Friday, October 19, 2012

Film and TV Promo Songs of Fall 2012

Every Fall there seems to be a couple of songs that studios and TV networks use to promote their new films and fall schedules.  Last year it was that Hello song that they played as much as possible.

This year the songs being used are Imagine Dragons "It's Time," The Lumineers "Hey Ho," and "Phillip Phillips "Home."

I can only imagine a guy named Phillip Phillips must live at 123 Fake Street as well.  Not to mention, "Hey Ho"seems more likely to be a title of a rap song than what it actually is.

"It's Time" has been paired with every "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"  trailer,  "Ho Hey" has shown up in numerous TV and film promos including the Silver Linings Playbook trailer, and of course "Home" became ubiquitous as the theme for the U.S. women's gymnastic team during the London Olympics.

It's not surprising that these are the three songs because they have more common than just being from artists or bands with bizarre names.

Studios and TV networks might realize that they all contain the formula for evoking sentiments in promos.

First, all these songs contain an acoustic guitar/folk elements.  People are generally suckers for this because it makes the song sound "real" and "authentic."  Let's face it, a lot of people will always be those college girls impressed by the guy with the acoustic guitar on the quad who is so deep.

Second, they feature inspirational lyrics about love, leaving/making a home, hardships, or staying true to yourself.  People internalize these lyrics to suit their situations and feel more of a emotional connection.  Furthermore, these are common subjects of films and TV shows.

For instance, "It's Time" mentions the need to leave home yet stay the same as a person,  "Hey Ho" details  how two people belong together and "Home" is obvious by the title.

Third, the songs include foot stomping and clapping, are conducive to it, or have singing of the melody.  These elements just make a song feel more inclusive since people don't even have to know the lyrics.  In addition, people generally love hand claps and foot stomping.  Go ahead clap it up.

Finally, they all are slow to mid tempo with a build to a soaring chorus. The songs hit a sweet spot where they are slow enough to convey emotion, but not totally depressing.  Then the chorus kicks in at a higher tempo and suddenly there's hope.

If you have any doubt about this formula then just look at the band Mumford and Sons.  They've built their career on it.  Despite all their songs pretty much sounding the same, nobody seems to care.

There's never a shortage of people raving about how profound their music is and quoting their lyrics.

So yeah, studios and TV networks use "It's Time," "Ho Hey," and "Home" to manipulate your emotions for dramatic effect kind of like this.

But the upside is, if you soundtrack your story about losing a paper clip at work with one of these songs then it might turn into the most dramatic and uplifting story of the year.

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