The sweeping ballad finds Smith honing in on an emotional delivery punctuated by a frequent moody falsetto. The song was written by Smith and Jimmy Napes, with production by Napes and Steve Fitzmaurice. In an interview with National Public Radio's Morning Edition, Smith claimed he and Napes wrote the song in 20-30 minutes.
"We literally wrote the song in like, 20 to 30 minutes. It was so quick," Smith told NPR. "And then I recorded the vocal, again, in probably like 15 to 20 minutes. And then the song was done. The vocal that you hear now on the song is the vocal from the demo, I never re-vocaled the song."
Napes previously helped craft the songs "Stay With Me," "I'm Not the Only One" and "Lay Me Down" from Smith's debut album, In The Lonely Hour. The former reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and its Darkchild-remix version won two Grammy Awards for record of the year and song of the year.
"Wall" is the latest installment in the famous lineup of Bond tunes, but it follows one of the series' biggest successes. Adele's "Skyfall," which served as the theme to 2012's film of the same name, earned critical and commercial acclaim upon its release, climbing to No. 8 on the Hot 100 and scooping up a Grammy, along with best song honors at the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes.
Given Adele and Smith’s similar musical styles and their status as two of the decade's biggest British breakout stars, fans and critics have tended to link "Skyfall" and "Writing's on the Wall." Smith, though, suggested he appreciated the association but ensured his song isn’t a "Skyfall" copy.
"I get compared to Adele a lot and I feel like it's very different," he told Elvis Duran in an interview for his Z100 Morning Show. "But at the same time, it's a Bond theme so it's still has to have that Bond feel. So I hope people like it!"