Crimson Tide

Like a lot of the CDs I’ve gotten, I snagged this one from the library. To be honest, at the time I wanted to have The Hunt for Red October.  With that unavailable, I decided to do a search for Hans Zimmer instead.

The result was Crimson Tide. I liked this movie a great deal. Interestingly, while watching the movie, the music wasn’t wholly memorable, but then again, most of us were busy bugging out over the messy tug-o-war between Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman. What I did know was that the music vaguely reminded me of The Hunt for Red October, so I went with it.

Just so you know, while the music was composed by Zimmer, it was conducted by Nick Glennie-Smith. I chuckled to myself when I saw this and thought, “Well I’ll be darned. It’s Nick.” After reading a little further down I noticed another name – Harry Gregson-Williams, the man responsible for The Chronicles of Narnia, is the conductor of the London Choir. Both Nick and Harry worked with Hans Zimmer before on The Rock. I get a kick out of recognizing these guys.

When I first popped this into my CD player and pulled out the cover to see the tracks I noticed, hey, there are only five tracks? Don’t let that fool you. My second thought was instantly, “Hm, that must mean they’re long.” Even I, however, did not grasp just how long.

1.) Mutiny – 8:57 It starts off actually reminding me a little of Jack’s fall to the Kracken in “Hello Beastie” of Dead Man’s Chest. Very low, foreboding, veritably creeping through the dark waters of the ocean. It’s a far away horn that opens up the theme to other instruments, giving me a vague Top Gun recollection. The bit of lonely guitar makes for a nice touch among the deep brass and other darkness. Hans has a talent for the strong and slightly dark, yet powerful and uplifting. Expect plenty of the main theme here when it gets going. And boy is it good. Perfect for this movie. It comes and goes in strength, a few bells tolling near the end, before fading out into silence.

2.) Alabama – 23:50 Ladies and gentlemen. This is by far the longest track I have ever seen in my history of soundtrackdom. It starts off slightly creepy, pipes and mild chorus, then taking things up, then back down again. Slinking around in the deep of the ocean, the majority of the instruments here are all that have the ability to remain low like muted heartbeats. That lone trumpet has a tendency to lead into full orchestra and chorus, no matter how long or short. And is that vibrating noise not creepy? The last time I heard chorus this deep and dark I was in the Mines of Moria. This is not a place you want to be. The uplifting sections would be more uplifting if not for the foreboding undertones, and be sure to expect plenty of that great main theme. The end tense and sharp, not ending on a note of hope.

3.) Little Ducks – 2:03 Ok, honestly, how do you go from almost 24 minutes to 2? Oh well. Go to it Harry baby. The London Choir is full of deep, soulful voices that rest on notes somewhere between farewell and farewell forever. The end feels surprisingly abrupt.

4.) 1SQ – 18:03 Yowza. Another super long track. I feel I may have encountered some 18-minuters before, but I can’t recall any at the moment. Again, a slow, quiet start with that sad little horn, but a fast change to something more urgent soon steals the scene. Slightly off-note violins add to the drama, building up and up only to drop off. Instruments and tones waver in and out until they finally gather up enough strength to go rough and ready. Danger lurks around every corner, vibrating and echoing, violins and trumpets shouting abruptly here and there. We are on a submarine hundreds of feet beneath the ocean surface, so be ready at all times for a fight. It may not be all banging drums and blaring trumpets, but it’s no less heart-pounding and anxious. Don’t forget a dash of that theme! The end gets really good with the full out orchestra of victory – only wish it lasted a tad bit longer (ironically).

5.) Roll Tide – 7:33 (includes hymn “Eternal Father Strong to Save”) The hymn is the only piece of music on this CD without Zimmer’s magical touch on it. John Dykes has the pleasure of obtaining credit for writing the hymn. The rest though, that’s all Zimmer. Like the rest of the tracks before it, it starts off slow, with the theme gradually building into a fantastic fully fledged version. Eventually we work our way to the hymn, which is very impressive, soulful and the deep male voices give it that powerful quality. Makes me sad when the track is over because that means there’s no more. Aww.

The whole CD is 28 seconds over an even hour. Not bad for five tracks.

As much as I enjoy the movie, 98% of the time I have no idea where I am when it comes to the soundtrack, but I don’t care. Zimmer just has the ability to make me really enjoy the soundtrack, humming along and bobbing my head to the music. It’s so powerful, I just love it. I can forget all about the movie and have the sheer enjoyment of the music around me. That is what gives a soundtrack the extra mile to make it something beyond movie music. Soundtracking to me is like wine tasting is to other people. (Yes, I know “soundtracking” isn’t a word, just bear with me). If Thomas Newman is sweet, John Williams perky, and James Horner seductively delicious, then Hans Zimmer is loud and strong in a very good way.

I absolutely love the chorus, superbly potent at every corner. Yes, this soundtrack doesn’t waver around much when it comes to track difference, but you always have to take the movie in along with the music. Crimson Tide is pretty basic in its own way; these men are deep in the ocean inside of a submarine – there isn’t much wiggle room in there either. It fits perfectly as it is, so you can’t penalize the similar track styles. I certainly don’t. There’s no reason to when you think about it in correct terms. This coming from the girl who always wants to zone out and imagine stuff with the music.

You have to be sure to know what you’re getting into with this soundtrack. There isn’t anything upbeat here. Nothing truly happy, no sunshine here. We’re in a lethal situation where death is always around the corner and the music reflects that. You have to be able to appreciate this music for what it is; somber and ocean-deep lightless. That’s part of what makes it unique though. Still, if you can’t handle it, don’t get it. There are some exciting edgy parts, and a few select hopeful bits, but for the most part it’s edge of nuclear war, submarine warfare, metal and blue-black water sound. Everyone has their preferences.

But of course, if you like Hans Zimmer, flippin’ go for it.


Originally posted at


Post a Comment


Sample This Month's Soundtracks

Twitter Updates

Meet the Author

My photo
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.