When you’re making a trailer, you want to immediately grab someone’s attention. You need something with gravitas or a big hook at the start. But, ultimately, above all of these things, you want originality. You want your trailer to make an impression in the back of viewers’ minds, maybe even beyond the release of whatever media you’re promoting.
To answer that call, several trailer creators have decided to say: “F*ck that. Let’s just use ‘Power’ by Kanye West.” The most recent? Tuesday’s trailer promoting Trevor Noah’s arrival as the new Daily Show host, which you can see above.
And please, let me be 100 percent clear: This has nothing to do with the quality of “Power” as a song. That song was the centerpiece of one of the greatest albums of the past decade in My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and deserves all of the accolades it has earned. But the use of it in every single trailer has just become shorthand for “Hmm, powerful people… I know, ‘Power!'”
But it’s not just movies, TV shows overuse it, as well.
And video game trailers.
And in airline commercials.
And even cologne?
Kanye West has other songs! And most of them are pretty great! Why not throw a “Send It Up” in an action movie trailer? Or maybe, to highlight someone’s rise to fame and fortune, you could use “Amazing?”
There have been trailers that have utilized other ‘Ye songs in a fairly memorable way, like The Wolf of Wall Street using “Black Skinhead” and Jarhead using “Jesus Walks.” But the ultimate underlying point is: Please, do not use “Power” in any more trailers. We did it, IT’S BEEN DONE. No one trailer should use this song anymore.
Now, I’m going to get back to listening to “Baby O’Reilly” by The Who or “The Power” by Snap.