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What's The Song In The Licorice Pizza Trailer?

Paul Thomas Anderson's upcoming film, "Licorice Pizza," is an ensemble drama set in San Fernando Valley in the 1970s, in the vein of his previous efforts such as "Magnolia" and "Boogie Nights." The new trailer just dropped, revealing what previous viewers like Twitter user Harry Eskin (who caught the same trailer at the New Beverly Cinema earlier this month) described as, "youth and its pangs in a bygone time, wistful, a little melancholy, a little silly, strong Valley presence, [Bradley] Cooper and [Sean] Penn taking big offbeat swings," 

The trailer for the upcoming movie, originally titled "Soggy Bottom," debuted at the American Cinematheque's Los Feliz 3 location (via Variety) and came to other repertory theaters showing classic films on 35mm film before going online (via Indie Wire).  It stars Cooper as a Hollywood director, Cooper Hoffman as a child actor, and Benny Safdie as a politician running for office. Alana Haim, Nate Mann, Skyler Gisondo, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, and Destry Allyn Spielberg, along with Penn, also star. Maya Rudolph and Tom Waits, who hadn't been previously announced as part of the cast, appeared in the trailer. "Licorice Pizza" filmed through November of 2020 and appears to be full of nostalgic references. It has the texture and look of a film made in the 1970s: it's even named after a chain of old record stores called Licorice Pizza. 

If you've seen it now that it's online, you might notice that the old-school feel extends to the music, as well. And you might be wondering — what's the name of that song that adds so much atmosphere to the scenes in the sneak peek?

The song is from 1970s musical icon David Bowie

The song is "Life on Mars" by art-pop, glam-rock icon David Bowie, which came out as part of his album "Hunky Dory" in 1971 but didn't get much play until 1973, when it was released as a single following the 1972 success of "Ziggy Stardust." 

"Life on Mars" came about because Bowie was asked to pen English lyrics to the 1967 French song "Comme d'habitude" by Claude Francois, turning the song into a piece called "Even a Fool Learns to Love." However, the song's French publishers rejected his version and then Paul Anka bought the rights and rewrote it, turning into the famous Frankie Sinatra tune "My Way." Bowie claimed Sinatra's version as inspiration for his semi-parody. Far Out Magazine describes it as "a truly perfect song that epitomizes the supernatural lure of David Bowie." 

The song's somewhat abstract lyrics focus on a "mousy-haired girl" (synchronized in the "Licorice Pizza" trailer with scenes showing Haim), who gets stood up and decides to see a movie anyway, but fails to lose herself in its on-screen happenings while surrounded by couples. As an anthem, it's totally relatable: "The very first notes of this masterpiece catapulted me back in my adolescence's attic, in a cold winter's night, with me feeling lonely but enthralled by the endless promises of the magical adulthood that I was about to step on soon," commented YouTube user Thomas Gazis on the David Bowie video site. 

This makes it perfect choice for a 1970s film about maturing teenagers that will be released this holiday season. MGM (via United Artists) will open film "Licorice Pizza" as a limited release starting Nov. 26 and then nationwide on Dec. 25 (via Collider).