Creating an account with gives you access to more features and services, like our weekly newsletter and other special features just for the film community.

Large screen shot 2013 09 09 at 3.58.06 pm

Trailer Tunes: HBO's 'True Detective' & Alex Clare's 'Whispering'

At the intersection of movie trailers and music, what does Alex Clare's 'Whispering' tell us about HBO's new series teaming Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson?

There's always so much to unpack about a movie trailer: the stars, the plot, how much of the plot is being totally given away. But in many cases, the part of the trailer that sticks with you the longest is the music. Be it a pop song or a piece or orchestral score, it's the music that most often makes a trailer.

This Week's Trailer: True Detective, an upcoming HBO series that follows detectives Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson (EdTV reunion!) as they follow the trail of a Louisiana serial killer. The series is supposed to follow the case over 17 years, so it must take things into some dark and winding corners. Certainly, the trailer suggests that the case takes its toll on McConaughey and Harrelson as the years go by.

This Week's Tune(s): "Whispering," by soulful Brit Alex Clare, off of his 2011 release The Lateness of the Hour.

How Literal Is It? Not very literal. I suppose there is some whispering in the trailer but not enough to feel on the nose. More than just that title, though, the song speaks of despair and danger, which certainly would apply to the show, but again, this is done elliptically enough that nobody's going to feel beaten over the head by the themes.

How Emotional Is It? Atmospheric and mournful, "Whispering" conveys a lot about what we're to expect from this show. More than just a hard-bitten police procedural, there's a bit of poetry to this. Clare's soulful hauntings hint at the kind of Louisiana local color without being so on the nose to include, say, a bayou twang. It's pretty sophisticated stuff.

How Definitive Is It? Clare's "Too Close" became ubiquitous a year or two ago via Microsoft ads and usage in TV series. So Clare's voice won't be an unfamiliar one. But "Whispering" is a new thing altogether and a welcome change of pace, one would think.

Overall Trailer Tune Effectiveness: With or without the song, I think this is an intriguing trailer, due to the unique nature of the story (17 years played out over a TV series) and the fact that it's HBO. But it's that extra bit of atmosphere the song brings that might put it over the top.


What you need to know today