The apparent reason that John Barry did not score Tomorrow Never Dies is that the powers-that-be had decreed the Bond song to be in a different department to that of the score. It's an ill that had its seeds in A View To A Kill, the first time a pop band were asked to write a Bond title song. Then, at least, Barry supervised the group and had some influence, though his contribution to the song may have been little more than to provide the orchestral backing track. For The Living Daylights Barry had the lesser pleasure of working with teen idols A-ha, whose understanding of the James Bond world, and whose willingness to learn about it, seemed thin.

To insure himself against having to work with a teen pop theme in the score, and perhaps to push back at the producers by showing he still had the knack of writing his own James Bond songs, Barry worked with Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders to produce two other songs. 'If There Was A Man' was a romantic ballad (eventually used on the end credits), whose melody of distant longing would provide the theme for Bond's love interest, Kara, and Barry's romantic treatment of the Viennese location. 'Where Has Everybody Gone' was an exciting, rock-driven piece that would double as the film's action theme. Whether or not Barry campaigned for this song for the film's main titles, it didn't make it, though a section of it does appear briefly as source music. Barry used the A-ha song melody as enthusiastically as the film's fourth source theme, the Bond theme.

Given the unprecedented presence of three songs for this film, the thematic basis is incredibly strong, with almost all of the tracks building in some way either on one of the four themes, journeying them from establishment through variation to conclusion. Barry supplemented these with minor themes for the film's Afghanistan adventure, notably the dreamy 'Mujahadin and Opium'. The result is a very rewarding theatre of musical story-telling that excites and romances, and drags for not one minute of its hour-plus length.

By 1987, Barry was firmly in a new era of his film composition, dominated by the slow, lush melodies typical of Out Of Africa and Somewhere In Time. Though the capacity for excited action cues was still present, the sound of Barry's music was softer than the hard-edged brass that typified Goldfinger and Thunderball. Not that their style would have worked here, for the films were also more luxuriously paced. But, to ensure The Living Daylights didn't suffer the lush pace Barry introduced a driving, synthesised rhythm track to add drive to the orchestra. Though a risky move that might have been criticised as a pop music swing and of Barry himself trying to appeal to the kids, it works as effectively as his use of electric guitar and moog synthesizer as the driving force behind his previous On Her Majesty's Secret Service theme.

This release contains exactly the same music as released on Rykodisc a few years ago, and the packaging lazily re-uses what came before. Packaging isn't a reason to buy or not, however, and with all its themes and journeys, The Living Daylights is the last great Bond score. It supercedes all the Bond scores between itself and Barry's exemplary Diamonds Are Forever. A bravo score that allowed Barry to go out on a high.