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What The Song Playing During The Opening Credits Of Us Really Means

Jordan Peele may be only two movies into his directing career (a third movie, "Nope," is scheduled for release in 2022), but his particular take on the horror genre has made waves. Peele's first film, "Get Out," received critical acclaim when it was released, and his follow-up, "Us," received similar praise (per Rotten Tomatoes). While "Get Out" focused on racism and deconstructing it through a horror lens (per Vox), Peele's second feature focused more on the director's interpretation of American privilege (via A.V. Club).

Along with its odd premise of malevolent doppelgängers attacking a family, "Us" was also notable for its strange music choices by composer and frequent Peele collaborator Michael Abels. Perhaps most weird of all is the movie's opening credits song, which features a choir of children singing nonsensical lyrics over an almost tribal composition (via YouTube). While viewers of the movie could almost dismiss this as an attempt by Peele and Abels to be creepy for creepy's sake, it turns out that the duo had an entirely logical reason for the sound and structure of the song.

The opening song of Us was intended to sound ominous

According to a 2019 Slate interview with Michael Abels, the opening song, titled "Anthem," was meant "to sound like an evil march." The composer then explained the song should sound "like you knew that someone with bad intentions was coming."

Abels went on to say that the "one thing that Jordan [Peele] loves to do and is becoming known for is [to] take something you always assumed was safe or innocent and turn it into something else. The children's voices [are] one example — Jordan wanted to start with them because he thought it would be super scary."

As for why he and Peele decided to make the lyrics almost nonsensical, Abels offered some interesting insight there. He clarified that "the reason the lyrics are nonsense has everything to do with 'Us,' which is we want to communicate the message that there's a group of people who are organizing, but we don't want the audience to understand their purpose," and concluded that "you're forced to listen with your emotions and your instincts rather than your intellect."

If this enlightening interview is any indication, it seems that Peele's musical score is as carefully planned out as his movies' stories and themes. Either way, "Anthem" is a creepy and strange introduction to "Us," which was itself both creepy and weird in tone and execution. We'll have to wait and see what musical choices Peele and company makes for "Nope" when it releases in 2022.