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10 Overused Trailer Songs


Remember when almost every film trailer featured that song Lux Aeterna? You know, the one from The Two Towers, Sunshine, King Arthur, Troy...and others. This one. While that has now faded from favour, the world of movie trailers is still one of deja vu. Keep hearing the same track every time you go to the cinema? It's probably one of these.

Power – Kanye West

As heard in: The Social Network; Limitless; Broken City

Recommended Usage: You are trying to convey the acquisition of and ultimate corruption caused by enormous power. Because the song is called ‘Power’, you see. Hollywood is quite a literal place.


Baba O’Riley – The Who

As heard in: Resident Evil: Retribution; A Bug’s Life; American Beauty; Jobs

Recommended Usage: For when you want a certain amount of whimsy but don’t want one of those interchangeable, breathy singer-songwriters used on every indie comedy. Or just use when you want a tune that goes ‘twiddly-widdly-widdly’ in a way that fits your edit.


Bad Girls – M.I.A.

As heard in: The Heat; For A Good Time, Call

Recommended Usage: When advertising a film that features women behaving in a way that might upset someone extremely conservative.


House of Cards – Audiomachine

As heard in: Gone Baby Gone; The Lovely Bones; Changeling

Recommended Usage: Based purely on a sample of these three films, best used in situations where a child has gone missing and people are sad about it. Specific.


Raise Your Glass – Pink

As heard in: Bridesmaids; What’s Your Number; New Years Eve

Recommended Usage: When there is some sort of celebratory event occurring, or people are generally partying. Or there’s a drink anywhere on screen.


Battle For The Soul of the Universe – Immediate Music

As heard in: Ghost Rider 2; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and 2; The Book of Eli

Recommended Usage: Whenever the end of the world (real or magical) is on the cards. N.B. Immediate Music is not an ‘act’ but a company that makes music specifically to be used in trailers, so that's interesting isn't it?


Almost Martyrs – Clint Mansell

As heard in: The Artist; Munich; Milk; The Iron Lady

Recommended Usage: Situations in which a character faces a greater challenge than they’d ever anticipated. You may also wish to deploy slow-motion at this point.


Sarajevo – Max Richter

As heard in: Prometheus; Need For Speed

Use when: Wishing to convey some kind of higher purpose to your hero's quest, such as finding the origin of mankind. Or driving really fast in shiny cars.


Kids - Sleighbells

As heard in: Abduction; Pain and Gain

Recommended Usage: The second the action montage kicks in. Sleighbells are a trailer perennial. The Bling Ring features Crown on the Ground, while the Kick-Ass 2 red-band trailer featured both Infinity Guitars and Crush. If bad stuff is going down, bring in Sleigh Bells.


Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones

As heard in: Children of Men; The Departed; Flight

Recommended Usage: If you want things a bit Scorsese-y. The Oscar-winning director has used the song in The Departed, Casino and Goodfellas, so whack it in any trailer and it instantly seems cooler.



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