Why Billie Eilish’s No Time To Die Was Secretly The Perfect Song To Finish Daniel Craig’s Run

Billie Eilish No Time To Die song meaning with Daniel Craig's last 007 movie
(Image credit: Universal)

MASSIVE SPOILERS are ahead for No Time To Die. Do not read on until you’ve caught Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond, now playing in theaters. 

Bond fans, we’ve had a long time to sit with No Time To Die’s theme song. Longer than anyone ever anticipated since Billie Eilish’s track first came out almost two years before the release of the James Bond film. When “No Time To Die” first was released in February 2020, the movie was going to follow just two months later. But then shocking worldwide events followed that led to movie theater closures, and Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007 was delayed until earlier this month. Billie’s soft croon has been intermittently in the background since then. Now that it has finally taken center stage for the movie, and the track is haunting for a more story-centric reason that made the song even better after seeing No Time To Die

“No Time To Die” was written on a tour bus in Texas by Billie Eilish and her brother/producer Finneas O’Connell over three days. The songwriting pair crafted the song with the help of elements of the script given to them by Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, and the orchestration was done by Hans Zimmer, who also did the film’s score. Let’s talk about why the song is pretty much the perfect theme for the movie now that we’ve seen it. I've come to think of it as a song told from the perspective of Mathilde, James Bond's daughter. 

Daniel Craig and Léa Seydoux as Bond and Madelline in No Time To Die

(Image credit: Universal)

How The Song Fits The No Time To Die Ending

The slow-building piano riff of the song I've had on repeat prior to No Time To Die isn’t only in the opening credits; it finds a place throughout the film as well and it’s really effective. The tune kicks in during the most emotional elements of the movie, which have a lot to do with Daniel Craig’s James Bond coming to terms with realizing he has a family in Léa Seydoux’s Dr. Madeleine Swann and their five-year-old daughter, Mathilde. In the end, Bond makes the ultimate sacrifice to give his own life for the good of the rest of the world after coming face-to-face with the possibility of seeing his daughter die right in front of him at the hands of Rami Malek’s Safin

As the minor notes kick in at the final moments of No Time To Die, my mind went back to the delicate, yet strong voice of Ms. Billie Eilish, a similarly blonde-haired young woman who is one of the loudest voices of today’s coming-of-age generation. I can’t help but imagine the song of No Time To Die representing the emotions of Mathilde growing up without a father and Bond having to say goodbye to a normal life, because, well, he’s James Bond. It just hits differently now. After seeing the movie, those opening notes sound like a soft lullaby meant to mourn the late 007. 

Billie EIlish No Time To Die music video

(Image credit: Universal Music )

A Closer Look At The No Time To Die Lyrics

Let’s take a second pass at the lyrics of “No Time To Die” with the plot of the movie in mind. There are elements of the song that certainly can be seen from James Bond’s perspective, such as “You were my life, but life is far away from fair” or “faces from my past return,” but I like to think of the song from an older Mathilde’s POV. One line in particular that makes me want to see it from the perspective of Bond’s daughter is “we were a pair/but I saw you there/too much to bear.” Mathilde and Madeleine were a pair until Bond came back and Mathilde met him through the events of the film and was introduced into his world. Additionally, Billie says “That the blood you bleed is just the blood you owe,” which finds its own imagery to family through "blood" with the words, perhaps meaning she is bound to her father’s legacy as she grows up without her father due to his sacrifice. 

The theme’s chorus is all about betrayal and wrestling with what to make of someone’s intentions. As you can imagine, Mathilde will probably grow up without knowing her father was a spy who died to save the world. And because he was a spy who killed a ton of people, it would be difficult to figure out if he’s someone she should miss and admire or try to forget about. 

This meaning can additionally be found in the chorus, when she says “I’d fallen for a lie/you were never on my side/Fool me once, fool me twice/Are you death or paradise?/Now you’ll never see me cry/There’s just no time to die”. The description of someone never seeing the other cry especially made me want to connect it with Matilde since being a child is so associated with this, along with mourning someone’s death. 

Daniel Craig as Bond in No Time To Die

(Image credit: MGM)

Billie Eilish Was The Perfect Voice To Bring Into The Fold

It’s also worth mentioning that Billie Eilish is the youngest artist to write a Bond song. That happened in the same movie where James Bond had his first child in a film. Pretty cool, right? No Time To Die is also the first movie to feature a death scene of James Bond himself and involve the spy having a family, including a daughter. The emotional arc of the film is much deeper than we’ve seen from a Bond film, making Billie Eilish’s more delicate song a great sendoff for Daniel Craig’s character. Songs like Adele’s “Skyfall” or a jam like Casino Royale’s “You Know My Name” feature larger and more exciting beats, whereas Eilish’s song needed to match the weight of this storyline and hence perhaps be more underwhelming than other instrumentations Bond fans might have come to expect. Before we go, listen to “No Time To Die” again: 

Perhaps it’s because I’m a huge Billie fan too, but without having so much more time with the theme for No Time To Die, I don’t think these conclusions may have been drawn because I would not have listened to the song as much before seeing the movie. In an odd way, the delay allowed me to appreciate the work on the theme tune more, and when those emotional beats kicked in, I understood how perfect this song is to the movie. I love the idea of Billie Eilish's voice representing Mathilde looking back on the stories she's told about her late father. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.