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Billie Eilish’s “No Time To Die” embodies the essence of James Bond: a familiar combination of suspense, sorrow, and sincerity. Through an echoing abyss, minor piano keys whisper beneath an ascendant string opening. Eilish’s sweetly somber vocals swim smoothly through the gloomy atmosphere, captivating her audience while conveying a story of betrayal and growing apathy between lovers.
Her newly released track perfectly captures both the mood of previous James Bond themes and Eilish’s own famously melancholy sound. Eilish’s music is often preoccupied with darkness, particularly in the form of heartbreak and the emptiness that accompanies it. These themes are especially evident on songs like “everything i wanted” and “when the party’s over,” where she sings, “Quiet when I'm coming home and I'm on my own / And I could lie, say I like it like that, like it like that.” “No Time To Die,” embodies a similar atmosphere, present even in the first verse: “I should have known / I'd leave alone / Just goes to show / That the blood you bleed is just the blood you owe.” Eilish’s depiction of love here mirrors previous James Bond theme songs, where the singer and their lover indulge in a toxic, manipulative relationship that leaves them ultimately empty.
“No Time To Die” intimately depicts this deceptive, apathetic love with its straightforward but meaningful lines and simple melody. This melody sets the mood of the music and supports the overall message Eilish conveys. One must ask, however, whether Eilish is speaking about a physical or emotional death when she sings “There’s just no time to die,” and what deeper implications the piece may hold.
Eilish has a well-known preoccupation with death, but this consistency of death- and apathy-related themes brings forth a well-warranted question: Is it dangerous for Eilish to frequently return to these dejected emotions in her work, and what type of impact does this reinforce on today’s youth? Is Eilish a negative influence on maturing adolescents who do not yet understand themselves? And should society put restrictions on underage listeners overindulging in music with such negative messages, or place disclaimers on the music itself (such as those on songs with explicit lyrics) to warn listeners of troubling content?
With the rise of warning labels and audience-maturity ratings throughout the entertainment industry, the continual discussion of these issues is particularly essential; Eilish, with her powerful influence over a predominantly-young fanbase, will no doubt continue to occupy a prominent role in that conversation. These questions do not have easy answers — but perhaps, in the case of “No Time to Die,” they don’t need to. For if Eilish’s project is simply to make a great Bond theme song, then she has, without a doubt, succeeded.
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