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!
It’s an unlikely and yet appropriate matchup for the storied gritty Batman franchise when Michael Giacchino joins proverbial forces with Nirvana to elevate the latter’s lesser-known track “Something In The Way”, which originally closed 1991’s Nevermind. Cobain’s brush with homelessness holds an intertextual appeal to the sombre world of Gotham as envisioned by director Matt Reeves. Small but significant additions to the soundtrack, such as the water phone, further aid the sense of atmosphere that neatly straddles the line between Christopher Nolan’s trilogy and Tim Burton’s more fantastical take.
Sound of Metal
The trailer for this Amazon-distributed docudrama plays with aural perspective to offer a gripping perspective on what it is like to experience hearing loss first hand. Otherwise unremarkable scenes of everyday life for the drummer of a metal band, Ruben (Riz Ahmed), become jarring for their lack of sound — and conversely, as the aural perspective shift to that of his bandmate and partner, Lou (Olivia Cooke), we see and hear Ruben’s anger with a freshly acquired sense of empathy. Ultimately, the trailer takes on an optimistic lilt, but not before dipping into the conceit of recent horror films Bird Box or A Quiet Place. It is a sobering reminder that such soundless circumstances are not just the domain of high-concept horror but rather lived reality for many, and one that remains inspiringly hopeful.
Director Denis Villeneuve has apparently taken a penchant to rejuvenating beloved 80s properties after 2017’s Blade Runner 2049, as attested by the trailer for Dune ’s revival of the 1984 adaptation by David Lynch. Similar to the composer-cover pairing heard in The Batman, here we have Hans Zimmer working with the storied material of Pink Floyd’s “Eclipse” from 1972’s The Dark Side of the Moon—coincidentally, also a closing number. The music stretches the ages: the vocals, while consciously retaining that gospel flair, are also strongly reminiscent of Gregorian chant, with one hanging on to the interval of the fifth—the “reciting tone” of the psalm tones. Both ancient and otherworldly, it fits the aesthetic of Dune admirably. Given that the original novel by Frank Herbert is of 1965 vintage, it’s probably also a choice of music that a significant section of the core audience would appreciate – especially given the band’s connection to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s unmade adaptation.
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.
We offer these observations in the hope that our readers can find some distraction in this turbulent time through music and movies. Perhaps the music of the trailers we have reviewed will lead you on a virtual journey of discovery into its sources, which could open further worlds of sound to you. See you next month!