Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides OST – Hans Zimmer/Rodrigo Y Gabriela (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
SOUNDTRACKS of late have adopted a very savvy attitude to making their scores more hip. In recent months we’ve had Daft Punk providing the soundtrack to Tron: Legacy and the Chemical Brothers providing thumping break beats to Hanna
Now, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has decided to call on an unusual but highly effective partnership to give its score more street cred.
Hence, Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer (he of Rainman/Gladiator fame) has enlisted Mexican guitar maestros Rodrigo Y Gabriela to add some zip. And it’s a match made in heaven, particularly given the Spanish leanings of this fourth movie.
Rodrigo Y Gabriela have deservedly found world-wide fame for their mercurial guitar playing. They’ve sold out many concerts with just two acoustic guitars to their name… thanks to their fierce strumming, their lively percussion (achieved using the wood of the guitar) and their free-flowing charisma.
On soundtrack duty, they add zip, bravado and flamenco/Spanish guitar influences to Zimmer’s swirling composition. The result is as highly intoxicating, passionate and lively as you’d expect from a pirate-themed romp with an eccentric central character steering the ship.
Zimmer’s score this time around plays with the customary Jack Sparrow theme and is given free reign on a couple of occasions, where his guest duo don’t figure. And it’s still lively and fun.
But the real highlights come whenever Rodrigo Y Gabriela take centre stage: Angelica, the theme they’ve helped to compose for Penelope Cruz’s character, captures the feisty vitality she brings to the role, as well as the playful sense of mistrust. It’s great and stands alone as a fine piece of music… the guitars forming a swashbuckling tango.
Likewise, there’s a rousing combination of power and grace on The Pirate That Should Not Be, which shifts tempos beautifully, and a lush, simple beauty surrounding the intricate acoustic composition of South of Heaven’s Chanting Mermaids.
Zimmer’s score combines playfully well with R&G’s guitars on Palm Tree Escape, while a church bell ushers in the lovely Angry And Dead Again, another favourite.
Away from R&G, Zimmer’s arrangements for Blackbeard and the End Credits are as fun, bombastic and playful as ever, while a selection of remixes by the likes of DJ Earworm, Photek and Adam Freeland work better than you might expect… with DJ Earworm’s Guilty of Being Innocent of Being Jack Sparrow particularly effective.
[Pirate] hats must therefore be raised to Zimmer and company for making a soundtrack to savour.
Download picks: Angelica, The Pirate That Should Not Be, South of Heaven’s Chanting Mermaids, Angry And Dead Again, End Credits, Guilty of Being Innocent of Being Jack Sparrow remix