Sad Pop Version of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ Opens ‘Black Widow’
Marvel's Black Widow is set to open nationwide on July 9 and when it does, one of the first things audiences will hear is the familiar lyrics of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" rolling out over the opening credits, albeit with a somber and haunting new update provided by vocalist Malia J.
The Hawaiian-born singer adds a sense of unease to the Nirvana classic, letting her ethereal voice accentuate the wording of the song as it spools out in a more solemn fashion. You can hear the Malia J version that appears in Black Widow below. It plays over the film's tense opening sequence in the Scarlett Johansson-starring film.
This is not the first time that popular rock songs have been adapted into something more solemn or haunting to soundtrack a movie trailer. It's quite common. There have been quite a number of them as can be seen here and here. Just last August, another Nirvana song, albeit one that was already somewhat dark and haunting, was adapted for The Batman trailer as "Something in the Way" was chosen.
While Malia J may be a name somewhat new to listeners, she's started to build up some cred in the film and TV world where her cover of Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" helped win a Clio Award for its usage in the Season 2 trailer for Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale. She also recently brought a sense of unease to a cover of Bananarama's bouncy '80s hit "Cruel Summer" for the Netflix documentary series Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer. Plus she's recorded music for trailers of Fox's Gotham, the CW series Riverdale and other film and TV placements.
While "Smells Like Teen Spirit" gives her a prime spotlight on the big screen, Malia J is set to release her debut EP, Reflections. The set will include her take on "Smells Like Teen Spirit," but also serves up her first original songs.
“I've always written my own music, but when I started covering other artists’ music in a completely different light, people really connected to it,” Malia says. “Now I’ve come full circle, creating my own music with the same dark, dramatic production style.”