It’s one of the most famous exchanges in cinematic history. “Do you expect me to talk?” “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.” Now, 56 years later after Auric Goldfinger and James Bond’s iconic scene in Goldfinger, Billie Eilish, 18, has flipped the script on its head with her theme for the upcoming No Time To Die. The eponymous song, released on Feb. 13, perfectly melds the cinematic feel of Bond and Billie’s brooding, dream-like voice. “Fool me once, fool me twice/How you dare the paradise/Now you’ll never see me cry/There’s just no time to die,” she hauntingly sings in the track’s dramatic chorus. “Fool me once, fool me twice/You’ll never see me cry, there’s just no time to die,” she then sings, referencing the films title.
Billie co-wrote the song with old brother and frequent collaborator Finneas O’Connell, 22. The 18-year-old sings in her signature whisper voice on the track, which features a piano medley throughout. As the track builds suspense, Billie surprises us with her incredible range, belting out the chorus against a band of strings. “No time to die,” she sings again at the song’s climax.
At age 18, Billie now becomes the youngest performer to ever sing a James Bond theme. She also, according to Variety, “represents a dramatic change of direction for the legendary franchise’s long history of theme-song performers.” She also joins a club that features such iconic musicians like Paul McCartney & Wings (“Live and Let Die”), Shirley Bassey (“Goldfinger”), Nancy Sinatra, (“You Only Live Twice”), Tina Turner (“Goldeneye”) and Adele (“Skyfall.”)
“It feels crazy to be a part of this in every way. To be able to score the theme song to a film that is part of such a legendary series is a huge honor. James Bond is the coolest film franchise ever to exist. I’m still in shock,” she said in a statement, per Variety, that confirmed she was tapped to perform “No Time To Die.” Her brother and creative collaborator, Fineas, added that this a bucket-list accomplishment “There is no more iconic pairing of music and cinema than the likes of Goldfinger and Live And Let Die. We feel so so lucky to play a small role in such a legendary franchise. Long live 007.”
Fineas revealed how their involvement in No Time To Die came about. “We were not really ‘approached’ about it. We fought it out for a year,” he told the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast. “We’ve always wanted to write a James Bond theme song. And you know, it’s a legendary franchise, so we had to convince a lot of people that we were the right choice. And then we had to write a song that everybody liked. So, it was a hard-won process. But everybody that we worked with on it, Barbara Broccoli, the producer of the Bond franchise (alongside Michael G. Wilson), we got to work with Hans Zimmer and Steven Lipson in the studio — it was a real joy.”
“We’ve always loved James Bond movies,” he added, clarifying just how this is a big deal for him and Billie. “We’ve always loved that character IP (intellectual property). The songs in the James Bond franchise have always been significant in their own right, even down to ‘Live and Let Die’ and ‘Goldfinger’ and then through to ‘Skyfall’ and ‘You Know My Name’ by Chris Cornell and ‘Another Way to Die’ by Jack White and Alicia Keys. Those are songs that have bore real importance to our songwriting lives for years. It’s much deeper than just kind of going ‘this seems like a good opportunity’ you know what I mean? We really wanted to do it. It’s like a dream come true to us.”
Billie first teased that she was doing something 007-related by posting a series of photos of actresses — who all happened to be “Bond Girls,” aka women who appeared in a James Bond movie — to her Instagram Story. Eva Green, Halle Berry, and Lea Seydoux were among the photos, and it didn’t take long for fans to deduce that Billie was singing the theme. Before the speculation could get out of hand, she and the film’s producers confirmed the news on Jan. 14. A month later, the song is here!
No Time To Die hits theatres on April 10, 2020.