These are the songs that make you roll your eyes in theatres, change the channel or even put the TV on mute when you hear them come on in movie trailers.
Some are actually fantastic and beautifully written songs that have been ruined by overexposure; some are inexplicably popular songs that need to die immediately.
WHO LET THE DOGS OUT - BAHA MEN
We have no idea how this song even came to fruition. Who thought this was cool? The song itself even starts out kind of badass (imagine you'd never heard it before) and then goes on to get really really friendly. It was actually a huge hit on Radio Disney for YEARS.
But seriously, we have no idea who possibly thought it was a good idea to spend time and money and actually use their names, faces and voices to make such a stupid and horribly annoying song.
Songs like these usually go away... songs like these usually go away! *Rocks back and forth* Songs like these usually go away.
But not this one. It first came out in 1999, started being used in trailers then... and it STILL. IS.
The worst part is that now any kids' movie with a dog and/or men behaving like dogs, or even just fun, light-hearted family films has this in the trailer.
The ultimate one-hit wonder song, "Who Let the Dogs Out" can rape your ears in everything from "The Hangover" to "Shallow Hal" to "Rugrats in Paris: The Movie." and graces such trailers as the one embedded here, where it is arguably most distastefully used.
Here's your token "dogs are on the screen so let's get the shitty tropical dog song" moment from the "Snow Dogs" trailer at 0:50 to the left.
COBRASTYLE - TEDDY BEARS
You know it as that "Bawidaba di bang di bang diggy diggy..." song that isn't Kid Rock.
If you've seen trailers, television or if you've been through a mid-level action or tense/farce-like scene in any comedy for the past 10 years, you have most likely have heard this song. It's also used at the beginning of some movies and for pretty much any chase or "oh no, someone's in a hurry" scenes in the show "Chuck" on NBC. You can even find it in "Date Night" (which JUST came out on DVD... this song is still going strong).
Any song that was on the abercrombie kids' music repertoire should not be used to convince us to go see a movie.
Teddybears is one of those annoyingly recognizable songs that seems to be in every single movie, television show or nightmare that you'll never know the name of but you can instantly recognize on the first note.
Here's another laundry list of what Cobrastyle has been used in to brainwash and seemingly alter the minds of the masses into an acceptance of shitty pop culture delirium.
I wish I could turn this song into a person just so I could kill it.
You, yes YOU, can find Cobrastyle in...
- promotions on PBS (Mister Rogers would so not approve).
- as an official theme song for WWE SummerSlam 2006 pay-per-view event.
- appeared in an episode of the American reality show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange - County (shocking)
- appears in the pilot episode of Primeval.
- appeared in episode "Love Me Or Leave Me" of 90210.
- appeared in episode "Run Cooper, Run!" of NBC's Las Vegas.
- Steve-O and Lacey Performed their Salsa dance to this song on Dancing With the Stars.
- Featured as the closing song for the trailer for Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.
- Appeared in a television commercial advertising the film called No Respect.
- Appeared in a trailer for the film Epic Movie (see video, 0:49).
- Appeared in the 2008 film College Road Trip.
- Appeared in the 2010 film Date Night, during the car chase scene.
- Appeared in the 2010 film Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
- Featured in the popular video game FIFA 06.
- Featured in the racing video game Forza Motorsport 2.
- Played at New York Giants games at Giants Stadium.
- Played at Cleveland Indians games at Jacobs Field during the starting lineups.
As you can see, there are way too many instances of Cobrastyle (ps: what is Cobrastyle and what is being done in the style of a cobra?).
LUX AETERNA - CLINT MANSELL
You know it as the "Requiem for a Dream" song.
"Lux Aeterna" is a purely instrumental piece composed by Clint Mansell for use in the hauntingly great-for-its-time-but-doesn't-exactly-h
One of the most intense examples of "Lux Aeterna" worship was done by the people over at "Lord of the Rings" who made a very special version for "LOTR: Two Towers" just dripping with geek juice. It was also used in the "Sunshine" trailer and continues to be used in TV spots for intense montage trailers where there is a lot going on and whatever happens is a battle between life and death.
