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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Album Cover Art
Composed and Produced by:
Geoff Zanelli

Additional Music by:
Phill Boucher
Paul Mounsey
Steve Mazzaro
Anthony Willis
Zak McNeil

Conducted by:
Nick Glennie-Smith
Gavin Greenaway

Orchestrated by:
Bruce Fowler
Walt Fowler
Rick Gioninazzo
Suzette Moriarty
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Walt Disney Records
(May 26th, 2017)
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Regular U.S. release. The digital version of the album contains a bonus remix track.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you've been hesitant to tolerate Hans Zimmer and crew's overly-processed, bass-heavy pirate music in the past, Geoff Zanelli steering the franchise's music towards a more dynamic, symphonic tone.

Avoid it... if you expect this new team of ghostwriters to solve all the ills caused by Zimmer in the past, an excess of forced thematic references and lingering mixing issues countering some strong new themes for this entry.
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WRITTEN 7/1/17
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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: (Geoff Zanelli/Various) The Jerry Bruckheimer juggernaut of a franchise based upon the popular Disneyland attraction lumbers into its fifth entry in 2017, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales attempting to reboot the franchise's storyline as to capture the original magic of the initial 2003 entry. The concept was in peril after a mediocre showing for On Stranger Tides in 2011, and two years of post-production hell awaited the much delayed Dead Men Tell No Tales. While the grosses from these films, not to mention critical response, keep diminishing with each continuing project, it's clear that the 2017 film seeks to reinvest in the original characters and ships of the franchise. While new, cursed villains, Spanish Captain Salazar and his undead crew, seek to destroy the beloved Jack Sparrow, the franchise's secondary characters are joined by a new heroine, Carina Smyth, in an alliance to find the mythological trident to release all the various curses plaguing them. With the reintroduction of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, and the development of a younger generation of characters ripe for future films, Dead Men Tell No Tales hopes to be a transition to salvation for the concept on screen. The reintegration of so many prior characters and vessels posed an dilemma for the soundtrack for this film, the project still residing firmly in the domain of Hans Zimmer's Remote Control Productions, which, depending on how you look at the universe (and, mostly, how old you are), either destroyed or saved "pirate music" in general with the success of the 2003 score. Zimmer, who had confessed to being burnt out on this franchise, found himself unable to score the 2017 project due to scheduling conflicts (Dunkirk and, one could humorously say, all those infomercials selling himself as a professor), but that didn't stop the RC team from simply shifting the same group of core orchestrators over to a new gang of half a dozen or so yo-ho co-composers. Master arranger Geoff Zanelli has been present in this franchise since the start, toiling as the ghostwriter responsible for several of its secondary themes, and he is now elevated to lead composer with his own team of ghostwriters, none of whom receive front cover credit. Or back cover credit, for that matter. The usual small print applies.

All the procedural problems that plagued the collaborative compositional effort for the prior Pirates of the Caribbean scores continue to persist in Dead Men Tell No Tales, though at least they aren't as obnoxiously obvious as they were in the puzzling On Stranger Tides, a score nearly widely blasted by even franchise enthusiasts. Zanelli is a talented composer, known mostly for his Emmy-winning work on television, one seemingly more classically inclined than Zimmer and other ghostwriters on the RC team. His arrangement work involving the "William Tell Overture" for The Lone Ranger remains one of the most remarkable pieces of film music in the decade. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Zanelli is a solid choice to replace Zimmer as the main coordinator of a score in this franchise, for the loyalty to concept themes remains intact. In fact, the adherence to the prior musical identities is so staunch in Dead Men Tell No Tales that it's almost distractingly perfunctory. You hear different existing melodies reprised depending upon which ghostwriter is contributing a certain cue, and this score as a whole becomes a head-whipping exercise in trying to chase down all the inclusions. Most of these references are quite smart, really, as the composers do everything to address even hints, shadows, or, in this case, children, of prior concepts with snippets of secondary themes from the previous scores. The problem with this approach comes when Dead Men Tell No Tales is treated to its own trio of major new themes, one of which established to persist in future films, increasing the overall count of melodies to untenable levels as the team of ghostwriters continues to insist upon dropping references to all applicable identities wherever possible. Also of serious consideration is the "sound" of the franchise, dominated up until this score by the heavily processed, bass-heavy manipulation of organic performances to make them sound synthetic. Zimmer had written some strong themes in his first three scores only to annihilate their effectiveness by running them through amplifiers and other ridiculous means of boosting their masculinity. Enthusiasts of the Golden Age of swashbucklers who admire everything from The Sea Hawk to Cutthroat Island objected mostly to the pounding synthetic personality of these scores, and Zanelli throws a kink into that equation with Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.33 Stars
***** 68 5 Stars
**** 134 4 Stars
*** 95 3 Stars
** 63 2 Stars
* 37 1 Stars
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Alternative review at Movie Wave
Southall - July 5, 2017, at 2:58 p.m.
1 comment  (825 views)
Dear Lord Satan, answer our Hans Zimmer prayers!   Expand >>
Valar Morghulis - July 4, 2017, at 10:12 p.m.
3 comments  (2211 views)
Newest: July 5, 2017, at 11:27 a.m. by
WTF? Pirates 5 is the best of the series?   Expand >>
Paloe - July 4, 2017, at 6:14 p.m.
2 comments  (1489 views)
Newest: July 4, 2017, at 11:01 p.m. by
Does the mix really make that much difference?
Bryn Mercado - July 4, 2017, at 5:26 p.m.
1 comment  (736 views)
I'll be curious to see how this section turns out   Expand >>
AhN - July 4, 2017, at 4:04 p.m.
2 comments  (1452 views)
Newest: July 4, 2017, at 4:29 p.m. by

Track Listings Icon
Total Time: 71:32
• 1. Dead Men Tell No Tales (1:50)
• 2. Salazar (4:33)
• 3. No Woman Has Ever Handled My Herschel (3:58)
• 4. You Speak of the Trident (1:58)
• 5. The Devil's Triangle (2:45)
• 6. Shansa (3:12)
• 7. Kill the Filthy Pirate, I'll Wait (4:50)
• 8. The Dying Gull (1:00)
• 9. El Matador del Mar (8:05)
• 10. Kill the Sparrow (6:15)
• 11. She Needs the Sea (2:32)
• 12. The Brightest Star in the North (6:00)
• 13. I've Come With the Butcher's Bill (6:40)
• 14. The Power of the Sea (4:07)
• 15. Treasure (5:43)
• 16. My Name is Barbossa (5:34)
• 17. Beyond My Beloved Horizon (2:40)

Bonus Track:
• 18. He's a Pirate Remix (Hans Zimmer vs. Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike)* (3:30)
* download album version only, not included on total CD album time

Notes Icon
The insert includes a list of performers and notes from the producer and director about the score.
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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: Dead Men Tell No Tales are Copyright © 2017, Walt Disney Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 7/1/17 (and not updated significantly since).
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