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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Album Cover Art
Composed and Co-Produced by:

Additional Music and Co-Conducted by:
Eric Whitacre

Additional Music and Arrangements by:
Rodrigo Sanchez
Gabriela Quintero
Eduardo Cruz
Geoff Zanelli
Matthew Margeson
Guillame Roussel
Tom Gire
John Sponsler
Jacob Shea
Nick Phoenix
Thomas Bergersen

Co-Conducted by:
Nick Glennie-Smith
Gavin Greenaway
Ben Foster
Matthew Dunkley

Orchestrated by:
Bruce Fowler
Elizabeth Finch
Walt Fowler
Rick Gioninazzo
Kevin Kaska
Suzette Moriarty
Ed Neumeister

Co-Produced by:
Bob Badami
Melissa Muik
Peter Asher
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Walt Disney Records
(May 17th, 2011)
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Regular U.S. release. Alternate covers exist for the album.
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Decorative Nonsense
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you yearn to continue punishing yourself with lazy and uninspired Hans Zimmer pirate music that is inexplicably translated into the realm of cheap trance as per the composer's own wishes for your listening enjoyment.

Avoid it... on an inexcusable album presentation that is not only worse than Rango, but makes it nearly impossible to appreciate what few, fleeting moments of interest the composer and his army generated before sleepwalking through the haphazard assembly of this score's many boring components.
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WRITTEN 5/17/11
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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: (Hans Zimmer/Various) Never trust any studio executive or producer who declares that the doors on a successful franchise have officially closed. The initial Pirates of the Caribbean adaptation of the famous Disney theme park ride was originally conceived to be a standalone film. Then, two sequels were planned for release in short succession and at the debut of the third entry, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End in 2007, the concept was put to rest. The allure of $1.8 billion in net profits for Disney after that trilogy, however, proved too seductive, and despite some publicized spats between studio executives, the fourth film in the franchise was produced based upon Tim Powers' novel "On Stranger Tides" for a summer 2011 release. Everything about Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has seemed tarnished by a lack of uniform enthusiasm from both Disney and the crew. The budget for the movie was slimmed down considerably, many famous characters are gone, new ones based upon real-life inspiration take the overarching story in a new direction, a PG-13 rating for sensuality is a Disney first, and more than one crew member, including lead actor Johnny Depp (despite earning $55 million for reprising his role), have expressed that the experience has been less than ideal. The story reunites Depp and Geoffrey Rush's character and pits them with and against Penelope Cruz as an old flame on a hunt for the fountain of youth. In their way is Blackbeard, mermaids, and the usual assortment of nasty undead pirates. Early critical response was not particularly favorable to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and reactions to its soundtrack have been even more vicious than those for the original, disastrous entry. Composer Hans Zimmer wrote the bulk of the material for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl but couldn't take credit for it due to contractual obligations for The Last Samurai. It was a hectic and rushed, last-minute job to replace Alan Silvestri that was largely hacked out on synthesizers for the final recording. Remarkably, the score enjoyed the same success as the film and has become a mainstream favorite regardless of its countless shortfalls of intellect. Zimmer took greater responsibility for the two sequels that followed, eventually replacing the synthetic elements with a mostly orchestral score for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End that is considered by almost all film music collectors to be the most superior of the franchise to date.

In the years after At World's End, Zimmer claimed that he was done with the franchise, and even at the time of scoring On Stranger Tides, he affirmed that it has made him "seasick." Nevertheless, the composer is a champion of the collaborative process in music composition and recording, and if nothing else, these Pirates of the Caribbean scores allow him a significant amount of latitude in terms of teaming up with other artists who interest him. In the case of On Stranger Tides, that meant employing the usual army of Remote Control assistants, including additional music and arrangements from Matthew Margeson, Geoff Zanelli, Guillame Roussel, Tom Gire, John Sponsler, Jacob Shea, Nick Phoenix, and Thomas Bergersen. But also on the menu are contributions from a variety of external sources, too, including a tango from Eduardo Cruz, Penelope's younger brother, choral arrangements from Eric Whitacre (Zimmer needed his assistance to gauge the performance capabilities of the singers), and a variety of Latin influences from Mexican/Irish rock acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero ("Rodrigo y Gabriela"). For the standalone release, Zimmer joined with respected album producer Peter Asher to coordinate a slew of remixes based upon those original collaborative results. More than anything, Zimmer enjoys seeking contributions from other musicians and spreads the credit amicably, and it is this continued career path explored by the composer that absolutely sinks the music for On Stranger Tides. For years, there has been a growing discontentment within Zimmer's most ardent fanbase in regards to his diminished role as a solo composer and concentration on "overproducing" the scores he is asked to write. While his preferred process still appeals to a large segment of his listeners, On Stranger Tides may represent a turning point in that support. To say that the initial commercial album containing this score is an uncoordinated, unfocused mess pointed at people who own just a couple of soundtracks is an understatement, and be aware that the review to follow is based upon that product alone. Zimmer fans claimed to have extensive recording sessions leaked already on the web at the time of the official album's release, but that material (chopped into an insane number of short cues) will perhaps be the topic of future analysis. Until then, the album that Zimmer himself produced is the target of choice ridicule, for the music presented in its contents won't really satisfy anyone in the film score spectrum, whether you apologize for Zimmer's coordination techniques or otherwise.

