Some are actually fantastic and beautifully written songs that have been ruined by overexposure; some are inexplicably popular songs that need to die immediately.
"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 such as 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).
Artist: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
#4 on The Best Rebel Songssee more on Bad Reputation
"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.
Although Iron Man is making sure that it 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 someone's flaunting their stuff, proud to be who they are despite what naysayers have to say.
You might even say they have a haters gonna hate attitude. Like this . And this.
Also Rankedsee more on Back in Black
"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.
Artist: Blink-182see more on Dammit
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 goddamn 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-theatres movies, which are essentially the same thing.
Artist: Drowning Pool
#25 on The Best Workout Songssee more on Bodies
Artist: Pete Townshendsee more on Let My Love Open the Door
3 people just voted on Every Little Thing She Does is Magic
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.
Artist: The Police
Also Rankedsee more on Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
2015 brought on the release of the hit single with Nicki Minaj, by David Guetta, called "Hey Mama." This catchy, eclectic and fun dance number caught on in pretty much every medium imaginable. It's in TV promos, the radio and also featured very obnoxiously in the movie trailers for American Ultra, Sisters, and many, many more trailers from the summer of 2015. How can a song wear itself out that quickly?
Well, maybe because every single trailer that it's in uses it in the exact same way.
About 80% through the trailer the song will start off with the "YOU BEATIN DRUM LIKE DUM DI DI DEY."
The song will then get progressively louder throughout the trailer and the titles will come on and you'll get sound effects mixed with the "Hey ma ma ma ma hey ma maaa" part and the last "Hey ma maa" will go over the titles that show when the movie comes out.
Prove me wrong. Also post in the comments if you see more examples.