Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Hans Zimmer seems to have a motto for his music - Go big or go home.  The man certainly knows how to go big with his sound.  And I'd have to say that 99% of the time it's glorious.  I'm rarely disappointed with what he has to offer.  And if I'm not all that jazzed about something, it's usually not due to Zimmer's compositions, but because of what the movie demands of him.  For example, most of Inception is skippable because it's so mellow and quiet, but the tracks worth listening to are really worth listening to.

The same can be said of this soundtrack.  On Stranger Tides wasn't the best Pirates movie, and because of the way it was made and so forth, didn't give Hans a whole lot to work with.  Naturally the biggest moment was with the mermaids, which is actually the track most worth listening to on this CD.  I'll do a quick track rundown for you for the first 11 tracks.  Yes, there are 18 tracks on this CD, but I'm skipping the last seven for a reason.

1. Guilty of Being Innocent Of Being Jack Sparrow - 1:42 Just a quick intro to remind us that yes, this is a Pirates movie we're seeing.  Classic Pirates in Hans Zimmer style.

2. Angelica - 4:17 This is one of the nice things about the CD - due to the nature of the film, Zimmer got to throw in some extra Spanish flair, and we get it here in the form of acoustic guitar goodies via string-plucking duo Rodrigo y Gabriela.  It has some tango flavor but isn't without some of that heavier Zimmer style.

3. Mutiny - 2:48 A nice little piece that gives us a glimpse into the darker pirate side we're all so used to.  The guitar is deeper and we're even treated to pieces of music we're all familiar with from the first movie for a moment...It may be a short track, but it's full of a little bit of everything..

4. The Pirate That Should Not Be - 3:55 An alternately slow and jamming bit of guitar work.  It never does anything truly impressive in terms of breaking out, but the hands on the guitar do some nice work, to be sure.

5. Mermaids - 8:05 Undoubtedly my favorite track on the CD.  It's wistful, dark, cruel at times, and has a certain point where it has that off-key sound that works perfectly.  It does eventually break out into some total Pirates action that is clearly Zimmer's work no matter how you cut it.  Good times, and extra points for length.

6. South of Heaven's Chanting Mermaids - 5:48 A slower, more guitar-oriented piece that reflects the initial mermaid theme.  It just rolls along its way.  Traveling music I suppose.

7. Palm Tree Escape - 3:06 If you aren't familiar with classic Jack Sparrow-themed music, here's your chance to get acquainted.  From the violin to the throwback sounds of Sparrow's theme in the second Pirates movie, it's good times all around.  Complete with Spanish guitar, of course.

8. Blackbeard - 5:05 My second favorite piece, this is some brand new awesomeness that very clearly tells you that this is the bad guy's theme.  It's heavy, dangerous, and dark.

9. Angry, and Dead Again - 5:33 More guitar from Rodrigo y Gabriela.  It begins slow and almost lazy before kicking up a notch around the 2-minute mark and winding up into a slightly more rocking style with a taste of the original Pirates theme at the end.

10. On Stranger Tides - 2:44 A tiny sampling of the Mermaids track, some dramatic flairs, and then it winds down the way it began.

11. End Credits - 1:59 Short end credits, no?  But hey, if you remember how any of the other Pirates movies ended, then you'll remember this particular piece and then some.  With some Spanish guitar for added taste!  Arr, matey!

12. Guilty of Being Innocent of Being Jack Sparrow (remixed by D.J. Earworm) 2:45 - 3 stars

13. Angelica (Grant Us Peace Remix) (remixed by K.J. Theory) 3:08 - 2 stars

14. The Pirate That Should Not Be (remixed by Photek) 6:26 - 3 stars

15. Blackbeard (remixed by Super Mask Bros & Thieves) 5:26 - 5 stars
16. South of Heaven's Chanting Mermaids (remixed by Paper Diamond) 3:32 - 2 stars

17. Palm Tree Escape (remixed by Adam Freeland) 5:27 - 3 stars

18. Angry and Dead Again (remixed by Static Revenger) 5:49 - 3 stars

I'm sure you can see now why I chose to simply skip going to detail with the last seven tracks and instead put them on a simple star system.  They're all remixes of the previous tracks - and unimpressive ones at that.  I'm not adverse to dance/trance music or remixes at all.  In fact, I really kept on hoping that a few of these would suddenly break out into something truly awesome.  A false hope apparently.  Instead most of them tended to get repetitive or just didn't really do anything fun or original with Zimmer's pieces.

This isn't the first time that Zimmer has had a short CD (without the dance nonsense, it's only about 45 minutes) or a CD with a short track listening (Crimson Tide is only 5 tracks!).  After some repeat plays of the CD, some of those tracks attracted my attention more than most.  They are a little more fun and interesting to listen to, which is why they got a higher star count than the others.  Some were very close to hitting the 4 star mark, but just didn't have enough oomf to make it there.  You may have different favorites, but overall I'm still disappointed in their use because they're filler - nothing more.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that my two favorite pieces on this CD are brand new from Zimmer instead of redone themes with twists and so forth, though I do appreciate the Spanish flavor added in to match the movie just so.  Zimmer also gets credit for ensuring that you can't really hear any of his additional work in this CD the way other composers occasionally do.  At one point I can hear hints of Sherlock Holmes, but I have to pay attention and it's only in one track.

It's a pretty decent CD and there are enough fun tracks on here to justify buying it.  If not, then get some samples first and make your decision from there.  Of course, if you have the other Pirates soundtracks, you might as well finish off your collection.

Actual CD rating: 4.5 stars rounded up.


Er, did I mention this CD ends with someone saying, "Arr," at the end?  Yep.  It does.

Originally published on 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.