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!
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Although not incredibly interesting in terms of musical accoutrements, we’d be remiss not to acknowledge the final trailer for not only the final of both the latest trilogy of Star Wars films, but also the capstone of a decades-long run of the most storied and celebrated series in Western science fiction filmmaking. Whether these facts merit reharmonizing the main Star Wars theme in a somewhat jarringly sunny major tonality is debatable, but there’s certainly no better time to have gone with it.
In contrast to the safe approach Star Wars has clearly taken, this trailer for Steven Soderbergh’s The Laundromat is surprisingly creative in its use of seemingly disparate production music tracks (both of 2018 vintage, by Extreme Music), mixing trap and 70s funk genres. The chronological gap between genres is then acknowledged at about the 0:50 mark as the dialogue states it’s “time to rinse and repeat,” and then we’re treated to a reverse-chronological montage, as though rewinding a VHS tape. This playful mixture of disparate genres and technologies coalesce to serve a potent mix of tongue-in-cheek humour with a dash of nostalgia for good measure.
The Good Liar
Probably the most audiovisually intricate of trailers released this month, The Good Liar leans in on Ian McKellen’s distinctive timbre, accompanied by cello. Several moments of synchronization between sound and screen ensue, such as the clinking of glasses at 0:22 or the meat pounder at 0:27, teasing the ear at the edge of violence, driving a morbid sense of intrigue. Of course, we also have to acknowledge the prevalence of ticking in this trailer—a hallmark sound of modern trailers as of late. When McKellen says “and we’re tickity-boo” early on, he describes this trailer’s musical direction surprisingly well.
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!