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What's The Song In The Rhythm Section Trailer?

In case you hadn't noticed, former Gossip Girl Blake Lively has been on a bit of a roll in recent years, starring in a string of solid indie flicks like The Age of AdalineThe Shallows, and A Simple Favor. Now, Lively is looking to continue that hot streak by playing against part in Reed Morano's ass-kicking espionage drama The Rhythm Section. Based on a popular novel of the same name, the film follows Lively's Stephanie Patrick as she rains terror down on the nefarious band of baddies who coordinated a plane crash that killed her family. The first trailer for The Rhythm Section dropped recently — and it promises the film will be every bit the bone-breaking, action-packed thriller such a setup would merit. It may also be the female-led, James Bond-styled franchise the world has been waiting for.

Additionally, The Rhythm Section is definitely the moody, character-driven sort of tale one would expect of a film directed by Reed Morano (MeadowlandI Think We're Alone Now). Of course, much of the propulsive moodiness running through the trailer comes via the crunchy wash of guitars and howling vocals of the song playing over the action. 

So, what's the song you ask in The Rhythm Section trailer? Well, it's a stone-cold classic from way, way back called "In the Pines." 

They Rhythm Section trailer borrows its rhythm from Lead Belly

It's entirely possible that you've seen the song titled "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" or even "My Girl." Regardless of what it's been called over the years, "In The Pines" is a brooding beast of a folk song that can be traced all the way back to Civil War times. It was first made popular by the 1941 recording from bluegrass icon Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys. Of course, most folks are probably a bit more familiar with the haunting, racially-charged cover recorded by blues legend Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter a few years later — an alternate version that took on a different meaning with the lyric change from "My girl, my girl, don't cha lie to me" to "Black girl, black girl, don't cha lie to me."

If you're curious about the heavy-hitting cover you hear in The Rhythm Section trailer, it comes via indie rock stalwarts Sleigh Bells, who recorded their very own version of the song for the movie. It was a task the pair did not take lightly, addressing the song's legacy in a recent tweet. Sleigh Bells noted that some other versions of the iconic folk tune are "total classics," and that recording their own version "was terrifying but we went for it." It certainly sounds like they did just that, putting a unique spin on a generation-spanning classic. 

"In the Pines" is an oft-covered song

Though we're absolutely digging what we've heard of Sleigh Bells' "In the Pines" cover in the trailer for The Rhythm Section, it's worth noting that they're far from the first artists to cover the track in the years since Lead Belly put his stamp on the material. In the decades since, "In the Pines" has been covered by a wide swathe of musicians — including country mavens like Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton, folkies Joan Baez and Laura Gibson, and indie rockers Smog. Most recently, fans of Starz's adaptation of Neil Gaiman's American Gods even heard composer Brian Reitzell and former Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan put their own eerie twist on the song for the show's soundtrack.

Perhaps the most famous cover of "In the Pines" (titled "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" on the official tracklist) was set to tape in 1994, when grunge rock gods Nirvana closed their legendary "MTV Unplugged" set with a version of the song that erred particularly close to the style of Lead Belly, whom Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain then claimed was his favorite performer. 

Per a 1994 New York Times piece, it was apparently Lanegan (himself a mainstay on the Seattle scene) who first exposed Cobain to Lead Belly and his take on "In the Pines." Oddly enough, the version that Cobain and co. laid down during their acoustic set on MTV really did prove a show-stopper, and became a surprise hit amongst their fervid fanbase upon release. It even made an instant fan of legendary rocker Neil Young, who famously called Cobain's vocals on the track "unearthly, like a werewolf, unbelievable."

If you've yet to hear Nirvana's take on "In the Pines," we'd urge you to do so immediately. If you're dying to hear Sleigh Bells' take on the track, for now you'll just have to keep replaying The Rhythm Section trailer for that tasty snippet — though the band is assuring their own fans that their lush, pop-centric cover of the iconic folk tune should be available everywhere music is streamed in "a couple of weeks." Let's hope it gets here sooner than later. If nothing else, we'd wager the song might also feature prominently in The Rhythm Section, which is slated to hit theaters on January 31, 2020.