In This Month in Trailer Music, the team at Canada-based research project Trailaurality takes a look at the musical highlights of the past month’s film and TV trailer drops. Be sure to also check out the detailed breakdowns on their website!
When you think of Jonah Hill, the phrase “auteur director” doesn’t necessarily come to mind – yet it just might after viewing the debut trailer for his semi-autobiographical foray into filmmaking, the stylishly-titled Mid90s. Interestingly, Hill and/or the trailer’s editors didn’t choose two songs so much as they chose to focus on two samples within tracks by Wu-Tang Clan and Kanye West. Wendy Rene’s “After Laughter (Comes Tears)” and the treatment Clan give it is as evocative of the 1990s in the United States as anything. The sample of Omega’s 1969 song “Gyöngyhajú lány,” meanwhile, doesn’t necessarily hold special temporal significance but does fit the mood of the second half of the trailer to a tee.
Although Lizzie promises a modern retelling of the 19th century American horror story of Lizzie Borden, the infamous Massachusetts woman who was tried (and eventually acquitted) for the murder by hatchet of her father and stepmother in 1892, the instrumentation of its trailer is unequivocally classical. The cloud of creepy, aleatoric strings descending upon the listener about a minute in dials up the horror, only to increase moments later with rhythmic doubling and out-of-control glissandi. A short, discernible motif caps off a stylish assemblage of string tropes for the horror genre.
Elsewhere, it makes sense that an indie film begets indie music in its trailer, and this is exactly what we get with The Miseducation of Cameron Post. French electro-pop group BLOW’s 2016 track “Don’t Wait For Us” clearly wasn’t chosen for its recognizability so much as for its evocation of the complex feelings that the film is clearly working with; the trailer is by turns comedic and sombre, and the particular energy of BLOW’s track helps negotiate these emotional valences adeptly, reminding us of Boy Erased, a film that deals with a very similar theme/issue and similarly uses a new original song, “Revelation,” by Troye Sivan and Jónsi (the latter best known as the frontman for post-rock group Sigur Rós).
These are just a few of what we felt were the most interesting and / or attention-grabbing trailers released in the past month or so, especially in terms of their music and sound. Have a suggestion on what we should look at next time? Follow us @trailaurality and visit our weekly blog at trailaurality.com for even more analysis and discussion. See you next month!