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Moody Trailer Cover Song

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A major trend in 2010s movie advertising (and occasionally trailers for other media) is using a famous upbeat pop song to set the mood, only recontextualized with dark, atmospheric music and most often sung by a breathy female vocalist singing at the lower end of her range. Typically, these songs use bright cheerful pop songs with deceptively unhappy lyrics, which the new versions attempt to underline. This can also be used for advertising derivative works; a famous song from the source material can be repurposed into something slower and moodier to indicate that it's going to be Darker and Edgier.


Compare Ironic Nursery Tune. Usually a Repurposed Pop Song or a Softer and Slower Cover.


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    Film — Animated 
  • Lightyear: The trailer shows of its science fiction trappings with an epic remix of "Star Man" by David Bowie.

    Film — Live Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek: Discovery used a cover of "I'd Love To Change The World" by Ten Years After.
  • At least one of the trailers for American Horror Story: Coven used a slow-paced version of "House of the Rising Sun".
  • The trailer for The Defenders (2017) included a slow version of Nirvana's "Come As You Are".
  • Hannibal: Season two's trailer used MONA's warped version of Ben E King's "Stand By Me" to emphasize the main characters' complicated relationship.
  • The trailer for The Whispers has "You Are My Sunshine" playing like a nursery rhyme.
  • Game of Thrones: The teaser trailer of season seven used a slow version of "Sit Down" by James where the coda of the song is used to show the state of the three rulers of the Seven Kingdoms (Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen and Cersei Lannister) who are walking towards their thrones.
  • The trailer for the third season of The Magicians also uses Valerie Broussard's more mournful-sounding, breathy-voiced version of The Police's "King Of Pain".
  • The trailer for the third season of You (2018) sets Joe and Love's murderous shenanigans to a slow, crooning atmospheric cover of Britney Spears's "Hit Me Baby One More Time" by J2.

    Video Games 
  • A trailer for the second Crysis game has a rendition of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" playing over the ruins of, you guessed it Big Applesauce. To completely be this trope, it's done by a female singer in a low voice.
  • As with as Dracula Untold, Lorde's "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" was also used by Assassin's Creed: Unity, which came out the same year.
  • The trailer for the video game Dead Space featured a woman singing "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star" in a way that sounded like she was on the verge of tears.
  • Commercials for Evolve feature Mischa feat. Esthero's cover of "Ready Or Not" by The Delfonics. The cover only includes the chorus, which emphasises the dark and frightening feel of the game. Another trailer uses Lissie's cover of Danzig's "Mother", which spends about two thirds of the song being more slow and mournful before escalating into the rapid-fire final riff.
  • Florence + the Machine did a cover of Ben E King's "Stand by Me" for Final Fantasy XV. It is a bit slower than the original, but more soulful and bombastic.
  • An early example is the Gears of War "Mad World" trailer, which uses Gary Jules's cover of the Tears for Fears song. Although this cover was originally recorded for the soundtrack for Donnie Darko.
  • The Evil Within 2 uses a dark and bittersweet cover of Duran Duran's "Ordinary World" prominently in the trailer. It also features in the finished game as the ending credits theme.
  • The trailer for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is set to a creepy rendition of "Go Tell Aunt Rhody".
  • The first look at Marvel's Midnight Suns uses a new version of Enter Sandman by Alessia Cara.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 

  • One commercial for Alfa Romeo uses an atmospheric cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game."
  • A 2022 commercial for the Lincoln Navigator uses an atmospheric cover of The Police's "Walking on the Moon".
  • Parodied, and crossed with Ironic Nursery Tune, with the satire website Hard Drive in the article "Movie Trailer Editor Struggling to Create Menacing Rendition of ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’".
    “When people see this trailer, we want them to have nightmares about it,” said Lionsgate marketing head Damon Wolf. “There is absolutely nothing more terrifying than hearing the song your mother sang to you every night, but like, scary. You’re going to piss your pants the next time you walk into a daycare, just wait and see.”