More discussion about the ills of the album situation will be covered at the end of this review, and what follows is, once again, based solely upon the snippets of score (amounting to less than half an hour) that Zimmer chose for inclusion on the product. As for the score itself, Zimmer handled On Stranger Tides, as always, with his collaborators often in the room with him while he toyed with ideas on keyboards. This includes Rodrigo y Gabriela; the three wrote their sequences together in close confines. With the exception of the love theme and some minor motifs, Zimmer handled the new major themes himself, writing the score's ideas for the mermaids and Blackbeard. Interestingly, Zimmer sought to make On Stranger Tides a nearly completely organic score, shedding the synthesizers in favor of acoustic performances. This posed a problem because he confessed that it was challenging for the orchestral players to produce the "tough, rugged bass" that he desires. The trademark emphasis on lower registers is indeed prevalent in the score, and some minor kudos have to be extended to Zimmer for attempting to leave the electronic enhancements behind. But when the orchestra (and especially the brass) is forced into such unnatural performance exaggerations, you end up hearing a result that is so similar to the synthetic sampling and manipulation of those players that the effort seems moot. Zimmer has for a long time used post-processing to construe the live recordings into the beefy, muscular tone of their electronic representations, and the outcome here is really no different. There is no doubt that a fair number of listeners will erroneously believe that On Stranger Tides is at least partially synthetic. It's hard to blame them, especially given the franchise's roots. Why Zimmer thinks this sound is befitting a swashbuckling concept is still an issue, but that debate has been beaten to death in the reviews for the previous scores in this series. All of the same arguments are valid here, but reprising them is somewhat pointless. It suffices to conclude that anyone looking for intelligence in the totally non-dynamic sound of the Pirates of the Caribbean scores is not very well educated about the history of film music. It's also safe to say that if you're still genuinely wishing you could hear what Silvestri would have produced for the first film before being canned, then the equation with On Stranger Tides will not change your opinion in regards to Zimmer's style. What's truly disappointing about this score is what a letdown it is compared to the promise shown in At World's End. There's practically nothing clever about the narrative development in this music, and that's the telltale sign of a composer bored with the topic and handling the assignment because he is obligated to do it, not because he's passionate about it.

Ratings Icon
Average: 1.83 Stars
***** 82 5 Stars
**** 136 4 Stars
*** 305 3 Stars
** 635 2 Stars
* 1,226 1 Stars
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FVSR Reviews Pirates 4
Brendan Cochran - September 18, 2016, at 8:07 p.m.
1 comment  (387 views)
PotC 4 average critics rating
Chris - October 6, 2013, at 10:44 a.m.
1 comment  (812 views)
Sounds like a parody of Zimmer
Taikou - August 25, 2012, at 1:43 a.m.
1 comment  (1073 views)
To disagree...   Expand >>
Stephanie - June 22, 2011, at 8:44 p.m.
2 comments  (2387 views)
Newest: June 30, 2011, at 9:46 p.m. by
Edmund Meinerts
I strongly disagree   Expand >>
Saša - May 28, 2011, at 12:28 a.m.
4 comments  (2156 views)
Newest: May 28, 2011, at 9:51 a.m. by
The "Pirates" music just kept getting better and better until...
Sparticus - May 27, 2011, at 7:28 a.m.
1 comment  (1022 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 77:35
• 1. Guilty of Not Being Innocent of Being Jack Sparrow (1:42)
• 2. Angelica - performed by Rodrigo y Gabriela (4:17)
• 3. Mutiny (2:48)
• 4. The Pirate That Should Not Be - performed by Rodrigo y Gabriela (3:55)
• 5. Mermaids (8:05)
• 6. South of Heaven's Chanting Mermaids - performed by Rodrigo y Gabriela (5:48)
• 7. Palm Tree Escape (3:06)
• 8. Blackbeard (5:05)
• 9. Angry and Dead Again - performed by Rodrigo y Gabriela (5:33)
• 10. On Stranger Tides (2:44)
• 11. End Credits (1:59)
• 12. Guilty of Being Innocent of Being Jack Sparrow - remixed by DJ Earworm (2:45)
• 13. Angelica (Grant Us Peace Remix) - remixed by Ki:Theory (3:08)
• 14. The Pirate That Should Not Be - remixed by Photek (6:26)
• 15. Blackbeard - remixed by Super Smash Bros & Thieves (5:26)
• 16. South of Heaven's Chanting Mermaids - remixed by Paper Diamond (3:32)
• 17. Palm Tree Escape - remixed by Adam Freeland (5:28)
• 18. Angry and Dead Again Remixed - remixed by Static Avenger (5:49)

Notes Icon
The insert includes ridiculously extensive credits, but no extra information about the score or film.
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The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides are Copyright © 2011, Walt Disney Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 5/17/11 (and not updated significantly since).
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