353/366 – Trailer Music Obsession
I’ve talked a lot about how music tends to be a big influence in enjoyment of a lot of media, movies included, but I don’t know that I’ve gone into great detail about how deep I go into the rabbit hole for a specific set of movie music that always gets my gears turning – and that’s trailer music.
Designed to be epic, meaningful, or memorable (or in the best cases, all three), trailer music for me has long been something of an obsession of mine. The great and well-known composition groups out there like Two Steps From Hell or Ninja Tracks or ES Posthumus, or individuals like John Williams or Hans Zimmer et al, tend to be the ones that I tend to download a ton of tracks for, regardless of where they come from. I know how it starts too – I’ll find a track that I particularly like from a movie trailer, then go looking for the song, find it, then listen to it on loop for hours at a time. I’ll try to find music videos set to the tune, find the remixes, and download other similar tracks. Before I know it I’m a ton of tracks in and I’ve ended up filling up my music library with playlists attached to “things like that epic movie trailer music I happened upon”.
Some of this behavior might seem a little excessive, but I think part of that is the trailer music’s intent. You’re supposed to feel a sense of accompaniment that is natural with a trailer tune, that elicits the right kind of feeling and idea with the scenes that play out on the screen. You’re supposed to attach a bit of an iconic sense to the musical notes that play, and in the case of a franchise or a well-known oldie-but-goodie, you should be looking for variations or themes that match it because they’re distinct reminders of not only how something should feel music-wise but also what beats and cue fill the iconic lines and scenes delivered by the actors. There are scenes in movies and movie trailers that don’t really make it as far without the trailer music behind them to generate excitement, buzz, and emotional reaction, and looking up that same feeling as it is placed against similar scenes, videos, or in like-minded other musical pieces is part of me keeping that going after seeing the initial tune.
Honestly, though, beyond the burst of activity I have trying to dig up the music, I’m not particularly bothered by the fact that I’ve spent an hour or two looking up tracks just for something I heard over the course of 2-4 minutes. The music has value long after I’ve stopped remmebering how much of a part it was of a trailer I enjoyed, because I can always click back to the music during work or working out or gameplay and feeling like I can elicit the same emotion I had when I first saw the music attached to that trailer. Music, as a whole, is as much of an escape sometimes as it is with movies in general, and being able to retreat into that space for just a little bit displays a sort of longevity that trailer music has beyond the fact that it’s a part of a preview for films that potentially last with us. It’s a big part of giving movie media a shot in the arm, and it’s probably part of why composers still create them with an ever-increasing bar for “epic” by the year.