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!
The recent trailer for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and the less recent trailer for Godzilla both questionably use “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in horror and epic arrangements, respectively, but there’s no denying its appropriateness in a trailer for a biopic about Judy Garland herself. What’s more interesting, however, is the montage of shots from 0:14 to 0:16 across three clangs of a trolley bell, obviously alluding to the song that made Garland famous—“The Trolley Song”—but also synced to the clinking of glasses, reinforcing it as a signifier of Garland’s initial success, which is contrasted with the struggles of her later life. Following the likes of Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman, the musician biopic is a hot film (and trailer) category that shows no sign of abating.
Post-Star Wars, Rian Johnson returns to the auteur stylings of Looper and Brick. Frank Sinatra’s 1955 classic “I’m Gonna Live Till I Die” scores this family murder mystery with jazzy panache. However, at the midway mark, the music is transformed—trailerized—with extra percussion, until we hear something a bit closer to epic music than 50s swing. Note also the bombastic extension of the penultimate chord at 1:38. Throughout, Sinatra’s lyrics are deftly woven through the visuals and dialogue, such as in the synchronization of the bouquet of knives on the final title card at 2:07 with the word “die.”
San Diego Comic-Con always brings a huge wave of new trailers, and we’ll be spending the next month looking back at what was released, but among the more immediate impressions, this trailer for Warner’s new Harley Quinn animated series stood out for its musical selection. Joan Jett’s 1996 cover of the main theme from the Mary Tyler Moore Show, “Love is All Around,” is widely regarded as a feminist anthem and has obvious application here. The lyrics walk a razor-thin line between sincerity and satire; incidentally, the last major animated appearance Quinn made was in the 90s Batman animated series, from which era this song hails. Moreover, as a clearly more Gen X and Boomer-oriented show, viewers of the trailer are more likely to recognize and appreciate the choice in song.
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!