ABC - THE JACKSON 5
No question, you know this song. You've heard it in "Clerks 2," and in the part of any movie trailer where a kooky guy (or crew of guys) has to change their ways or take on a seemingly impossibly task. Who knows what could happen? Craziness ensues! But no matter what does, you know that everything is going to be OK because it's "ABC" time, so go see their crappy movie!
Here's the trailer for "Daddy Day Care" (you're welcome). At 1:16 the song starts, giving us the perfect, cliche example of how Hollywood uses this song.
That's right, if you have a child running amok or a clueless man learning anything in a movie, Tito Jackson is sure to get a check.
Perhaps the saddest thing about this song though is that it was responsible for kicking "Let It Be" out of the number one Billboard spot in 1970.
Oh, and for those who just can't get enough of the first three letters of the alphabet, you can download this jam for Rock Band or play it on Band Hero.
But seriously, please don't.
THE AQUARIUM FROM "CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS" - CAMILLE SAINT-SAENS
Carnival of the Animals, VII Aquarium, is the perfect example of one of those movie trailer songs that you have no idea what it is but it's in all movie trailers needing a mystical and mythical musical background. Anything playfully mysterious or even slightly (but gothically) ethereal will have this song at the beginning of its trailer.
An actually lovely song, Aquarium is just one part of a larger collection of music but seems to be the one part that every movie trailer maker latches on to (perhaps they all have a lucky number seven). Kind of like the intense part of O Fortuna, which isn't included in this list because people really seem to have eased off the song in the last 5-10 years (thankfully).
Here's just one of the 637 billion trailers (we totally counted) out there that use "Aquarium."
And if you find the song just a bit too annoying, try listening to it while looking at fish (either real or on youtube), it really does sound like what an aquarium looks like.
ALL STAR - SMASH MOUTH
Just gonna put this out there, and although we don't wanna rock any boats, we'll be the first ones to admit it. You know what? We HATE this song. By "we", I mean "the thinking people of America".
And I think it's because of how Hollywood has saturated every part of our lives with this song. It's in video games, television and movies like "Digimon: The Movie", "Inspector Gadget," seemingly every single Shrek movie and "Mystery Men" (where they apparently had enough people on staff who smoked crack that they decided to make this the theme of their movie).
We would donate our dozens of dollars to charity to never have to hear this song in a movie (or life) ever again.
LET MY LOVE OPEN THE DOOR - PETER TOWNSHEND
Remember when Peter Townshend was in The Who and he was an awesome rock star?
Yeah, do you also remember when Peter Townshend made the cheesiest love song ever, worthy of the "Jerry Maguire" trailer, "Along Came Polly" and every single lame romcom made since its release?
Somehow Mr.Townshend can exist in the same universe, in the same body, as being both severely cool and horribly overused. Legendary and washed out.
Movie trailers, why?!?!
Here's a clip of Steve Carrel and Dane Cook singing the song the movie "Dan in Real Life" in its trailer.
This is actually not a horrible song if you're in a cheddar mood, but it really has become the "plot changes gear and someone learns something" song for the second half of just about any movie trailer.
BACK IN BLACK, HIGHWAY TO HELL - AC/DC
Although "Iron Man" is making sure that too needs to come to a stop, the only AC/DC song that is still cool to use in trailers is "Thunderstruck," because that song rules. Overused in places here and there (TV's "Supernatural" and the "Iron Man 2" trailer but hopefully not any "Thor" trailers, but if it happens, you heard it here first, folks), but "Thunderstruck" still manages to be a great song.
Here are two AC/DC songs that have been taken to the dark side of bad-ass song turned aaaaanoying.
"Back In Black": used whenever someone is "back", as in they are reformed and out to kick some ass with a new lease in life.
"Highway to Hell": used whenever a badass is doing anything, or whenever there's someone flaunting their stuff, proud to be who they are despite what naysayers have to say.
BAD REPUTATION - JOAN JETT
"I don't give a damn about my bad reputation!"
Used in "Shrek," "10 Things I Hate About You," "Baby Mama" and a few others, Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" has got a bad reputation for being used in otherwise pretty decent movie trailers. It's just not right to do this sort of thing to an awesome song!
