Metallica re-recorded their blockbuster power ballad “Nothing Else Matters” for the new Disney blockbuster, Jungle Cruise. The band teamed up with film composer James Newton Howard (News of the World, Maleficent), who dreamt up a new orchestral arrangement of the song as an instrumental; the group then recorded their parts for the tune, which will appear twice in the newly released film. Jungle Cruise is both in theaters and available on Disney+ Premiere Access now.
The recording starts with a new performance of the song’s instantly recognizable acoustic guitar arpeggios before drifting into Spanish guitar territory and the introduction of strings. The drums sound more tribal in nature, possibly because the film takes place on a journey down the Amazon, and the guitar weaves around the orchestral musicians evoking melodies that James Hetfield sang on the original. About two-thirds of the way through, it takes a turn and lives up to the “metal” part of Metallica’s name.
“James Newton Howard, the man, the myth, the absolute legend,” drummer Lars Ulrich said recently in a Collider interview. “Considering what’s he’s done, it’s an absolute honor to have done this with him, and we’re excited for the world to hear it. It’s kind of an interesting morph, because it’s kind of — and I don’t want to give too much of it away — but it’s a very unusual morph in that it’s kind of his arrangement of ‘Nothing Else Matters’ that we’re playing. We wrote the song, but he took the song and rearranged it to fit something specific in the film — and obviously, I’m not going to give any of that away — but we then kind of took on his version of it. I think that’s all that should be said.”
Jungle Cruise, based on the Disneyland ride, stars Dwayne Johnson as boat skipper and Emily Blunt as researcher Dr. Lily Houghton. She hires him to take her on a trip in search of an ancient tree that’s something like the fountain of youth. Along the way, they encounter the sorts of dangers you’d expect from a Disney ride (including Paul Giamatti).
In Metallica news, the group is ramping up its celebrations for the 30th anniversary of their self-titled “Black Album,” which contains “Nothing Else Matters.” On September 10th, they’ll release both a gigantic, super-deluxe box set of the album (14 CDs, six LPs, six DVDs, and more) and a four-disc tribute compilation to the album featuring Miley Cyrus, Yo-Yo Ma, Elton John, Phoebe Bridgers, Chris Stapleton, and dozens of others interpreting the songs in their own styles. Cyrus’ “Nothing Else Matters” is available to stream now, as is J Balvin’s “Wherever I May Roam” and country artist Jon Pardi’s take on the same song.