Coming Soon!: The John Beal Trailer ProjectSo there’s this guy, and it seems like he writes the music for half the trailers that unspool in the theaters before a movie starts. And all he has to do is sorta emulate someone else’s music, only not enough that you can really tell (or sue over), and make it a couple of minutes long. This guy must have the easiest job in the world, right?

Ha! No, actually, he doesn’t, but he’s damn good at it, and this is where we get this double CD devoted entirely to music from movie trailers and TV spots. As incongruous as it may sound – to mainstream listeners, this would be as unfathomable a listen as picking something out of a production music library at a TV station – it’s well worth a listen, and you’re almost guaranteed to hear something that you found catchy under the coming attractions. John Beal’s been at it for over 25 years, and bless the internet, the man whose job it is to score the movie trailers has his own honest-to-goodness fan following. If you’re ever gone hunting for a specific piece of movie trailer music, and it didn’t wind up being Enigma or some recycled Jerry Goldsmith, it may well have been John Beal.

Each of the two CDs is filled to the rim with very short cues. If anyone has a complaint about Coming Soon, it’s not going to be a lack of variety. Everything from Black Beauty to Quiz Show to Judge Dredd to Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie to The Mask to Basic Instinct is included here, and then some. Beal keeps the job he’s got by having a pretty good sense of what’s needed for the two-minute mini-movie that the marketing department has kindly carved out of two hours of actual movie. With this wide selection of cues, you’d be lost without some decent liner notes pointing out what was used where, and fortunately this is what the booklet accompanying the CD gives you, though in a few cases there seems to be some legalese getting in the way. In the cases of cues like “Broke Arrow” and “Unmarried White Woman”, you can probably make an easy guess of it, especially when the description of the latter, rather than naming the movie, says the cue is for an unspecified movie about “women seeking roommates” (am I the only one thinking this is probably also a Bridget Fonda movie?). In some cases, there’s even some interesting history to the trailers, as in the case of an early cue from the 70s which went over so well that it also became the movie’s end credit music.

Even more of a specialty item for film music buffs than most soundtracks are, Coming Soon can offer you at least one thing: if you don’t like what you’re hearing, it’ll probably be changing in about a minute and thirty. And if you think John Beal’s job is easy, consider that every piece heard on these two CDs all came 3 out of 4from the same guy, and as many tracks as there are is about how many changes in style there are. Beal is among the best in Hollywood at what he does, and enough producers and studios have thought so as well, keeping him busy enough that Coming Soon represents a tiny fraction of his portfolio – but it’s also some of his best, and quite a bit of it is certainly listenable in its own right.

Order this CD

    Disc one

  1. Black Beauty trailer (1:20)
  2. Angel – Almost (2:19)
  3. Beautician & The Beast (2:14)
  4. Alaska trailer (1:57)
  5. Black Rain trailer (1:32)
  6. Broke Arrow (2:21)
  7. Casualties Of War (2:06)
  8. For Sir Charlie (1:59)
  9. Beal’s Con Theory (2:21)
  10. Pseudo Cool World (1:44)
  11. Courage March (1:03)
  12. The Cutthroat (1:17)
  13. Dead Again (2:08)
  14. Blessed Dead (2:16)
  15. Nothing To Lose (1:40)
  16. Erased (1:34)
  17. Eye To Eye (2:00)
  18. Intruder (2:21)
  19. Ghost trail (2:04)
  20. Ham’s Prologue & Epilogue (3:01)
  21. Three Blind Elfmen (1:51)
  22. The Hunt (1:39)
  23. I Know What (0:34)
  24. In The Line (2:25)
  25. Independence 2 (1:06)
  26. Dead Solid Perfect (1:51)
  27. Sarah & Jack (2:15)
  28. Hollywood Latin (2:25)
  29. Jen 8 (1:02)
  30. Judge Dredd teaser (0:55)
  31. Last Man (1:02)
  32. Last Dogman (1:41)
  33. Tate Jazz (2:24)
  34. Deadly Sin (0:34)
    Disc two

  1. Magic Of The Theater / Strawberry & Chocolate (2:20)
  2. Medicine Man trailer (1:49)
  3. Invisible Memoirs (1:54)
  4. Morph Men (1:47)
  5. Miracle trailer (2:50)
  6. Woody’s Manhattan (1:50)
  7. Manhattan Night (2:05)
  8. Noises Offstage (1:35)
  9. Nothing Much (1:27)
  10. I’ll Always Fall In Love With Love (1:57)
  11. Pagemaster trail (2:17)
  12. Passed (1:21)
  13. Academy March (2:20)
  14. Lyle / Ennio / I’m Not Hoffa (2:30)
  15. Stunt Person (0:31)
  16. Schooltie (2:11)
  17. Unmarried White Woman (2:21)
  18. Skatetown USA trailer / end title (3:45)
  19. Basic Instinct Theme (2:21)
  20. Solo’s Solo (1:57)
  21. Two Billion $ Off Switch (1:01)
  22. Species Too (2:10)
  23. Sweet Magnolia (1:25)
  24. Supercop promo (1:00)
  25. Karen’s Love Theme (1:04)
  26. The Grift (1:58)
  27. Somebody Stop Me (1:51)
  28. If They Come At You (3:00)
  29. Three Wishes teaser (2:41)
  30. Ocean Song (1:23)
  31. Starnever / True Lies overlay (1:37)
  32. Under Siege Too (1:41)
  33. It’s Warshawski! (1:39)
  34. Beal’s Volcanic (0:56)
  35. White Out (1:20)

Released by: Sonic Images
Release date: 1998
Disc one total running time: 62:04
Disc two total running time: 67:01