Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

I never waited for a composer to top himself until I heard Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest by Hans Zimmer. I knew, with his hand in the first soundtrack, his complete control over the second, that he would be the one to conduct the third. I probably shouldn’t have expected the soundtrack for this movie to top the previous one, but I really hoped it would. I mean, I loved that soundtrack. It put me in some kind of drug-induced stupor.
So when I kept an ear out on the music while in the theater, I found myself slightly bummed out. There were some good pieces, but I didn’t find myself thoroughly impressed as I had the second movie. Still, you didn’t honestly think that would keep me from hoarding up Hans’s music did you? However, I didn’t expect to be reviewing it the first time I listened to it. What can I say? I can’t help myself and I knew it wasn’t going to suck anyway, haha. I mean, it’s Hans Zimmer – since when does he create anything I don’t like?
1.) Hoist the Colours – 1:31 When I first heard the people singing in the movie, I desperately wanted it to be on the soundtrack. Freaking score. Gore Verbinski had a hand in writing this, so give the man a little credit – it’s a good ditty.
2.) Singapore – 3:40 Plenty of unique instruments you don’t often hear unless you’re somewhere in Japan or China or…Singapore. With lots of little chimes, the song quickly escalates (as fights and such situations tend to do), keeping as a mix of usual pirate feeling and the plucking of foreign strings. Don’t forget the original Pirates theme…with a dash of chorus to give it some extra oomph.
3.) At Wit’s End – 8:05 The second longest song on the CD finds the characters floating around in a starlit cavern (or is it?), and we get our first taste of the new theme, faint as it may be, which has a little of pirate finality and Will & Elizabeth love-anguish in it. Also in the silence we can hear the locket but that quickly rises into a dramatic Davy Jones theme and plenty of a this-is-not-a-good-idea feeling.
4.) Multiple Jacks – 3:51 You can’t fault this song for being weird. I sat in the theater thinking, “…I wonder if this is going to be on the soundtrack. It’s pretty strange.” But for all its weirdness, I like the way it winds up at the end. There are plenty of strange little instruments and bells and odd sounds to keep your interested all the way through.
5.) Up Is Down – 2:42 We’re not sword swinging, as the tempo might have you think, but instead ship swinging. With a bit of the new Pirates theme salted with xylophones, perky flutes, and full fledged excitement (and chorus! Gawd I love the chorus), it’s a quick drop when the ship flips.
6.) I See Dead People In Boats – 7:09 Even though this is supposed to be before track 5 in terms of movie order, we’ll pretend like we don’t know that and tear up at the lonely clarinet pining away for a certain character and the other lost souls that the others are unable to help. The previous Pirates themes surfaces in brief snatches, low, ethereal, and forlorn. Just before the 5:30 mark, things pick up, tense and with a bit of the new theme thrown in for good measure. Watch your ears though kiddies – it gets loud near the end.
7.) The Brethren Court – 2:21 Reminiscent of Jack’s, ah, time at the End mixed in with the “Hoist the Colours” song, we’re meeting with an eclectic bunch. I’m briefly reminded of something you might hear in a video game.
8.) Parlay – 2:10 Time to chit-chat on a little strip of sand, 3 on 3. I enjoyed it in the theater because it’s so different, and I still do. Reminds me of some kind of crazy western showdown (and in a way it is a showdown), and I doubt you would have expected that crazy electric guitar. Very fun piece.
9.) Calypso – 3:02 A lot of loud orchestra and chorus here, so watch your volume. After building it drops into a semi-dreamlike state with bits of “Tia Dalma” from Pirates 2 tossed in there. An interesting touch would be the faint whistling wind noise.
10.) What Shall We Die For – 2:02 A brief lull rocks into poetic, “this is the end” style music, complete with chorus – singing “Hoist the Colours” to boot. Very nice touch and very cool.
11.) I Don’t Think Now Is The Best Time – 10:45 Here it is, the longest track on the CD. Expect Plenty of battle music in this one – slamming drums, blaring brass, and splashes of Davy Jones’s theme, previous general Pirate themes from both soundtracks – Jack Sparrows in full force at one point. Of course, we need a lot of dark chorus too, enjoy that bit of “Hoist the Colours” woven into different themes. I love the way this one stays fun and adventurous, but at the same time keeps itself serious when it needs to be. Around the 7 minute mark, if you remember the movie, you’ll know exactly where you’re at and enjoy the dance of battle and love.
12.) One Day – 4:01 You’d never even know this new song started as the previous track slips right into this one (heck I didn’t even notice and I’m supposed to be paying attention). Remember the very first Pirates theme? It’s back, but this time it has a bit of a finality feeling to it. Once it drops off, the new theme picks up, starting low and working its way up, adding a little Will & Elizabeth into it before stretching into the final bow out, full force of course – well, maybe except for that little flute.
13.) Drink Up Me Hearties – 4:31 With a few final old themes, things make their final exit – but of course not without going all out. Soak it up, because this is the last time you’re going to hear Hans performing it. That goes for the new themes as well. Can’t you just hear the end in them?
Hans does a lot of weaving in this one, bringing in all sorts of music from the previous two soundtracks into this one, scattering them here and there. Whereas some sequels have entirely new composers who ignore previous themes or have the same composer who simply uses entirely new music, I think this move was nice in reminding us of the last two films and what they had in them that made us love them so much.
But in addition to all those, Zimmer gave us plenty of new goodies to enjoy. I like the new Pirate theme with its elements of Will & Elizabeth love in it, and all the use of little electronic noises that you won’t even realize are electronic will impress you, along with all the other elements Zimmer uses to achieve the desired effects. What makes his music so great? The style and power he puts into it is just phenomenal. You simply cannot listen to his music without cranking it up. Something I find funny since just yesterday I saw a commercial about keeping your music down to keep from losing your hearing early.
I’ll not likely be doin’ that anytime soon, mate.
Even though I still love the second soundtrack more, this one is 5 stars all the way, earning it completely on its own. Besides, I shouldn’t be rating in comparison, but on the soundtrack’s own merit. The new theme is very romantic – and I don’t mean lovey-dovey romantic, I mean romantic in the older sense of the word. Old world romantic. The music goes very well with the movie, which oftentimes has a huge sense of urgency to it, and then perfect lulls when needed. It can seem a little overdramatic at times, but then again so was the movie. The strangeness of Jack’s mind as well as some of the pirates that brought on strange music makes this CD a bit of a mishmash of sound. Good for Zimmer in handling such situations well. And maybe it’s just me, but throughout the soundtrack, I just got this feeling of “this is it; this is the end” as some end songs in movies have, like Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (if you’ve ever noticed). But I liked that, it was subtle but gives you the sense of, “Yes, it’s over, but it was one hell of a good time.”
If you liked the movie, I’m sure you’ll like the soundtrack as well, and if you enjoyed the previous two soundtracks, then you might as well finish off your collection with this one. Or even if the movie made you nuts *twitch* it’s still a good soundtrack. Looks like the next time I get to hear Hans “Long John” Zimmer at the helm of the orchestra will be the next great movie.
I’ll be waiting.
Originally posted at Epinions.com


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I am an author, I sell books for a living, and I love music like there's no tomorrow. I've experienced much of this country, from forested hills of the East, to the golden plains of the Midwest, the sandy beaches of the Southeast, and the oh-so-majestic mountains of the Rockies. And when all else fails, eat chocolate.