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!
Game of Thrones: Season 8
Of course, leading in we couldn’t not cover the hotly-anticipated final season of the iconic HBO series, with the long-awaited trailer backed by a haunting take on series composer Ramin Djawadi’s iconic “Light of the Seven” from Season 6 – a version of which was also used in the previous season’s trailer. The sound of tolling bells brings to mind the bell as a harbinger of death; ominous strings and cluster chords using choral voices convey the epic stakes with style to spare. The arrangement uses a slow build, with tasteful pauses and delayed harmonic resolution to keep the dramatic arc propelling forward.
At first, for those who may be unfamiliar with Blumhouse’s brand of horror, the use of Meghan Trainor’s “No Excuses” suggests one kind of film, but by the half minute mark you’ll realize something entirely different is on the bill. The eight-note harmonic minor motif may yet become a classic in the pantheon of slow, creepy horror themes — a key component of many such franchises, from Halloween to The Twilight Zone.
Toy Story 4
While with this trailer for Toy Story 4, we are back in the land of source music as opposed to original scoring, it has an inspired and unusual choice. The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” leads a trailer campaign for a sequel that should, looking at the history of sequels numbering 4, begin to look decidedly tired and outwearing its franchise welcome. With this song and the inclusion of new character and hand-made toy Forky, existential ideas are brought to the fore in a way that had only been alluded to in previous instalments of the series.
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!