CoS Exclusive FeaturesHotList 'Em Carefully

The 30 Best Songs for Movie Trailers

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Artwork by Kristin Frenzel

An excellent movie trailer used to be a rarity. Before Apple started uploading trailers online, previews were simply considered mundane commercials with the same “In a world…” narration, a few banner names, a cliffhanger clip, and a date. Sometimes, you’d catch a random teaser trailer for a highly-anticipated sequel without any notice. (For example, when the T.Rex stamped its foot into the mud and announced 1997′s The Lost World: Jurassic Park, my father had to chase me around the aisles, popcorn in tow.) But really, it wasn’t until the last decade and a half that every trailer attempted to be as eventful as the film itself.

That’s certainly something we discovered when compiling this list. As you’ll notice, most of the previews ahead date post-1999 and that’s largely due to the evolution of the movie trailer itself. They’re sleeker, more self-aware, and snappy in ways that catch our eyes and make us want to rewatch them again and again and again. In some respects, they’re short films — ahem, Zach Braff’s Garden State — and that’s mostly because they have a stellar song championing the visuals. In light of that marriage in marketing, we thought it’d be wise to rope together the 30 best songs in 30 different trailers.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll remember why you paid $12 to see these movies.

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8 comments

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Rebecca Bulnes
March 6, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Love this list. Suuuuuuper perfect.

ithinkishouldplayme
March 5, 2014 at 3:07 am

Really great list that not only reflects great music, but some of the best movie trailers in recent memory. The top five is pretty much perfect.

adelelaurie
March 4, 2014 at 1:38 am

Big Fish was the first movie I ever saw alone in the theaters and it was a result of the trailer featuring Yes’s “I’ve Seen All Good People”

G. Anderson
March 3, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Bill Murray was never nominated for an Oscar for Rushmore, it was a Golden Globe. The only Oscar he was ever nominated for was Best Actor for Lost in Translation.

Brett Ruffenach
March 3, 2014 at 2:53 pm

M83′s “Outro” in the Cloud Atlas trailer is pretty remarkable – http://youtu.be/hWnAqFyaQ5s?t=3m19s

Alex Marga
March 3, 2014 at 2:44 pm

I honestly remember a completely different Garden State preview with Let Go by Frou Frou… Because to me, that one was like mind blowing.

Also, I would’ve included all 3 of the songs from the Science of Sleep preview. It was just perfection to me back in the day.

M. Pah (@mpah)
March 3, 2014 at 2:36 pm

I would’ve included NIN – Just Like You Imagined from the 300 trailer

Michael Roffman
March 3, 2014 at 2:55 pm

It was in our long list!