Formerly used as the theme song for the great canceled-way-too-early NBC show "Freaks & Geeks," this song is being overused in trailers like "Kick-Ass" and any other trailer that involves children fighting back or something juvenile or anthropomorphic rebelling in some way, shape or form.
See for yourself. Here's Joan's song being used in one of its most cliche ways in the "Kick-Ass" movie trailer (1:40).
WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD - LOUIS ARMSTRONG
We're a bunch of pieces of crap. We've taken this great song and used it in end-of-the-world movie trailers, war scenes and just about scenario that can use this song ironically. Do we all really hate being alive THIS MUCH?
Few people can croon like Louis, thus, his song has been used both ironically and in every possible "yeah! life is great" movie trailer scenario. Throw in Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's beautiful ukulele version and you can hear this song in commercials, televisions shows and reality competitions.
Speaking of end-of-the-world scenarios, here's a great example of that from the movie "W."
UPRISING, KNIGHTS OF CYDONIA - MUSE
Muse is a pretty sweet band. They didn't send us flowers or anything, they're just talented, intense, catchy and just simply awesome. They have interesting, thought-provoking lyrics and can really back up the rock star status with some mean instrumentation.
And it's because of their ability to actually make decent music, Hollywood dbags jump at the chance to put their songs like "Uprising" and "Knights of Cydonia" in tons o' crap. Literally crap.
Check out the trailer for "Knight and Day" (do you even know anyone who saw this turd, and don't admit if you did) and skip to the 2:00 mark to see how they took a decent song and made it annoying.
Uprising and Knights of Cydonia are the Muse songs which are overused more than any others, but Muse in general is just a HUGE trailers' band. They're amazing, but whenever you start to associate a crappy trailer with a song you love... song = dead.
EVERY LITTLE THING SHE DOES IS MAGIC - THE POLICE
Another case of a great band that had one song sucked into the movie trailer vortex that sits in the center of Hollywood's first "O" never to be played or sung outside of any other context besides a children's movie about magical nannies, faeries, unicorns or whatever magical crap kids today believe in (note to children: THEY'RE NOT REAL, well except for unicorns, those are totally real. and you shouldn't be on this website anyway, go now. scat).
Shockingly unexpected was the decision to use "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" in the new Nanny McPhee trailer (1:36), as it's most often spotted along with images of Adam Sandler smiling above his name at the end of a trailer that gives away the whole movie, or for mid-level, barely-got-made romantic comedies that have no personality.
DAMMIT - BLINK-182
"Well I guess this is growing up."
This one line has assured that "Dammit" by Blink 182 would make it past the 90s, pass the 00s and all the way to the "Squeakquel" without being dropped as another "coming of age" tune because Hollywood thinks that it can really sell us the idea that the kids (or backyard woodland creatures) in the trailer are really going to LEARN something, and that it's worth our dinero.
KUNG FU FIGHTING - CARL DOUGLAS
An original B-side song, recorded in ten minutes by a Jamaican dude name Carl doesn't exactly motiviate the listener to allow their minds to be transported to a dreamworld of dragons, egg rolls and other supercool Asian stuff. Oh wait, that is exactly the kind of Asia that a song like "Kung Fu Fighting" makes the listener connect with. With appearances in everything from "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie" to "Rush Hour 3," it seems like "City of God" is one of the only movies on this song's list of cultural infiltration that is actually worth being proud of.
Shockingly, the song was also used in the Dreamworks' movie "Kung Fu Panda" (gasp!), which is actually a cute movie if you're seven or like drugs. Fast-forward to the 0:34 mark to begin your immersion in Asian culture, the Hollywood way.
Thanks Carl! Now all martial arts comedies will be able to share one CD (who are we kidding, this is totally on a beta) for their soundtrack until the end of time.
YOU MAKE MY DREAMS - HALL & OATES
A feel-good jam that has become the staple turn-around song for the second half of trailers where a movies central conflict is being introduced, but a comedic presence is going to either resolve that conflict or learn to deal with it.
This song is cheesy and is featured in a lot of "hey, you know what? I feel good" moments in film and film trailers.
This song should have been retired after that awesome out-of-nowhere dance scene in "500 Days of Summer" because it actually managed to use the tune perfectly by playing on its cliche status (without using it in an annoyingly).
