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The Lone Ranger (Hans Zimmer)

August 25, 2013

Cover_theloneranger THE LONE RANGER

Hans Zimmer, 2013, WaterTower Music
11 tracks, 49:36

After the deadly serious affair that was “Man of Steel“, Zimmer returns with an altogether more fun score. It still suffers from the composer’s heavy-handedness, but does offer some satisfying moments.

Review by Pete Simons

What is it?

Gore Verbinski. Johnny Depp. Hans Zimmer. Need I say more? It’s a Disney production in which Native American warrior Tonto (Depp) recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid (Armie Hammer), a man of the law, into a legend of justice.

What does it sound like?

The album opens with “Never take off the Mask” which features a rather desolate theme for solo violin over soft atmospheric synth sounds. A much more adventurous rendition recurs later during the finale. “Absurdity” sprouts one of those ‘gypsy’-like themes that Zimmer also attributed to Jack Sparrow and Sherlock. A cymbalon-like instrument is featured throughout. It’s not my cup of tea, but I appreciate the playfulness of the melody. However, any subtlety in the orchestration (not that there is much to start with) is soon drowned out by a large, bombastic orchestral sound. An odd, almost slapstick-y (and somewhat Goldsmithian) motif for flute makes its first of several appearances in this cue.

“Silver” centers around a solo violin playing a whistful tune; something that might indeed be played around a camp fire. It’s as lyrical a cue as Zimmer writes them; and it superficially recalls scores like “An Everlasting Piece”. The pace is picked up during “Ride”, which has a wonderful rhythmic drive. It’s a varied track in many ways. The orchestration is surprisingly colourful for Zimmer; and some obvious Morricone / Spaghetti Western references make way for some lovely, reasonably subtle string work.

“You’ve looked better” starts off a little obnoxiously, but ends rather solemnly; whilst “Red’s Theatre of the Absurd” shows Zimmer at his most playful with this circus-like cue featuring (bass?) clarinet and trumpets. It’s not far off some of the zany stuff that Elfman comes up with; but again it’s not really my thing. “The Railroad waits for No one” and “For God and Country” are two fairly typical Zimmer action cues, full of his usual brass stabs and pounding rhythms. The latter does offer some interesting variations on the score’s themes and has all the makings of a ‘guilty pleasure’. “You’re just a Man in a Mask” offers a melancholy variation on the theme from “Silver” and (listen to the strings) ends with another clear nod to Morricone.

The “Finale”, courtesy of Geoff Zanelli, is an instant delight. It takes Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” and infuses it with all sorts of Zimmer-isms – and as such, it’s a great track for people who want to study the Remote Control stylistics. This cue sounds a lot ‘fresher’ than Zimmer’s own tracks, as if it relies less on synthesizers and more on clear orchestral writing. I must say though… it does go on and on and on. It’s a highly energetic piece and, at nearly ten minutes, it does get tiresome. However, there are truly wonderful moments sprinkled throughout it.

With “Home” the album ends on a quiter, melancholy note. Its slow, warm chords remind me slightly of another classical piece, but I’ll be damned if I can actually remember the name of it right now! It’s pretty whilst it lasts, but I find it a little too forgettable.

Is it any good?

It offers some really good moments, such as large parts of “Finale”, the theme heard in “Silver” and some of Zimmer’s action writing. However, I find that the whole is less than the sum of its parts. Any orchestral subtlety is once again drowned out by layers of synthesizers; creating not only this ‘fake’ sound that dominates most of the composer’s output of the last decade; but also makes the score heavy-handed. Somehow, Zimmer’s music always sounds forceful, even during quieter moments. With few exceptions, Zimmer seems to keep layering sound upon sound, creating an immensely dense sound – more so than I personally belief to be necessary. This is one of the key problems I have with his (recent) output. It may be frivolous and fun, but it is never ‘light’. Ultimately, it just becomes tiresome.

Rating [2,5/5]


1. Never Take Off the Mask (1:08)
2. Absurdity (4:58)
3. Silver (4:00)
4. Ride (4:17)
5. You’ve Looked Better (3:09)
6. Red’s Theater of the Absurd* (3:02)
7. The Railroad Waits for No One (3:09)
8. You’re Just a Man in a Mask (4:14)
9. For God and for Country (4:53)
10. Finale** (9:51)
11. Home (6:55)

*(performed by Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three)
** (includes excerpts from “William Tell Overture” by Gioachino Rossini; arranged by Geoff Zanelli)

Album credits

Album credits on

  1. Kira permalink

    Great review even if I don’t agree with some of it. Maybe it’s the fact that his last few efforts were less then entertaining, but I think this is his best score since At Worlds End.

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