Music Break: Bourne theme song ‘Extreme Ways’ by Moby

The choice for this week’s music break is quite an easy one. This is my hubby’s iPhone’s ring tone and it’s been that same one for years. It’s undoubtedly one of the most memorable theme songs featured in a trilogy… and beyond. If you read my review of The Bourne Legacy, it’s still one of the few great things about that movie.


According to Spinner.com, Moby is remixing Extreme Ways with a huge orchestra for the new movie, to re-imagine it from a symphonic perspective. You can watch the behind the scenes video of Moby on the set of that here.

“I wanted to create a juxtaposition with the orchestra and let the orchestra be more melodic and bombastic to contrast with the sort of frenetic rhythmic elements,” Moby is quoted as saying. “Having the best classical musicians on the planet playing the music I’ve written is really wonderful.”

Just for comparison sake, here’s what the original theme song featured in The Bourne Ultimatum:


Apparently this was not a hit when it was released in 2002,  but this song has gone on to become one of Moby’s most-downloaded songs [per Wiki]. It’s catchy and cool, and the lyrics seem to capture the essence of who Jason Bourne is and his extreme journey, even though it was not written specifically for the film.

Extreme songs that told me
They helped me down every night
I didn’t have much to say
I didn’t get above the light
I closed my eyes and closed myself
And closed my world and never opened
Up to anything
That could get me along

I had to close down everything
I had to close down my mind
Too many things to cover me
Too much can make me blind
I’ve seen so much in so many places
So many heartaches, so many faces
So many dirty things
You couldn’t even believe

Just a quick background on the composer, Moby, who was born Richard Melville Hall in Harlem on September 11, 1965. According to his Wiki page, apparently his middle name and the nickname “Moby” were given to him by his parents because of an ancestral relationship to Moby Dick author Herman Melville. He’s also a DJ and photographer who got his start in electronic dance music in the early 90s, but it’s not until about a decade later that he gained international success with his electronica album Play. He’s now sold over 20 million albums and is considered one of the most important dance music figures who helps bring the music to a mainstream audience both in the UK and in America.

Anyway, back to Extreme Ways. It’s pretty amazing that 10 years later, this song still sounds so fresh and ‘of the moment.’ An astounding soundtrack for a stellar trilogy!


Thoughts on this music folks? Are you a Moby fan?

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40 thoughts on “Music Break: Bourne theme song ‘Extreme Ways’ by Moby

  1. Ted S.

    Yeah I love this song too, I’ve been a fan of Moby since the late 90s. In fact, when I was living in NYC, I saw him DJ’d at a club and he played the earlier version of this song, a few years before the first Bourne came out. It’s pretty cool.

    I’m actually using one of his free music tracks for my new short movie. He set up a site for amateur filmmakers to use his music for free, as long as their movies are free to the public. I plan to submit my movie to the Tribeca Film Festival so if/when it gets accepted, I”ll have to change that track in the movie.

    1. Wow that’s cool that you got to see him in person, Ted. Is he still DJ-ing? I’m amazed that he actually made this song before Bourne yet it fitst perfectly!

      Can’t wait to see your movie, man, did you find an actress you like then?

      1. Ted S.

        I don’t know if he’s still DJ-ing, I mean he doesn’t need to now since he’s a millionaire but he’s pretty down to earth guy so I’m sure he does it for free at clubs once in a while.

        Well I already cast someone for the role, she’s in LA, but I did the audition for her backup. So from that audition I went with Amanda, I believe you know her since she volunteered at TCFF. If the actress in LA can’t be in the movie then Amanda can do it. If you run into her again, don’t say anything to her yet because I haven’t officially offer her the role.

  2. It’s pretty amazing that 10 years later, this song still sounds so fresh and ‘of the moment.’

    You nailed it, Ruth. Great musical movie break. It captured the song well. Thanks for this.

  3. I loved this song when I first heard it and love this slightly remixed version just as much. The orchestral parts are beautiful. Really, really beautiful. Just wish the rest of the score for the film could have been quite as memorable.

    1. Indeed Jaina. I think it’s a great idea to do a remix w/ the full orchestra. I actually haven’t listened to the rest of the scores, but this one alone stands out.

  4. I disagree wholeheartedly. I’m so tired of this song. They didn’t need to bring it back again. I used to consider it one of Moby’s best songs until it was featured in the Bourne films. Now it just feels played out.

  5. daveackackattack

    Lots of eye and ear candy today Ruth.

    Still love this song. Being a musician and having heard everything in all my years I gotta say it holds up remarkably well as a song. I also loved his instrumental “God Moving Over The Face Of The Water” that was used over the end credits in Mann’s Heat. Very cinematic.

    His other song from Heat, “New Dawn Fades” (which is a Joy Division cover), was used for this killer BMW commercial shown during the olympics recently.

