Film trailer soundtracks

Fall is fast approaching and with the change of seasons comes a slew of new television program. I’ve been watching the previews for dozens of new shows, and while some of the setups seem a bit cliche (Anna Farris plays an ex-alcoholic mom in Mama, Andy Samberg is a goofy cop in Brooklyn Nine Nine, and Robin Williams plays… well, Robin Williams in The Crazy Ones), some of the videos feature the perfect song choice to complement their teasers.

Case in point, James Spader’s new show The Blacklist using The Neighbourhood’s “Let It Go” and Redlight King’s “City Life,” providing the perfect soundtrack for this creepy, suspenseful new program:

This got me thinking about how a powerful song can completely change the bigger-budget trailers for movies. The following are some of my favorite examples of excellent song/trailer pairings from the past few years.

5. Legend of the Guardians – “Kings and Queens” by 30 Seconds To Mars

The right song can knock up a movie trailer a few pegs from “Maybe” to “Definitely seeing this.” For example, would I normally want to see the animated movie Legend of the Guardians? Probably not. Would I want to see it after watching its trailer, which is underscored by the anthemic, uplifting “Kings and Queens” by 30 Seconds To Mars? Well, now we’re talking.

4. The Departed – “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” by Dropkick Murphys

My friends from Boston claim that every movie that takes place in Boston is good. Jury is still out on that one, but The Departed is certainly a masterful film, and the trailer featuring Dropkick Murphy’s “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” makes it that much more exciting and Bostonian.

3. The Great Gatsby – “Happy Together” by Filter

The multiple trailers for Baz Luhrmann’s visually stunning version of the treasured novel features some incredible music by a diverse group of artists, including Jay-Z, Lana Del Ray, and Jack White. The jaw-dropping moment in this trailer, however, is Filter’s tortured rock version of the classic Turtles’ track “Happy Together,” which heightens the tension between Gatsby and Daisy and leaves every theatergoer on the edge of their seat.

2. The Social Network – “Creep” by Vega Choir

The slow build of Scala & Kolnacy Brothers’ chorale rendition of Radiohead’s “Creep” calls out the slightly unsettling voyeurism in the world of Facebook. This was the first trailer to come out, and it showed everyone David Fincher was taking the history of Facebook very seriously.

1. Where the Wild Things Are – “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire

From the opening line — “Children, wake up” — Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” is the perfect match for Where the Wild Things Are. Since the film is based on a children’s book, the themes of growing up and losing innocence fit perfectly with the subject matter of the film.