Using the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” Tag for Your Music

What is a Manic Pixie Dreamgirl?

“That bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” – Nathan Rabin avclub.com

The term “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” was coined in 2007 by film critic Nathan Rabin.  He compared it to the “Magical Negro”, a black character who seems to exist only to provide spiritual or mystical help (i.e. Yoda in Empire Strikes Back) to the white savior protagonist.  In both cases, the stock character has no discernible inner life, and usually only exists to provide the protagonist some important life lessons.

And as formulaic as this trope is, the music behind these types of Romantic Comedies has it’s patterns.

Genres range from epic orchestral, Indie Pop, Pop Rock, Synth Pop, Dream Pop to Folk and Singer-Songwriter.  The common musical moods include euphoria, romance, passion, reflection, and exaggerated happy emotions.

Here are trailers from 5 different Romantic Comedies that contain the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” trope:

 

Garden State

 

 

 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

 

 

 

Ruby Sparks

 

 

 

 

Paper Towns

 

 

 

 

Elizabethtown

 

 
Here are some examples of musical genre, moods, textures that are represented in these Manic Pixie Dream Girl movie trailers.

Similar Musical Traits:

Moods: Reflective, Introspective, Passionate, Hopeful, Heartfelt, Longing, Emotive, Uplifting, Enthusiastic, Upbeat, Energetic, Optimistic, Dreamy, Cheerful, Nostalgic, Inspirational

Musical Form: Climactic, Building

Texture: Bouncy, Bright, Pulsing, Warm, Lush, Gentle

Featured Instrumentation: Vocal Oohs, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Strings, Electric Guitar, Foot Stomps, Hand Claps

Genre: Pop, Rock, Folk

Sub-Genre: Indie-Folk, Indie-Pop, Indie-Rock, Acoustic Folk, Singer-Songwriter

Style:  Epic, Sunshine, Summer, Falling in Love, Youth, Romance, Empowerment

Traits:
-Over the top, energetic and climactic musical sections.
-Larger than life feel, with lush, warm and floating textures.
-Section builds with uplifting vocals

 

Just for fun, here is a humorous take on the trope:

You may also like