A 2015 cover of the Nevermind hit, performed by singer-songwriter Malia J and produced by composer collective Think Up Anger, was chosen to soundtrack the film’s beginning credits sequence. (Minor spoilers ahead.)
Without giving away too much, the slowed-down, orchestral cover plays over an emotional and action-packed rollercoaster of footage. Over just a few minutes, the story unfolds: a young Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is raised in the Red Room Academy, training to be a KGB assassin against her will. As the strings swell, so does your sympathy for Romanoff and the other girls, who are forced to march in line and fire weapons to serve General Dreykov’s nefarious cause.
Back in February 2020, Marvel contacted Think Up Anger and Malia, as she tells Consequence by email. “We honestly thought it was a joke and didn’t immediately respond,” she says. “A different version of this cover has been circulating in the TV/film industry since 2015, and I can only speculate that someone from their camp was a fan and wanted to put it in the movie!”
Malia was “absolutely thrilled” when she found out they officially wanted to use her version of the oft-covered song. “I found out during the pandemic, and the news lifted my spirits up during such a dark time,” she adds. “I had no idea this song would end up being in a Marvel film, let alone the opening credits. I am such a fan of Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh — to be a part of something they are involved with is a dream come true.”
Black Widow stars Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, William Hurt, Ray Winstone, and Rachel Weisz. The film was originally set to be released in May 2020, but was delayed due to the pandemic, and will finally be released on July 9th. Read our review of the film here.
Listen to the cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Think Up Anger ft. Malia J below.