Songs of this year: No Time To Die – Billie Eilish

Author’s note: This post is part of a mini-series about songs I enjoyed listening to this year. Music has played a very special part in keeping sane during this pandemic. Let me know in the comments what music helped you get through.

I remember exactly where I was when I first listened to the newest Bond theme. I was on a small boat that was speeding back to Bali island from Nusa Penida. It was in February. It was the only “holiday trip” I managed to squeeze in before the world went on lockdown.

On this boat I was wearing a surgical mask. Beneath my mask, I remember it smelled like ocean breeze and diesel. The skies were sunny that early afternoon. But the mood felt cautious. The pandemic hadn’t “struck” Bali yet. Or, it wasn’t being detected at the time. It’s likely it was already silently spreading – as Bali was a top tourist destination for many of our friends from China. At the time, the virus was still hyped as from Wuhan.

Back to Billie. I think only a few people appreciate music from the Bond films. The lyrics can come off as overdramatic if not cheesy. But I enjoy the Bond themes because it’s become a sort of cinematic tradition. As a visual content creator, music has been an inspiration when I wrote and edited promos for television.

With Adele and Sam Smith being awarded for their Bond themes in Skyfall and Spectre (“The Writing’s On The Wall”), I guess it made sense to give this opportunity to one of the youngest, most multi-awarded artists of today… Billie Eilish.

NO TIME TO DIE is the 25th film in the Bond film franchise. Aptly titled, the movie couldn’t have come at a better time: a volcano erupts near Manila, a basketball legend dies in tragic helicopter crash, a pandemic sweeps the world… one for our generation. The movie itself was to premiere in 2020 (months after the release of the song in February). But like the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, it gets pushed to next year.

But we get performances from Billie through the year. I’ll share her performance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

I couldn’t help but think that there are similarities in it with Adele’s Skyfall. I also think Sam Smith could give No Time To Die a good version. But Eilish owns this song, not because of her signature hums, but her vulnerability.

You’ll never see me cry, there’s just no time to die.

I can’t wait for the theatrical Bond 25 opening credits when the movie premieres in 2021. And if you think these opening credits are still like the hyper-sexualised ones of the past, try watching some of the recent ones. You’ll be surprised that Bond can evolve with the times.

Songs That Made 2020 Better: Play – CHUNG HA

I’m kicking off a short series of blog posts about music I enjoyed listening to in 2020. The year is one of the toughest and most traumatising on record for billions of people. At the surface, we’re looking at almost 70 million people having been infected by the virus with over 1.5 million deaths as of this date. Diving deeper, industries are shattered and economies will be changed. From unprecedented disruption to global travel to the vulnerable people stuck in quarantine in unsafe homes facing abuse.


Pop music has always been my antidote through the years. K-pop uplifted my spirits when I was at my lowest in recent years. I’ve come to love BTS, SUNMI, HWA SA… and they’re the ones in the front right now. Behind them is a massive K-pop industry with “generations” of artists and fans. While I may not always agree with the ultra-glossy “perfect image” used to market the stars, I turn to the overall production. K-pop pushes that bar higher and higher.

Several of my favourite K-pop songs this year came from CHUNG HA. As you go through her playlist of releases in 2020, it’s like she had a song for each season of the year. MV after MV of lights and fairy dust, her signature hand choreography (HAND CHOREO?!?)… the dancers, men in heels. Her angle and spins like Kylie Minogue. Is she one of the best solo K-pop performers of the year?

What happens before a release are comeback teasers. Then there’s a full-blown MV. Then there’ll be a “Dance Performance” version of the MV. This means less vanity shots and more choreography. The performer then does the whole circuit of promotions: tv shows, events, awards specials. In cases like BTS, the Japanese version of their songs. It’s one well-orchestrated extravaganza.

Today, I’ll share with you the dance performance video to CHUNG HA’s “Play”. 🙂

What’s a song that made 2020 better for you?

Update: As of this writing, CHUNG HA is down with COVID-19. This is insane. Please get well!