While the official soundtracks for previous Pirates of the Caribbean films have lacked some content (including the wonderful part after “Do you think he plans it all out, or just makes it up as he goes along?” in At World’s End), the soundtrack for On Stranger Tides was largely notable for the amount of content that it didn’t have.
I am not for one moment complaining at the inclusion of a large amount of material featuring Rodrigo y Gabriela (both pretty amazing). No, I am complaining about the lack of material that builds on themes from the previous films. Sure, there is some material with familiar themes, but they are largely the same as they always have been.
If you watch the film again, and listening for the music, you will undoubtedly hear some development of familiar themes: Cutler Beckett’s theme during the Jack and Angelica fight scene, and a wonderful combination of Jack Sparrow with Up Is Down (which is, after all, another Jack-inspired theme) as Jack runs along a beach towards Ponce de León’s ship. The former example leads to a side-note from me: unless Hans Zimmer knows some secrets about the characters, the older themes tend to be less strongly coupled to characters than they used to be. There is more use made of themes from The Curse of the Black Pearl than there is in Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End.
So, is all of that music destined to remain as a background for, and sometimes obscured by the sound effects for, on-screen action? Apparently not, it would seem. While it is a great shame that there is no official method of buying this music for one’s own consumption, some people seem to have acquired the music and uploaded it to YouTube. The source and status of the uploaded music is unclear, but at least a good chunk more of the full score seems to be included.
Let’s hope that one day this music will be available in a more official and polished form, perhaps as another Soundtrack Treasures Collection after the 5th and 6th films which may or may not happen. Until then, I leave you with three extracts that I like (out of those I’ve listened to so far).
(Features the combination of Jack Sparrow and Up Is Down 48 seconds in).
(Features a nice arrangement of part of Beckett’s theme 1 minute and 23 seconds in, and and nice developments of Jack Sparrow 10 seconds in).
A Pirate’s Life For Me