Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Composer: Geoff Zanelli

Distributed by: Walt Disney Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Dead Men Tell No Tales, eleven years have passed since the events of At World’s End.  Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) is working on a British Royal Navy warship when he realizes that a pirate ship they are chasing is leading them to the Devils Triangle.  It is there that the crew comes across a shipwreck of undead sailors led by Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) who leaves Henry alive to deliver a message to Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) – Salazar is coming for him.

                The musical score of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was created by Geoff Zanelli, an American composer who began his career as a guitar player and songwriter before majoring in Film Scoring and Music Production/Engineering at Berklee College of Music.  In 1994, Hans Zimmer invited Zanelli to join his group of composers.  He collaborated with a number of composers on various works and it was here that he would first be introduced to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, working with Hans Zimmer on the score of On Stranger Tides.  As principle composer, Geoff Zanelli has created musical score for such notable films as Feast, Hitman, Into the West, Disturbia, Gamer, The Pacific, No Stranger Than Love and more.

                The musical score is orchestral and what you would expect from a seafaring score, featuring heavy percussion, horns, strings and a touch of Celtic flavor.  There is a sense of adventure in most of the tracks and every now and then, Zanelli borrows from Hans Zimmer’s heroic sounding main theme.  Salazar has quite the sinister theme himself, with dark melodies that speak of danger and vengeance.  Moments in which Salazar attempts to capture and kill Jack Sparrow feature dark determination, increasing in crescendo and speed, accompanied by heavy percussion and, on occasion, screeching violins.  There is a playfulness to the track Kill the Filthy Pirate, I'll Wait, but that is the only track in which a lighthearted spirit can be found.

                The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Soundtrack is exactly what you would expect from a Pirates of the Caribbean score, though I venture to say it is a bit darker than previous ones.  I have no doubt that it works well with the visuals of the film and would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the films.  Definitely worth the listen.


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