In November 2018, Mo Troper announced on social media that he had written the theme song for the upcoming James Bond movie, Never Dream of Dying. The song—full of the sort of orchestral flourishes and soaring choruses that wouldn’t have sounded out of place two generations ago on A.M. radio—dropped on YouTube a few weeks later and was followed by a profile of Troper on the now-defunct “culture blog” ‘Reel News’ that sought to explain why in the world an artist like him would be tapped by the Bond franchise in 2019. Generous comparisons to Harry Nilsson and breathless quotes from *Hollywood producers* notwithstanding, Troper was certain that anybody who read the profile would instantly realize it was a joke, and that he was the author.
“So a week or two later,” he confesses to me now, “I found out that this guy whose band I was recording had told his dad about it. The dad had never really respected his decision to pursue music. But now it was like, Hey Dad, look at the kind of people I’m working with! And the dad—who I guess was a giant Bond fan—told his son for like the very first time that he was proud of him for being a musician.”
“Yikes,” I say. “I don’t even think that’s gonna be the actual title of the movie.”
“I’m sure he’ll figure it out at some point,” Troper says, wincing at me over his cup of coffee. “I feel kind of bad about that.”
A catchy melody doesn’t just get stuck in your head – it lives there. You sit with it, sometimes for days or even years, ruminating on it whether you want to or not. Writing just one of these songs can be an accomplishment. Portland songwriter Mo Troper does this 15 times over on his latest album, Exposure & Response, out November 17 via Good Cheer Records. Resounding string arrangements, chunky guitar chords, and booming drum patterns coalesce, coming and going at a rapid pace before Troper moves on to his next big idea. Just try and get the single “Wicked” out of your head, with it’s snapping rhythms and undeniable chorus. – KEXP