Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest


I was ready to give Klaus Badelt his due credit. I can pinpoint the exact moment in the movie when I thought, “Wow, Klaus has improved!” Not to say that he didn’t have skill to begin with – he captured the essence of the open ocean, daring, dashing pirates and their motives, all done very well. However, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was a bit of a repetitive soundtrack and left a smidgeon to be desired.
 
I don’t know how all this worked out; I’ve heard stories about how the first soundtrack was flash-banged together in a hurry (in which case they did an awesome job for a short time). Maybe this time they had time to do things the way they wanted (though I don’t know how things work in the world of producers, directors, and composers) or simply decided to switch up. Whatever the case may be, despite my readiness to accept Klaus’s sudden extra burst of colorful tones, my sister and I were abruptly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed upon catching Hans Zimmer’s name listed under music. In the case that you are unfamiliar with Hans, he’s composed such gems as Gladiator and The Last Samurai.
 
Whatever the case may be, I can’t recall a time I was so dead set on getting my hands on a soundtrack, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I mean, I really wanted this thing, and the day after seeing the movie for the second time, I went out and snapped it up. All 12 tracks of it.
 
1.) Jack Sparrow – 6:06 The cello (I believe it is) rocks back and forth similar to Jack, a slow, not-quite-drunk-but-somewhere-in-that-vicinity style complete with a few horns and then violins and others remind you of past pirate deeds from the pervious movie. But don’t let that lead you into thinking this is the same – because it is more definitely not. Everything winds up into louder, hammering Jack Sparrow goodness. After all, things do get more exciting on the ocean when you’re with the Captain. And as things tilt up into the really storm-rocking piece, you’ll be reminded just why he is, Captain Jack Sparrow.
 
2.) The Kraken – 6:55 Arguably one of the best track on here; the very reason I wanted to throw my mp3 player out the window when it wouldn’t load and all other tracks would. I don’t remember a time I’ve ever heard strings more violent as the Kraken swims around in the deep, and you won’t ever forget that striking organ when it attacks. Straight out of the movie, you’ll always be reminded of those huge tentacles as the drums pound and pound away, the bass vibrates low, and the chorus adds just the last bit of strength this song needs. Six stars.
 
3.) Davy Jones – 3:15 Starting off with the quiet dings and clinks of locket music (to which I said to my sister during the movie, “I hope that music is on there.” Score.), it is then joined by a little clarinet and strings. Sad, yes, but don’t let that fool you because the moment the locket’s cogs stop turning, Davy Jones’s organ blares up as he plays in his frustration, kicking it up another notch in another moment with the addition of a chorus before getting even stronger and more instruments join in the mix. Strong, thunderous, yet somehow slow and melodic, the pounding drums wrap up things to let the locket take over once more before it slows and then…stops.
 
4.) I’ve Got My Eye On You – 2:25 A low bell tolls in the distance for those who cross into this horrible piece of land. Once you get a earful of what it has to offer, things drop off to a deep chorus and away from the terror. Of course, what would things be without that great trumpeting triumph of Captain Jack Sparrow?
 
5.) Dinner Is Served – 1:30 Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the piece of music that made me think “I should look into this soundtrack.” Think of the music for the TV show Survivor and put it on steroids. Oh yeah. Of course, the abrupt change to the rocking, drunken ballroom/circus music may throw you, but if you know where you are in the movie, it will simply make you grin and laugh every time you hear it.
 
6.) Tia Dalma – 3:57 Remember the marching music of Barbossa’s crew last soundtrack? It’s back, but declines into the swamps with eerie choir music and more low, vibrating strings. After those pause, we get more locket music, but it’s not quite Davy Jones’s, it’s his story instead, and it’s a sad one at that. Sad and foreboding that is. This track doesn’t exactly end on a high note – think a bit of slow voodoo magic.
 
7.) A Family Affair – 3:34 A despairing revelation on Davy Jones’s ship turns into something darker, and will only get worse if a decision isn’t made – and fast. So feel the sting of the whip as the pace picks up and then vaults into pain and misery. But the sad violins know it was all necessary and sing their apologies. Now, it’s time to talk.
 
8.) Two Hornpipes (Tortuga) – 1:14 Probably the happiest, peppiest piece of music on here, think of being in a tavern where a bar fight is spinning out of control – yet you just get to watch and be amused. A really fun piece and I truly wish it was longer.
 
9.) Wheel Of Fortune – 6:45 This track will be the one to remind you most of the first soundtrack, though it has all the elements of the current themes and style juggled in very nicely. Fast, furious, swashbuckling, swordfighting-on-a-wheel fun will show up and disappear with intervals of Davy Jones locket music, Jack’s cello wobbling, and Kraken darkness. A veritable medley of Dead Man’s Chest treasure.
 
