There may be spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy in this blog post. Stop reading if you haven’t already seen it yet. I only really spoil the first five minutes but ppl get upset if you don’t put spoilage warnings at the top of posts like this so there you go. You have formally been warned. Okay I know I’m not the first to marvel at Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, and the film Guardians of the Galaxy in particular. Actually, to be honest I could take or leave the movie itself. It’s fun. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed it. I’m not gaga crazy over it like I was the Avengers movie when it came out.
I just deleted several paragraphs where I went into detail about which movies I do like and which ones I don’t and where I stand with superhero TV shows right now. You’re welcome. It was hell to type and I’m sure it woulda been worse for you to read. That’s not why I’m wasting your time. I’m here about the music of Guardians of the Galaxy, and not the film itself (which was barely above average as films go but like I said several paragraphs deleted explaining why cuz.. it’s not important).
Here is my playlist. I affectionately call it: The Rejects of the Galaxy. These are the songs that Meredith Quill could have put in the mixtapes for her son Peter, but opted not to, but I’m putting them here anyway cuz I like them. They’re in keeping with the spirit of these fictional mixtapes. Most of the songs (certainly the ones at the top of this playlist) are not quite remembered by most everybody. They’re songs that kinda tie in to the movie for me, or I imagine the director of the sequels wouldn’t have much difficulty working these in if they opted to do so. Sometimes I found other songs from the same artists as the original. Other times I looked for other artists from the time period and picked songs that worked for me. Your Mileage May Vary of course, but this works for me. Let me know what you think.
It’s a work in progress by the way. I may continue changing it. I may expand upon it or weed a lot of tracks out in the future. I make no promises. I may never ever touch it again. That one’s mine by the way. The playlists below this one are probably not gonna be me cuz I’m too lazy to repeat efforts in YouTube if I can find that other people beat me to it.
Now granted, that “Rejects” playlist is going to make very little sense to you if you saw the film Guardians of the Galaxy and even less sense if you didn’t, so allow me to try to summarize briefly what about the film pertains to this blog post without intentionally spoiling the film for those who haven’t yet seen it, of which I’m surprised I’m not the last one cuz I intentionally put off watching it as long as I could bare to wait. This was originally a comic book that was turned into a movie. You can go read the comics too if you want, but you don’t have to in order to see the movie or understand this blog post.
Once upon a time there was this boy named Peter Quill. Not really. This is a fairy tale, mkay? Peter Quill’s mom had fallen in love with an alien from outer space. Somehow he knocked her up. Neither the comics nor the movie go into detail as to how. Other details are very different between the comics and the movie. In the comics, Peter’s mom was killed when he was about twelve by aliens who were mad at his father, but he managed to escape and.. well anyway the comics is different. In the movie, Meredith Quill was dying of cancer. She made Peter Quill this Awesome Mix Tape Volume One which Quill still had with him many years later after he himself had been abducted by aliens and learned how to be a petty thief. There. I just spoiled the first five minutes of the movie for you. Go watch the rest of the movie and come back if you haven’t already seen it.
So the conceit of this film, is that the one Earthling aka “Terran” in the movie has this mix tape. It consists of a dozen or so songs that his mother loved which she thought her son might enjoy too. So if you’ve ever made mix tapes you know this is a personal kind of thing. It’s intimate, but it can also be shared by anyone, cuz music’s great like that. It speaks to Peter on his level as a fictional character, but the songs also speak to the audience, each person on their own level wherever they happen to be in relation to the music. Have they heard it before and it rings a pleasant bell? Have they never heard it before and it’s a totally new experience for them? It helps to make the film itself a personal experience on more than one level – an experience that while shared locally in a theater or globally over the Internet, no two people are gonna have the same identical experience, due in no small part to this music.
I grew up in the 60s 70s and 80s just like Peter Quill’s mom must have. I remember the Jackson Five when they were a family and a group long before Michael became the breakout star and left his brothers behind. Some of these songs I remember hearing as a toddler, and some I never heard before watching this film, but some I remember from my teenage years. I remember really falling in love with the Pina Colada song “Escape” by Rupert Holmes even tho now it makes me wince. I can’t stand it now but I used to love it. It’s inclusion in this mixtape just makes me laugh. And bands like Redbone and artists like David Bowie.. what’s not to love about this playlist?
Here for your edification is a YouTube playlist that consists (at the time of this writing) of the tracks available from Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Vol 1 which is probably still available for purchase as well via Amazon or actual physical music stores if those still exist when you’re reading this.
Now that playlist isn’t mine, and whoever made it might alter it after I post this, but when I worked this up that playlist above consists mostly of songs actually in the film, or in some cases songs that reportedly were going to go into the film but didn’t make it. There’s also other people on YouTube who took it upon themselves to make “Awesome Mix Vol 2” or 3 or Pi or whatever. I’m not quite that bold but they are worth checking out. They’re not real, of course, but then Awesome Mix Volume One isn’t real, so it doesn’t matter.
And maybe that’s what’s making me kinda nerd out over this whole thing cuz it’s so meta. In the context of the movie, it’s a mother making a mixtape for her son. However in reality, this is a mixtape director James Gunn has made for humanity. He looked over music from his own youth and worked in the ones he loved that also happened to work for his movie. If the movie is his work for us, the mixtape is a gift he placed alongside it. A bonus. His playing with us.
I also want to share this with you today. Some other faceless fan on the Internet who happens to know how to play piano went to the trouble of posting this video in which he incorporates all the songs from Meredith Quill’s (and James Gunn’s) mixtape into a delicious medley instrumental just on piano. It’s so simple and yet so fun. And it’s evidence I’m not the only one kinda nerding out over this.
Finally a tip of the hat to Tyler Bates the composer behind the cinematic score. Excellent work. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios. Produced by Dave Jordan. It’s lots of fun, and the only original music made for the movie. The rest of the soundtrack consists of MY soundtrack. Music from my youth. Music from the youth of anyone who doesn’t mind too much with radio stations that boast being “the best of the 70s, 80s, 90s, and today!”
Share and enjoy. Thanks for reading, and listening.