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 trailer for director Noah Baumbach’s latest uses a classic two-song setup—Nancy Wilson’s “Lucky Trumble” opens it, which was originally released as part of 2000’s Almost Famous soundtrack. One might consider the use of this song an allusion to the major themes that Almost Famous represents—an innocent, perhaps foolish, sense of optimism—which is directly applicable to the conceit of the film, which tracks the process of divorce with the attendant hope of reconciliation. Later, Paul McCartney’s Wings-period track “Maybe I’m Amazed” features repurposed lyrics. While it was originally written as an ode to McCartney’s wife, here it reads as a desperate, almost existential plea in the face of the impending dissolution of a relationship.
Pixar’s latest comes with an unusual trait for its trailer edit: It appears that the song, AJR’s 2017 track “Overture (The Click)”, was chosen well in advance, since the animation of the protagonist’s hands playing the piano match the tune perfectly. The shift midway through to what appear to be Michael Giacchino-esque (the film itself will be scored by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross) typically wistful and earnest piano and woodwinds, mixing hope and ennui, remind particularly of similar musical turns in Up (2009) and especially Inside Out (2015). The key moment of this trailer, however, is when narrator Jamie Foxx re-enters a beat after the narrative turn midway through the trailer, as his rhetorical questioning turns from the audience and on-screen characters towards himself, with a keen sense of introspection in keeping with the film’s title.
6 Underground is probably best described as a collaboration between Ryan Reynolds and Michael Bay, and it’s these artistic personalities that come to the fore in this deft mix of action and comedy. The trailer begins as a facetious spoof in classic Reynolds fashion; this flirtation with the 4th wall as found in his other roles (Deadpool; Detective Pikachu) continues as we see him looking visibly bored during a car stunt sequence. Around the minute mark, we’re treated to a succession of recent trailer sound tropes, much the same way the trailer for Between Two Ferns: The Movie consciously offered up these sounds in parodic fashion. Later, at about 1:40, we hear a vibraphone—as one might hear in a cartoon. It’s not quite Mickey Mousing (synching music with actions on screen), but it certainly alludes to the style. Overall, this is Michael Bay playing with a self-awareness of his own infamous bombast with the help of Reynolds, and the results are musically fascinating.
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!