Another cinematic episode in the continuing Pirates of the Caribbean franchise means another Hans Zimmer soundtrack...right? Well, yes and no. It's true that Zimmer, with his trademarked European sense of flair, has scored Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides with his usual orchestra and choir, but there are a couple of twists to make things a tad more interesting. Zimmer, a longtime fan of virtuoso acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela from Mexico, decided to incorporate them into his score, which is rich in Latin and flamenco themes. They are prominently featured on no less than five cues here. In fact, it's more like the selections that include Rodrigo y Gabriela -- "Angelica," "The Pirate That Should Not Be," "South of Heaven's Chanting Mermaids," "Palm Tree Escape," and "Angry and Dead Again" -- feature their flashy, soulful guitar work in the foreground adorned by Zimmer's strings, voices, brass, and woodwind sections in an understated manner, and they add dimension and texture, balancing the bombast. They work fantastically. In addition to the 11 selections in the score are six of the film's cues remixed by various DJs and producers. Interestingly, four of the Rodrigo y Gabriela tracks were chosen. Of these, "South of Heaven's Chanting Mermaids" (remixed by Paper Diamond), Photek's (good to hear him working again) revision of "The Pirate That Should Not Be," and Static Revenger's techno meets Tangerine Dream remix of "Angry and Dead Again" are the most successful. In all, this soundtrack is a wild ride, moving as it does from brooding orchestral and choral music to exotic flamenco and rumba-flavored tunes to careening electronica. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but for those adventurous enough, it's quite satisfying. Also, look for even more of the cuts from this set -- including the remixes -- to be remixed again.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides [Original Soundtrack] Review
by Thom Jurek