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!
Directed by Alex Winter (yes, of Bill & Ted), the documentary promises to offer an unflinching look at Zappa and all of his contradictions. As much as we see glimpses of Zappa conducting an orchestra in the trailer, we hear in the soundtrack classic rock hits that Zappa is perhaps best known for, such as 1979’s “Bobby Brown Goes to Town”. For all the higher-profile musical biopics (Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman, for example), here is an unvarnished view of a complicated musician—and person—and that’s to be celebrated.
Perhaps best known for 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen gives us not quite a series in his latest, but rather, an anthology of films—a result, perhaps in part, of the flexibility in format that streaming services such as Amazon (which is releasing the films outside the UK, where they’re airing on BBC) can afford. The power of the trailer’s sound is in its nuance, with closely mic’d singing and sounds achieving a sense for the audience that they are right there in the kitchen. The arrangement slowly picks up until 0:58, when we hear a locker door slamming, a punctuation of the line “we mustn’t be victims, but protagonists of our stories.” This insistence is prefaced by relative quiet, juxtaposed against the on-screen action. The sense of control and permission in sound renders a sense of self-determination in the storytelling.
Tom & Jerry
Following a successful run this past half decade or so on Cartoon Network (and now Boomerang), Tom and Jerry promises to follow the path of Space Jam and Who Framed Roger Rabbit with its artful mix of toons and live-action antics. Like many trailers for family films, current pop is the order of the day, with tracks by Bruno Mars and Lizzo keeping the momentum going. What’s most notable, however, is the inclusion of what looks to be an unreleased song by Flo Rida, “Bouncy House.” Note also the extended sequences of synced music and action from 1:47 to 1:54, and then at 2:06, in particular.
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!