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Writing's on the Wall (Sam Smith song)

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Writing's on the Wall (Sam Smith song)

"Writing's on the Wall"
Single by Sam Smith
Released 25 September 2015
Format
Recorded 2015:
RAK Studios
Abbey Road Studios
The Pierce Rooms
Genre Orchestral pop
Length 4:38
Label Capitol
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
Sam Smith chronology
"Omen"
(2015)
"Writing's on the Wall"
(2015)
"Drowning Shadows"
(2015)
James Bond theme chronology
"Skyfall"
(2012)
"Writing's on the Wall"
(2015)
Music video
"Writing's on the Wall" on YouTube

"Writing's on the Wall" is a song by English recording artist Sam Smith; it is the theme song of the 2015 James Bond film Spectre. The song was released as a digital download on 25 September 2015.[1] The song was written by Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes, and produced by the latter alongside Steve Fitzmaurice and Disclosure. It received mixed reviews, especially when compared to previous Bond themes.[2][3][4][5] The mixed reception to the song led to Shirley Bassey trending on Twitter on the day it was released.[6][7] The single became the first Bond movie theme to reach number 1 in the UK Singles Chart.

Contents

  • Background 1
  • Composition 2
  • Critical reception 3
  • Commercial performance 4
  • Track listing 5
  • Credits and personnel 6
  • Charts 7
  • Certifications 8
  • Release history 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11

Background

The song was co-written by Smith and Jimmy Napes.[8] Smith said the song came together in one whirlwind session. He and collaborator Jimmy Napes wrote it in under half an hour and quickly recorded a demo. When they listened back to that recording, they were so pleased with Smith's vocal performance that they ended up using it on the final release—albeit with some added muscle in the arrangement.[9] On 8 September 2015 Sam Smith announced that he was singing the song for the James Bond film Spectre. He described performing the theme as "one of the highlights of my career".[10]

Composition

The song is written in the key of F minor with a tempo of 66 beats per minute. Smith's vocals range from A ♭3 to D♭5.[11]

Critical reception

The song received a mixed response from critics at the time of its release. Alexis Petridis of The Guardian wrote "Writing's on the Wall attempts to capture the mood of Adele's Skyfall theme – but backs Sam Smith's claim it only took 20 minutes to write."[12] Lewis Corner of Digital Spy rated it 3 out of 5 stars.[13] Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph called the song a "monster Bond ballad", stating, "(The song) is very, very slow and surprisingly restrained, at times floating by on resonant piano notes, the faintest brush stroke of orchestra, with all the focus on Smith's intense, tremulous vocal, rising with controlled pace and tension to an audacious chorus pay-off".[14]

Commercial performance

In the United Kingdom, "Writing's on the Wall" became the first James Bond theme to reach number one, on the issue dated 8 October 2015; The previous highest-charting Bond themes were Adele's "Skyfall" and Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill", which both reached number two. It also became Smith's fifth UK number-one single within two years. In the United States, "Writing's on the Wall" debuted at number 71 on the Billboard Hot 100, compared to the previous Bond song, "Skyfall", which debuted at number 8 in October 2012. In Canada, the song debuted at number 43. In Australia, the song performed moderately, debuting at number 44, but in Ireland, the song was an even bigger hit, debuting and peaking at number 9. The song has also charted in several other European countries though to a far lesser degree than its predecessor.

Track listing

Digital download[15]
No. Title Length
1. "Writing's on the Wall"   4:38
CD single and vinyl[16][17]
No. Title Length
1. "Writing's on the Wall"   4:38
2. "Writing's on the Wall" (Instrumental) 4:38

Credits and personnel

Recording and management
Personnel
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