James Horner


James Horner has become a star seemingly overnight due to his involvement into scoring the music to that film -- which seems to have captured the minds and imaginations of people worldwide. Of course Horner is no stranger to the film music community. He brought us the music for such classics as The Name of the Rose, Glory and Willow -- as well as the music to recent movies such as Braveheart and Legends of the Fall. Unfortunately it seems that Horner has lost his touch.

The rest of the world is going to disagree, citing that Horner won two Academy Awards and two Golden Globes for his work on Titanic. Titanic was also the top selling score CD of all time, passing Vangelis' Chariots of Fire. One may ask why, and I think the answer has nothing to do with the score. The score is overtly Irish and no one has been able to give me a reasonable answer to why this is so. It is not totally inappropriate because the ship was built in Ireland (and some of the passengers were Irish) but that wasn't what the story was about. The cynic in me says that Horner was trying to cash in to the "Celtic Wave" sweeping the world with his Enya-like music.

Enough of the blather. What is it like to use as roleplaying music? The score is very romantic, getting very mushy at times. This doesn't lend itself well to most roleplaying adventures, as romance isn't high on the players' list. Horner also uses a lot of synthesisers that makes his music quite bland (whereas Vangelis uses them quite well). A lot of the music you have heard before, as the second track sounds much like the very superior Spitfire Grill.

The sequel album, Back to Titanic, is to Titanic what More Music from Braveheart was to Braveheart. The only difference is that Back to Titanic is a much better album that the original. It has a much broader canvas. Unfortunately there is too much dialogue smattered through a number of tracks to make the album very useful for roleplaying. That coupled with the fact the two of the tracks account for over a third of the album, this is another strike.

Your biggest problem is most of the players are going to have heard the music and might recognise it. Considering every woman, man, child and dog has a copy by now. I'd steer clear of this sinking ship . . .

Track Listing and Notes


  1. Never an Absolution (3:03) - opening
  2. Distant Memories (2:23) - journey
  3. Southampton (4:01) - leaving
  4. Rose (2:52) - sad
  5. Leaving Port (3:26) - journey
  6. "Take her to sea, Mr. Murdoch" (4:31) - happy
  7. "Hard to starboard" (6:52) - sad ~ danger
  8. Unable to Stay, Unwilling to Leave (3:56) - sad ~ danger
  9. The Sinking (5:05) - danger
  10. Death of Titanic (8:26) - tension
  11. A Promise Kept (6:02) - quiet
  12. A Life So Changed (2:13) - sad
  13. An Ocean of Memories (7:57) - magical
  14. My Heart Will Go On * (5:10)
  15. Hymn to the Sea (6:25) - ending

* song

Total Running Time: 72:29

Back to Titanic

  1. Titanic Suite (19:05) - slow ~ departing ~ sad
  2. An Irish Party in Third Class * - Gaelic Storm (3:49)
  3. Alexander's Ragtime Band * - I Salonisti (2:30)
  4. Rose The Portrait - James Horner (4:43) - sad
  5. Jack Dawson's Luck (5:38) - hoe down
  6. A Building Panic (8:09) - danger
  7. Nearer My God to Thee * - I Salonisti (2:49)
  8. Come Josephine, In My Flying Machine * - Maire Brennan (3:32)
  9. Lament (4:36) - sad
  10. A Shore Never Reached (4:27) - endings
  11. My Heart Will Go On * - Celine Dion (4:43)
  12. Nearer My God to Thee * - Eileen Ivers (2:22) - lament
  13. Epilogue - The Deep and Timeless Sea (12:37) - endings

* contains dialogue

Total Running Time: 79:05

Alternative Reviews

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Titanic © 1997 Sony Music Entertainment Inc.