10.) You Look Good Jack – 5:34 A very slow, very quiet track. Of course, what would you expect when talking to someone who should be dead and is instead on your boat warning you of a deal you made 13 years ago. Took me a while to remember just who said this line, but when I did, it was all made clear. So that’s why the music is suddenly picking up the pace in ridiculous fashion and going absolutely berserk with the drums, grinding electric guitar tones, and plucking strings. The Black Spot will do that to you. And the first appearance of the Kraken.
 
11.) Hello Beastie – 10:15 I believe that Hans Zimmer is the best of the best when it comes to the music of a dying hero or at least of a good man. It’s slightly reminiscent of Gladiator, but so sad and so desperate, I felt a little like crying the first time I listened to it. I’m listening to it now and it still makes me sad. It’s just that good. Fine, forget being sad then. Time to end things like a hero should by god. It’s a beautiful thing, going out that way. Love every minute of it. But once you manage to escape the Pearl and the Kraken, all you can do is mourn and mourn some more…that is, until a certain someone steps down into the room, carrying the Pirates theme with him and giving the end a flourish you aren’t soon to forget.
 
12.) He’s A Pirate – Tiësto Remix – 7:02 This song sort of needs a review in itself. Sometimes random, extra songs seem weird on a soundtrack (think Troy and The Mummy Returns), and the last time I heard any dance/remix music was on Planet Of The Apes. That I enjoyed, with the quotes randomly dispersed, a good beat, it went very well with the rest of the CD. Now I’m familiar with Tiësto’s work, so I was hoping for some good times. I must say, initially I was a little disappointed. In the beginning we have a small bit of dialogue from the first movie, a few sword clangs, but other than that it’s all dance music. All right, I’ll bite. I enjoy a good bit of dance music, I used to date a guy who used glowsticks (shut up). To get to the point, he’s turned the final track from the first soundtrack into a dance song. It works well and I enjoy it now, but the end let me down. I was hoping for more of a flourish or climax or something, but instead it just fades off, which I don’t think does the song justice. It is pretty random considering the rest of the CD, but you’ll get used to it (unless you simply hate dance stuff) and like me, you may start to really like it.
 
Now I’ve already listened to this CD…um, okay, well I’ve forgotten, but I was so excited the first few times, I waited until getting back from my Colorado trip to review it just so I could make sure I wasn’t overlooking any cons in my enthusiasm. Well, it’s still awesome kiddies. I get the feeling that Hans had a really good time creating this music and then directing it. I really do. It’s that great. I don’t remember the last time I’ve truly just rocked out to a soundtrack. Enjoyed, yes. Been inspired by, yes. Rocked out? No. You want to listen to it for the sake of having a good time.
 
The style in both soundtracks have elements that can be heard elsewhere (just the other night my dad was watching Gladiator and said, “Hey, this sounds like the music in Pirates” and he never says stuff like that). But that’s not so surprising considering Hans and Klaus have worked together before, and if you look at the back of the first CD it says “Score Overproduced by Hans Zimmer.” I rest my case. Something I found interesting – you all know how much of a chump I am when it comes to the use of the choir. Well guess what? There isn’t all that much choir on this CD. That’s right, it’s more like the pinch of salt in a recipe; important, but there’s not a lot of it needed. The orchestration is simply stunning and brings out all the flavors that is Dead Man’s Chest. And for me to love this CD so much with so little chorus means it’s a really good buy. I’m not joking. Hans outdid himself this time I tell you.
 
There really are no cons. Sure, the final “bonus” track was a little weird, but I enjoy it now. Yes, these tracks are not in the same order as they appear in the movie (and if you want the actual order, just ask me, haha), but since they’re whole as they are instead of having tons of tracks in which the same pieces of music pop up here and there, it works out very nicely. I actually am quite fond of how it’s done this way. And all the track titles match exactly to what’s going on this time, so even out of order, you know where you stand.
 
To be honest, if I keep going, this review will get even larger because I’ll simply keep on praising it. So I’ll sign off with one last fun fact. Inside the booklet for the CD, if you start reading all the names, you’ll see that just about everyone listed has been given some kind of piratey nickname. From Hans “Long John” Zimmer to Martin “Scourge of the Seven Seas” Tillman of the featured cello. It’s really amusing and gives the CD that last unique touch.
 
So go out. Buy it. Because on a star count, this little maid gives it almost 6 out of 5.
 
NT
 
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.