Okay here goes…
The Writing's On The Wall starts with a promising mix of orchestral flourishes, all swooping, brooding and haunting.
Smith's powerful voice also starts out very promising indeed. There are a few corny rhyming couplets in the first verses, which is not unexpected. And I quite like: “Unprepared for this/I never shoot to miss”.
The chorus soars unexpectedly and you think it’s going to be okay... and then that unnecessary falsetto just stops the song in its tracks. The high voice seems also to render some words completely unintelligible. My advice: pick an octave and stick to it. The chorus then limps towards to its end.
Reset: another adequate verse follows and the terrific first-half of the chorus… and then that falsetto voice. This is the point in the song where the whole thing needs to build, explode, burst - something - but it just doesn’t.
Then, without realising it, you're four minutes in and it’s almost over and you wondered what happened during that last minute of your life and what you’re going to have for your tea.
And the end is perhaps the most disappointing aspect. Smith produces this big note but: a) it’s not big enough, and; b) it’s totally unsupported by the arrangement. The whole song just dissipates like a fart in a big room.
So, in summary, I think I like it but there’s just not enough of it. Not enough oomph. Too many silent moments. A Bond theme has to fill a room and fill your head - this does neither.
And this is where I start to feel a bit better. I will say that it definitely improves on every subsequent listen. I've even started to hum bits of it. Also, consider this - the instrumental version on the soundtrack is going to sound great.
A classic? Not yet. But in a week you won't think it's as bad as you do now.