Days of Thunder

Hans Zimmer

" Give this score a chance, it won't let you down! "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the limited release

It doesn't get any faster than this. Well for Cruise's career, Days of Thunder came just at the right time. He was the hottest young actor in town and for director Tony Scott the right man to lead a NASCAR race into movie making history. Days of Thunder turned out to be another successful motion picture experience, having the right amount of action, romance, testosterone and humor to perfectly fill your evening. And the same could be said about the music of Hans Zimmer. Alas, for a long time it wasn't available ... until now.

Yes, we needed to wait impatiently for some old school Hans Zimmer soundtracks. But after expanding Black Rain in 2012, La-La Land thought it was the perfect moment to premiere the one and only release of Days of Thunder in 2013. Because Days of Thunder was never heard officially, and that bootleg had issues (like the entire final race just being ... not there). So what better way to spend some Christmas money on one of those typical power anthem soundtracks of Hans Zimmer's career.

Truthfully, it was perhaps Days of Thunder that started the use of power anthems in the first place, adding the thrill to an already thrilling experience. And it literally pays off in "Days of Thunder (Main Title"). Guitars open the cue (what else?), literally guiding us towards that first powerful main theme anthem, showing the pride and glory of an awakening NASCAR event. Ready to fuel the excitement of the crowd. And Hans throws some gasoline on that flame by igniting the first scenes of a race with wailing guitars and feisty percussion. Cruise's entrance is enhanced by a cool short statement of the theme in "Rowdy Drives / Who is This Driver?" and that same coolness expands at the end of "Let me Drive / Cole Drives Rowdy's Car" when Cruise shows us what he can do behind a NASCAR wheel. But the coolness never gets better when Zimmer creates perhaps one of the most beautiful cues of the film, underscoring Harry Hogge's (Robert Duvall) attempt at creating the perfect race car. The grace never tones down in this cue, and the sight of the newly formed race car remains my most favorite musical moment of the disc.

And from then on, things do become incredibly cool. In "Darlington - Cole Wins" every note of Hans is literally pushing the car forward, always in fluent motion and always with a perfect sense of development. You wouldn't believe it at first, but the incredible beats truly enhance the power of this scene ten fold. A cue that stands the test of time.

More cool music during "You're Home / Daytona Race / The Crash", literally showing Cole's invincible side before all things change drastically in the horrible crash. And suddenly invincibility turns to vulnerability, and that vulnerability is heard at the end of "The Hospital", followed by some cool shenanigans when Rowdy and Cole compete in whatever vehicle they find on wheels ("Wheelchair Race", "Rental Car Race"). In between we have the first sign of a love theme ("Rental Car Race") that gets expanded tries ("Claire Arrives at her Apartment) and home runs ("Physical Kiss") in the upcoming tracks. "Physical Kiss" has a lot of that Green Card (same year) bounciness too.

Sadly Cole is not the same anymore after the crash, and the dark sound opening "Wheeler / Cole Smashes" represents the race driver that is replacing Cole on his team. Naturally the results are crash worthy obvious. The cues after that are a bit gloomier, but all things change considerably once Cole finds his groove back, and the result is the utterly sensational "The Last Race". Missing from the bootleg for whatever reason, here's the reason to feel the need for speed (sorry wrong film). The motif for Wheeler now opens the experience, literally jump starting the beats and wailing guitars. However things move into fifth gear after 2 minutes when Cole's out of there and rediscovers his confidence. From then on, it's pure entertainment (watch out for the rubbin' at 6.14). Naturally the outcome is to be expected and the theme soars after some of the most cool minutes of the disc. This is the stuff we've been waiting for boys and girls. Old school Hans Zimmer coolness in a nutshell. And I love that powerful statement of the love theme as well.

Ah happy times. Days of Thunder immediately regenerated my passion for the film, and that's what filmmusic is all about. There's nothing subtle about this music. It's all in the adrenaline, the excitement and the pace. Days of Thunder is one of those Hans Zimmer experiences that no one can duplicate, and it's a shame we needed to wait on it for such a long time. But now it's here, and it's here to stay. A shame and kind of an insult that this score isn't sold out yet, because like Rush it literally makes / creates / duplicates the film experience on album. How many albums can say that? Feel the thunder with Days of Thunder, one of La-La Land's best Christmas surprises of last year.

Damn, even that song's utterly cool. I love the 80's and 90's!

Favorite Moment - Car Building (1.15 - 2.05)
I love this track, enhanced by the utterly cool moment at the end

Track Listing

1. Days of Thunder (Main Title) (3.08)
2. Rowdy Drives / Who is This Driver? (2.06)
3. Let me Drive / Cole Drives Rowdy's Car (2.26)
4. Car Building (2.05) Excellent track
5. Darlington - Cole Wins (4.47) Excellent track
6. You're Home / Daytona Race / The Crash (3.29)
7. The Hospital (2.20)
8. Wheelchair Race (0.37)
9. Rental Car Race * (3.50)
10. Claire Arrives at Her Apartment (1.55)
11. Physical Kiss (1.05)
12. Cole Blows His Engine (1.10)
13. Wheeler / Cole Smashes (2.25)
14. Cole at the Laundry / Cole Agrees to Drive Rowdy's Car (2.11)
15. Cole and Harry Fight / Harry Talks to Car (2.52)
16. Cole in Truck / Pre-Race (3.52)
17. The Last Race (10.20) Excellent track
18. The Last Note of Freedom: David Coverdale (4.57)

Bonus Tracks
19. The Hospital (alternate) (2.21)
20. Wheelchair Race (alternate) (0.38)
21. Claire Arrives at Her Apartment (alternate ending) (1.53)
22. Cole Blows His Engine (alternate) (1.12)
23. Pre-Race (alternate mix) (2.25)
24. Days of Thunder (Main Title) (rock arrangement) (4.59)

* contains material not used in film

Total Length: 69.03
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 17 votes - average 3.24/5)

Released by

La-La Land Records LLLCD 1290 (limited release 2013)

Conducted & Orchestrated by

Shirley Walker