With the rave reviews still pouring in as of September, Guardians of the Galaxy is definitely this summer’s box office darling. Marvel’s feel-good space adventure has scored praise not only for its engaging characters and storyline, but also for its unexpected use of 70s and 80s pop music. In fact, of the two soundtracks released with the movie, one recently broke a unique Billboard record.
The main soundtrack, released by Hollywood Records on July 29th, 2014, includes the film score composed by Tyler Bates. It features the instrumental tracks that accompanied the many fight scenes and suspenseful plot developments throughout the futuristic quest.
The other soundtrack, released on the same date, is entitled “Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1”. The title refers to the treasured item that defines the main hero, Peter Quill – a mix tape entitled “Awesome Mix Vol. 1,” which his mother made for him shortly before she died. Peter, played by Chris Pratt, constantly jams to the tracks during his escapades, and even risks his life to retrieve the cassette because of the intrinsic value it holds for him. The tape features his mother’s favorite pop songs from when she was growing up, and holds additional value as Peter’s last keepsake from his life on planet Earth. “Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1” is actually that mix tape in its entirety, featuring the following tracks:
1.”Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede
2.”Go All the Way” by Raspberries
3.”Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum
4.”Moonage Daydream” by David Bowie
5.”Fooled Around and Fell in Love” by Elvin Bishop
6.”I’m Not in Love” by 10cc
7.”I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5
8.”Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone
9.”Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways
10.”Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes
11.”O-o-h Child” by Five Stairsteps
12.”Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
This soundtrack recently broke a unique record on Billboard. This marks the first time in history a soundtrack album comprised entirely of previously released songs has topped the charts.
Although the classic mix hit home with many fans, some listeners have questioned whether the soundtrack’s success is a cheap victory. Being that there is not a single new or original song on the album, there is no denying that Guardians of the Galaxy is riding some coattails. However, the director, James Gunn, has stated that the songs are “cultural reference points,” intended to help the audience better connect to the heroes, and to a universe that is so foreign. “It’s striking the balance throughout the whole movie, through something that is very unique, but also something that is easily accessible to people at the same time,” Gunn explains. “The music and the Earth stuff is one of those touchstones that we have to remind us that, yeah, [Quill] is a real person from planet Earth who’s just like you and me. Except that he’s in this big outer space adventure.”
Whether or not you’re a fan of the copycat tactics, it served its purpose from a business standpoint and raked in a massive amount of sales. Everything aside, at least we can rejoice that “Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1” has opened up a younger generation to some of the classic hits of years past, and made some old pop songs popular again.