Many of Smith’s classic tracks (and the videos promoting them) focus on love, loss and death. Here he skillfully weaves the Bond iconography into that mix, with references to running, shooting, broken glass and facing the storm.
His lyrics also touch on the interior life that has emerged in recent Bond films – that of the hero’s essential loneliness. Faced with repeated loss and betrayal, Craig’s Bond has barricaded his emotions behind cold coping mechanisms. Yet Smith’s lyrics point to the plot development that casts doubt on Bond’s ability – or desire - to keep functioning as he previously has (see the film if you want to know more!):
I want to feel love, run through my blood
Tell me is this where I give it all up?
For you I have to risk it all
Cause the writing's on the wall.
The last line of the chorus is highlighted in the promo vid when, in a clip from the film, Bond sees his name scrawled on a deserted building. But take away that immediate context (as anyone listening to an audio recording would experience) and what does this well-known phrase actually mean?
A prophecy of judgementThe saying is popularly used to allude to any dire warning of the end of something. Smith’s Catholic background means that he would probably be familiar with the origins of the phrase:
- In the Old Testament book of Daniel, arrogant Persian king Belshazzar gives a feast where he drinks from sacred Jewish vessels. Then he sees a mysterious finger writing on the wall what amounts to a judgement on the king. He is frightened, and with good reason, for later that night he dies.
- Check out the original story at Daniel 5:3-6; Daniel 5:25-30
Check out the video below and enjoy: