Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mixtape…AND THEN SOME
Guardians of the Galaxy has turned out to be the go-to fun flick of the summer. After suffering through some really dismal summer blockbusters that I won’t name here *cough*Transformers 4 piece of shit *cough* it was a very welcome relief to sit down for a couple of hours with one of my boys and let the entertainment wash over me.
Were there explosions? Yes. Was there lots of CGI? Of course, but it wasn’t the nonstop CGI-gasm that most big films are these days. In fact, the special effects in this flick were quite amazing. But unlike most big budget summer entertainments, Guardians of the Galaxy contained two things that put it over the top: A great deal of very smart humor, and a whole lot of 70’s pop nuggets.
Director James Gunn’s decision to soundtrack his film with lots of 70’s AM Gold is an offbeat one, but also decidedly genius. The juxtaposition between the state-of-the-art science fiction imagery and, say, “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” put a smile on this kid of the 70’s face more than a few times. The last scene of the movie with a certain baby character dancing to a certain classic tune alone is worth the price of admission.
The use of 70’s songs makes sense on further thought; the powers that be that are making films are of a generation that grew up during the seventies (and 80’s), the golden age of radio, and these songs formed the soundtracks of their young lives. The music was everywhere; everyone who lived through the age knows the songs. And one of the miraculous things about music from your youth is that it sticks with you, and hearing them decades later brings you right back to those times. Even the bad music; even the cheesy tunes. The Guardians of the Galaxy’s Awesome Mixtape soundtrack is a delightful collection, and Peter Quill’s Walkman (and said Mixtape) is an integral part of the film’s story and plot.
I grew up through the seventies, and music was a huge part of my young life. Our house was full of music, whether from the pop radio or the record player. When we went somewhere in the car, the radio was always blasting this wonderful, crazy, sometimes awful music. These songs seeped into my consciousness, and ever since I’ve had a particularly soft spot in my heart for the music of this decade.
As for the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack…. I love it. And I’m not alone, as it’s reached #1 on the album sales charts. I mean, look at that cover above. It may be the coolest soundtrack album cover ever….And it got me to thinking: It doesn’t go far enough. Being an honest-to-god mixtape in the film, there was only so much music to fit on a cassette (or a 2 hour film, for that matter). But we live in the digital age, the streaming age, where playlists are limited not by a physical medium but by the imagination (or the patience level.) So I decided to put together a little Spotify playlist (This is nothing unusual; I have a bit of a problem in that I can’t stop making playlists, but it’s a problem I don’t really mind having.) starting with the official soundtrack songs, then fleshing it out with more super sounds of the 70’s that in my opinion (and it is just an opinion) fit the mood of the soundtrack songs. So instead of 12 songs, I give you a Super Expanded Awesome Mixtape with 42 songs from and inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s lots of one-hit wonders. Some pretty big classics. And LOTS of soft rock. (What was it with all the soft rock in the 70s, anyway???) I like it. I think you might like it too. Give it a listen and let me know if you agree. It’s designed to bring back memories of the basement rec room with the burnt orange shag carpet and wood-paneled walls and your moms’ old avocado green refrigerator… And if you haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy, what are you waiting for? I guarantee you’ll have a good time.