When my brother came up for a visit on Friday, he brought an iTunes gift card with him, so yesterday we picked out some new music together. My favorite of these new additions to my musical library is the album “Invincible” by Two Steps from Hell. Now before you write me off as a metal-head I have to explain to you that Two Steps from Hell is not, in fact, a band of loud, screaming guitars and louder, screaming-er people. Two Steps from Hell is a group of musicians that writes music specifically for use in movie and video game trailers. Their music is sweeping, orchestral, and extremely exhilirating, and I’ve already listened to most of it several times in the 24 hours since I bought it. My brain works kind of strangely, in case you hadn’t already noticed, and listening to all of this inspiring trailer music has reminded me of several of my favorite songs that I’ve always thought would make for fitting trailer tunes as well. Every time I listen to these songs I can’t help but envision a preview for a specific type of movie playing in my head. I even have the seed of a story idea floating around in my head for one or two of them, and sometimes I mouth the words that the characters would be saying in the trailer or change the speed of my walk to fit the mood and tempo of the music. This has probably caused more than one person to get more than a little weirded out, but I bet if they were listening to the same music they’d be making strange faces and throwing their hands up in the air at odd intervals, too. Either that or I’m hopelessly bizarre. Or both. Anyway, here’s a list of four songs that I think would make great movie trailers:
1. “RSL 1984” by Newsboys – This dramatic, quasi-autobiographical song from Peter Fuhrler may not seem like trailer music at first, but if you listen through to the chorus you’ll hear what I’m talking about. When the music slows to a hush and Peter intones, “We rolled out the barrels, boys/and sang with a single voice”, you feel it coming like a tingle in the back of your neck, then the violins and guitars shoot straight through the roof and you’re instantly transported into the preview for a moving, nostalgic drama complete with a coming-of-age vibe and glowing critical reviews in literally glowing letters showing up at regular intervals and a top-down shot of the protagonist beaming and spinning around in the rain, hands outstretched to the sky. Or maybe you’re just thinking “Weren’t the Newsboys from the 90’s or something?” If that’s the case, I can’t do anything for you.
2. “The Fatal Wound” by Switchfoot – This song has been on my mind a lot lately. It’s got a unique sound and feel to it, and it’s quite a haunting blend of minor and major, weary and hopeful. I can imagine this one being in a trailer for some kind of edgy, serious, and heavily stylized movie that speaks of revenge and redemption and is set in a desert with two chiseled tough guys in the main roles. For some reason I think the trailer wouldn’t have very much talking in it, it would mostly be grim and artistic shots like a bus driving down a dusty road with the antagonist the lone and brooding passenger or a panning shot from the top of a steeple down through a stained-glass window to focus on the rugged protagonist praying in a pew. The only reasonable explanation I can think of for this idea is that I thought of it while on spring tour with the men’s choir, so we were pretty much always on a bus or in a church. Either way, I definitely sized up most of the churches that I walked into while listening to this song with an eye for whether or not they’d look good in the trailer. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know.
3. “Life in Technicolor ii” by Coldplay – I really shouldn’t have to explain this one. This song screams “I BELONG IN THE TRAILER TO A CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED, TRAGIC-BUT-HEARTWARMING LOVE STORY THAT MAY OR MAY NOT WIN AN OSCAR!” And yes, it uses all caps. This particular tune is kind of my baby, because I actually have a bit of a story idea to go with it. I won’t give everything away here, but it’s very touching and it involves magnets and a parking garage. That all-caps screaming may or may not have been wishful thinking on my part, my subconscious refuses to confirm or deny that possibility.
4. “Needle and Haystack Life” by Switchfoot – Apparently Switchfoot is good at writing movie trailer music, because the chorus to this song would fit a light-hearted romantic comedy like a glove. It’s upbeat and perky and uplifting and the lyrics are about as adorable as they come. I mean really, read this: “In this needle and haystack life/ I’ve found miracles there in your eyes/ It’s no accident we’re here tonight/ We are once in a lifetime alive/ We are once in a lifetime.” Are you feeling all mushy inside yet? And if so, have you consulted a doctor about that? That doesn’t sound good.
So there you have it, four songs that are just begging to be made into movie trailers. If you work with a movie studio, I’d recommend getting the rights to one or more of these (also, I’m available to discuss the whole “Oscar-winning love story” thing). If not, just leave a comment with a song that you think would make for a good movie trailer in the comments below, and DFTBA.