Now please die, song. Forever.
The song starts playing at about 1:20 into this trailer.
BAD TO THE BONE - GEORGE THOROGOOD
Those first few notes immediately call to mind images of suburban angst masked in a plume of cigarette smoke and algebra homework. Thanks, Hollywood, I'm sure that's exactly the image that George had in his mind when creating that kick-ass guitar riff.
Either that or bikers in late 80s, early 90s movies. And more recently cartoons. Seems as H-wood realizes that songs are used up, they throw them more and more in to kiddie films, where nobody will judge them for their lazy song choice.
Dubbed the unofficial theme of "Problem Child" and used in the opening credits of "Major Payne," the song's cinematic resume is depressing at best, especially now that a lot of movies that involve some kind of "cool dog" use it willy nilly ("bone", get it? Dogs like bones! And they're "bad" to the bones because they eat them!), when they aren't using "Who Let the Dogs Out," of course.
Here is basically the way it's used in trailers: "Guess what? Our main character is bad. Freaking. Ass. And he don't give a fudge WHO gets in his way... *puts on mirrored sunglasses, turns back*"
Here's the trailer for Problem Child, where this song is abused for one of the first times ever, back when it was cool:
Embedded here, for no good reason, is an example of how lame this song has become. The kid in Problem Child was ACTUALLY bad ass... now it's in Lindsay Lohan movies (circa-Disney), back before the drogas, boobs and tabloid tailspin.
I GOT YOU (I FEEL GOOD) - JAMES BROWN
A song that's cool enough to be in both "Full House" and "Lost" is alright in my book, no matter how over-utilized it is by Hollywood. But dear God is it overused in trailers.
The Godfather of Soul's hit single has been made an appearance on basically every soundtrack ever, including "The Nutty Professor," "It Takes Two," "Garfield: The Movie" and "Home Alone 4" (hey, I never said they were good soundtracks).
Really, this song is used masterfully by trailers in a way that isn't obvious in the least... ready for it? It's played whenever someone "feels good". BOOSH.
Remember this Richard Gere movie? GREAT example of how lame it sounds.
SOLSBURY HILL - PETER GABRIEL
Okay, this song is actually really heartwarming, but the fact that it is almost solely associated with either cheesy trailers or that awesome movie trailer recut of "The Shining" is really sad.
"Solsbury Hill" is a feel-good song that allows Hollywood to "hook in" audiences with that "feel great and warm and mushy" feeling so that the warm and mushy scenes in the trailer are able to brainwash them to think, "awww, I should see that!"
Perfect example of kooky, to heartwarming, to "will he EVER learn ;-)?" trailers that use this song is the one for "In Good Company," featured here.
BODIES - DROWNING POOL
Ah yes, the ubiquitous anthem of every ass kicking, bone breaking and tights-wearing action movie trailer. Why? Because it's obvious.
With such moving and thought provoking lyrics like "Let the bodies hit the floor.Let the bodies hit the floor. Let the bodies hit the floor. Let the bodies hit the floor. Let the bodies hit the floor."
Yeah, that's about it.
In any movie where bodies need to, or will be, hitting the floor you can bet your sweet ass that at some point you will hear the brutally-metal voices of Drowning Pool letting you know that they're going to be allowing something, and that something is bodies hitting the god damn floor.
Skip to 1:19 in this trailer for "Jason X" to hear the satisfying thud of some bodies. Also used in Vin Diesel movies and crappy, not-going-to-make-their-money-back-in-th
WALKING ON SUNSHINE - KATRINA & THE WAVES
The embedded trailer for "High Fidelity" uses the song for its intended purpose, galavantingly great feelings. This is what you use in a trailer when your characters are feeling a few notches above "I Feel Good". When people want to jump on tables, run while their hair bounces, drive off in a car, wear sunglasses or dance for no reason, this is the song to play.
Cheesy/lame uses of it? Most def. Check out this trailer for Mr. Bean:
where they introduce him as "the new face of comedy" even though the British had known him for YEARS.
"Eye of the Tiger" (cause really, we're not sick of that one, it will last forever)
"Wake Up" by Arcade Fire (give it a few years, it'll belong here)
"Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (watch Indie trailers for it)