no denying that the overall soundtrack is tight and skillfully written. In the end, For Your Eyes Only stands as one of the best James Bond film scores of the '80s. In 2000, in order to match the remastering and expansion of the earlier James Bond film soundtracks controlled by EMI, Rykodisc released a remastered and expanded version of For Your Eyes Only. In addition to dramatically improved fidelity, the latter was expanded from 12 to 19 tracks, and the bonus material -- appended to the existing 12-track master -- was especially notable for showcasing the scoring of the movie's underwater sequences, as well as several of the extended action scenes. "Sub vs. Sub," in particular, is an orchestral tour de force with wonderfully vivid writing for the strings, and could easily pass for concert music, and by itself is justification for owning the Rykodisc version. ~ Donald A. Guarisco Bruce Eder, Rovi

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