Stevie Wonder’s “Skeletons,” the lead single off his 1987 album Characters, topped Billboard’s R&B chart almost exactly 25 years ago, and just in time for the November 28 anniversary, the song has been resurrected to score the second trailer for the highly anticipated video game Grand Theft Auto V.
“Skeletons in your closet / Itching to get outside / Messin’ with your conscience / In a way your face can’t hide,” Wonder sings while Trevor Phillips, one of GTA V’s three (anti-)heroes, threatens and beats his associates before lobbing a Molotov cocktail into a farmhouse. Explosions, car chases, and train crashes abound throughout the clip, other characters talk “slinging dope and throwing up gang signs,” and Wonder warns, “What did your daddy tell you about lies / He said one white one turns into a black one.”
Pairing a Reagan-era pop song with drive-by shootings and police pursuits is familiar ground for Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto franchise. The series’ 2002 entry, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, was set in a fictional mock-up of 1986 Miami and featured hits from Michael Jackson, Squeeze, Toto, and Wang Chung. The upcoming GTA V is the follow-up to 2008’s Grand Theft Auto IV, which reportedly shattered sales records by moving six million copies in its first week. That game included songs by LCD Soundsystem, Kanye West, Smashing Pumpkins, and the Stooges.
Grand Theft Auto V is slated for a spring 2013 release and will be available for Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360.