    Also really loved Moby’s score for Richard Kelly’s much maligned Southland Tales which has never been released on CD in it’s complete form. I had to download a promo that was given out, back in ’06, at the Cannes Film Festival to get all of Moby’s tracks. This is the hypnotic “Water Pistol”:

    1. Ted S.

      Love his ‘God Moving Over The Face Of The Water’ track, it’s interesting because Mann decided to use that track for Heat’s ending over Goldenthal’s original score, which I thought was quite excellent too.

      Also, ‘Water Pistol’ track is pretty good too.

      1. daveackackattack

        Good stuff Ted. Ironically I just read that on IMDB earlier today. It says Goldenthal repurposed the track and used it in his next movie, Michael Collins, except that he changed the electric guitar to fiddle to give it that Celtic sound.

        I’ve always felt Mann’s use of somber, droning music was exceptional. A perfect compliment to his cool, stylish visuals. Tangerine Dream for Thief, Shreikback and Michel Rubini w/ The Reds for ManhunterTrevor Jones for The Last Of The Mohicans Kronos Quartet, Lisa Gerrard, Goldenthal, Moby, Eno for Heat and Gerrard again for The Insider. Lisa Gerrard, formerly of Dead Can Dance, who had a few tracks on Heat, did the entire Insider soundtrack for Mann. The track “Faith” is quite powerful even w/o the images.

        1. Ted S.

          Yeah, I’ve been a fan of Goldenthal’s since I first saw Alien 3 and his excellent theme for that film. Not a fan of his work on Batman Forever and Batman & Robin though. I remember he and Mann sort of had a fall out after Mann decided to go with Mody’s song for Heat’s ending. Glad they’re in good terms again when Mann asked him to score Public Enemies.

          I agree, I love how Mann uses music in his films. I thought John Murphy did a great job of scoring Miami Vice. I wish Murphy would get to compose more films in Hollywood, he mostly work with Danny Boyle.

          1. daveackackattack

            Yeah Murphy’s work with Boyle (I have the Sunshine and 28 Days/Weeks Later soundtracks) was ourstanding. Especially the collaboration with Underworld on Sunshine. “Kaneda’s Death Pt. 2” is one of my all-time favorite tracks.

  6. Hey Dave. I didn’t know you’re a musician. What kind of instruments do you play? Do you write music too?

    I LOVE the Heat track and the Water Pistol in Southland Tales. The ‘Water Pistol’ one is quite soothing. Haven’t seen the movie though. Do you recommend it? I might check it out if it isn’t too violent/gory.

    1. daveackackattack

      I’m a guitarist. Went to Berklee College of Music in Boston. I don’t write or play so much anymore. 😦

      As far as recommending Southland Tales I’d say I like it a lot but it’s confusing to most people. I loved the music, the visuals and the eclectic casting but it was generally panned, especially the 160 minute Cannes cut. It kind of reminds me of the hype for the upcoming Cloud Atlas. Either it’s going to be inspired filmmaking or a spectacular failure. So if you’re looking for something very different and ambitious, which I’m totally go for, give it a shot. How ambitious? Kelly did three, 100 page graphic novels as a prequel leading up to the movie. To quote Kelly… “the film’s biggest influences are Kiss Me Deadly, Pulp Fiction, Brazil and Dr. Strangelove” and called it a “strange hybrid of the sensibilities of Andy Warhol and Philip K. Dick”. For better or worse that’s a pretty spot on description.

      1. Cool! Wow you actually went to a music college? Oh I hope you continue to play and write man. I regret that I didn’t keep up with my piano playing as I took 3 yrs of lessons but now I can’t remember how to play anymore 😦

        Interesting. Ok, I’ll give it Southland Tales a shot. I’m not familiar w/ Kelly’s work so it wasn’t even on my radar.

        1. daveackackattack

          Personally I’d start with Donnie Darko, his debut. It’s one of my all-time favorite films although Ted really didn’t care for it. I’m sure I could write a lengthy appreciation of it. The Box, his third film, had all kinds of problems. Starting with casting Cameron Diaz, then trying to stretch a Richard Matheson short story into a feature film and lastly making it a 70’s period piece. Southland Tales is somewhere in the middle.

          1. I’m more interested in Southland Tales than Donnie Darko just from what I’ve read about that one. Not a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal either.

  7. Oh, i love this song! I think there are actually 3 versions – one from Identity, a bit different one in Ultimatum and the latest in Legacy. I like the one in Ultimatum the most.

  8. I loved that they reused this song at the end of Bourne Legacy. I kind of like Moby, he certainly has created some truly iconic songs over the years and I have one of his CD laying around. Actually, I might get his latest work on my Ipod to check out.

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