Some songs just have a certain element to them that makes them perfect for use in movie trailers. This may be why it sometimes seems as though the same songs are used over and over again — because they often are. In March 2019, two trailers dropped, both featuring similar cuts of the same song. This is what you need to know about that song.
These film trailers were released around the same time
At SXSW, many films are screened for the first (or second, or third) time for critics, after which time they are either purchased by a studio or, if this has already occurred, given an official release date that critics can include in their reviews. Among the many films that aired, two had a similar raunchy teen comedy vibe: Booksmart and Good Boys. Interestingly enough, both used the same song in their trailers: “Nobody Speak” by DJ Shadow ft. Run the Jewels.
For both trailers, one specific line was highlighted
Many of the lyrics to the song are NSFW. However, despite being a red band trailer (as was humorously pointed out the stars of the film by producer Seth Rogen in the video), some lines were cut around and instead scenes from the film played. However, the first two lines, which bring to mind some sexual imagery, are heard.
This is the same for Booksmart — in fact, even less of the lyrics are heard. The beat is highlighted throughout the last minute, but only those first two lines are audible, while the rest is spoken over. As Joe Berkowitz writes for Fast Company, this line seems to be “a cute way to suggest naughtiness” in trailers that, let’s be honest have done a fine job of highlighting this without musical cues.
Run the Jewels is frequently credited with song
The rap duo Run the Jewels, while frequently the ones attributed with the song, actually didn’t produce it. “Nobody Speak” is from DJ Shadow’s album The Mountain Will Fall. Released in 2016, the song features EI-P and Killer Mike’s vocal stylings over DJ Shadow’s beats, thus why they’re the ones thought of when it’s heard.
“Nobody Speak” has made a lot of appearances in film
If the song sounds familiar, it may be because you’ve heard it in another film. It was featured in Deadpool 2, during the scene where Wade and Weasel are assembling the X-Force. Nobody Speak” is on soundtracks across a variety of genres, in films such as The Happytime Murders, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Love, Simon, and Snatched. It was also in a Bud Light commercial, though no lyrics are heard.
It’s a song with a political message
As previously mentioned, the song came out in 2016, during which time the U.S. (and, apparently, other parts of the world) was focused on the presidential election. The video takes place in what at first appears to be an ordinary, civil gathering of politicians but, after two leaders from opposite sides start in on each other, dissolves into an all-out violent battle.
According to DJ Shadow, “We wanted to make a positive, life-affirming video that captures politicians at their election-year best. We got this instead.” Adds Killer Mike, “It’s such a dope video. It’s what I really wish Trump and Hillary would just do and get it over with…And even in that fight I think Hillary would win – and that’s not an endorsement.” So while it may now invoke images of teens and preteens “being bad,” the original message was very different.