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, 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?

Favorite movie music – my top twenty list


Photo Courtesy of Pixelcrave
Orchestra at Piazza San Marco, Venezia – photo courtesy of

F. Gary Gray, Law Abiding Citizen‘s director recently tweeted, “My mtg with the composer Brian Tyler went really well. He just gets it. Music is so important, it can ruin your movie if it’s not right.”

I couldn’t agree more. Music can make or break a movie. Not only does it create the mood and ambience of a film, it’s also what gives ‘life’ to certain key scenes, or an entire film for that matter. Nothing else has the same power to evoke emotion as music, and some directors know this to heart. Steven Spielberg for one, who frequently works with one of Hollywood’s greatest composers John Williams, skillfully uses music to add more oomphs to a lot of his films. Jurrasic Park, Schindler’s List, Indiana Jones, E.T., to name a few, all of those scores create a lasting impression in the audience’s mind.

Some movies and their music score are inseparable, if you leave every scene in a movie the exact same, but swap the music, it’ll be a different film altogether. I can’t imagine watching Somewhere in Time without the lush Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini rendition by John Barry. Even though the piece was written back in the early 1930s, I always think of the movie every time I heard that music! This is also the case where the score is far superior than the film itself. It lingers with you long after I’m done watching it and one I can listen to over and over again.

Soundtracks are getting more common these days, and those can be very effective as well. Instead of hiring a composer to do a custom theme, they’d use pre-recorded songs they deem fitting for a specific movie. I’m going to break down my list to two different categories as theme songs and soundtracks are kind of a different animal. So without further ado, here are my two lists of favorites:

1. Gladiator (Hans Zimmer)
2. Somewhere in Time (John Barry)
3. Phantom of the Opera (Andrew Lloyd Webber)
4. Batman Begins/The Dark Knight (Hans Zimmer)
5. Sabrina (John Williams)
6. Casino Royale (David Arnold)
7. Out of Africa (John Barry)
8. The Lord of the Rings (Howard Shore)
9. Braveheart (James Horner)
10. Sense & Sensibility (Patrick Doyle)

1. P.S. I Love You
2. Sleepless in Seattle
3. Return to Me
4. Notting Hill
5. The Bodyguard
6. Moulin Rouge
7. St. Elmo’s Fire
8. Flashdance
9. Waiting to Exhale
10. Dirty Dancing

Thanks to my friend Scot (with one ‘t’) who suggested this trivia:

Do you know the name of the songs played in the Elephant song medley that Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman sung in Moulin Rouge!?