Writer/director Edgar Wright released a new trailer for his upcoming heist flick Baby Driver last week and it’s hard to miss that the movie’s soundtrack is being used as a big part of the marketing. The trailer itself is called “TeKillYah,” a play on the prominent placement of a cover of The Champs’ “Tequila” by The Button Down Brass in the spot.
The other major feature of this latest trailer is the inclusion of pull quotes from some of the early reviews that have already run following festival and other screenings. It’s called “A blast” and “The most stylish film of the year.”
At the 1:35 mark those two collide, with a quote from Crave’s William Bibbiani, whose review includes the comment “It uses music the way the rest of us use air.” That sets the expectation for the audience that it’s not just that we’re getting some cool tunes in the trailer but also in the movie as a whole.
That makes sense given the film’s plot. Ansel Elgort plays Baby, a savant behind the wheel who’s in hock to a crime boss (Kevin Spacey), who uses Baby as a getaway driver for his bank heists and other operations. Baby has a condition following a car wreck as a child that gives him a constant hum in his ears and so always has earphones in and music going to help drown it out. When he meets a young lady (Lily James) he tries to get out from his life of crime.
The first trailer, released back in March, was only slightly less music-intensive. The first half is about exposition and laying out the story. After all the character introductions are done, though, we’re treated to Martha Reeves & The Vandellas’ “Nowhere to Run,” which is a great accompaniment to the car chase sequences we’re shown.
The expectation set in the second trailer that the soundtrack is pretty important to the film as a whole toward the end of that trailer when the title card touting all the bands that appear on that album is shown. “Soundtrack featuring music by…” is the opening to a list of bands and musicians that would (assuming time travel is possible) make for an amazing summer music festival. The Commodores alongside T. Rex alongside Barry White alongside The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion alongside Beck and so on. 30 acts in total from a variety of styles and genres.
That diversity speaks to a desire by Wright to make the album – and by extension the movie – as timeless as possible, not going for the fast-fading hipness of something like Suicide Squad, nor the ironic nostalgia of Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s something for everyone on the record. It’s a mix-tape worthy of Rob Fleming, the record shop owner in Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. There’s a great collection of classic rock, Motown, and current acts.
Notable, though, is the soundtrack’s place in the marketing of Baby Driver. Most movies may include some small note alongside the credits at the very e end that the soundtrack is available on so-and-so label. Some might include a link on the official website to buy the album on iTunes.
By way of contrast, music is at the forefront of the Baby Driver campaign. The tagline shown on the poster proclaims “All you need is one killer track,” again highlighting how important music is to the story. And if yo scroll through the movie’s official Twitter account you’ll find lots of references to music as well as featurettes and interviews with the cast about the soundtrack and motion graphics that look like mix tape covers.
It’s clear that music is a big part of the appeal Wright, along with Sony Pictures, envisions for the movie. It’s not just that they want to sell the audience on a fast-paced heist caper, it’s selling a fast-paced heist caper that’s set to the best and most exciting music you could pull together from all over the musical map.