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!
A film adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning 2014 novel by Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch’s trailer uses a subtly rearranged and embellished version of 2011 hit “Terrible Love” by art rockers The National. For example, at 0:45 we hear harmonies in the strings that weren’t present in the original. The lyrics are strategically arranged as a meta-commentary for the on-screen narrative. The whole trailer is a careful navigation of using the song as-is while very subtly adding, subtracting, and rearranging here and there to suit the edit.
Honey Boy’s trailer reminds of what the trailer for Jonah Hill’s Mid90s did by helping establish the time period with some classic 90s hip-hop. In this case, it’s Skee-Lo’s “I Wish,” possibly also alluding to writer/actor Shia LaBeouf’s struggles as a child actor. The film is a semi-autobiographical piece written as part of LaBeouf’s rehabilitation program. Later on we hear the more esoteric track “Glimpses,” from Alex Ebert’s 2011 album Alexander (Ebert is best known as the frontman for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros).
It took a little bit of (okay, a lot of) CG to do it, but here we find Martin Scorsese directing a young Robert De Niro, starring alongside Joe Pesci and Al Pacino—the whole mob’s here. This time we’re granted a reprieve from the more dominant trend of using well-known songs in trailers, instead opting for a subtle and dynamic score that matches the suspense and action on screen, with a mix of wood blocks, gravelly cello, a morass of brass, and understated electric guitar. That being said, it also uses an aural motif—or soundmark—of sorts in the form of a distinctive yelping sound that is repeated at key beats in the narrative.
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!