By Karen E. Chin
WHEN I FIRST SAW the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer in the cinema a few weeks before its release, it seemed like a typical science fiction-slash-fantasy-superhero movie. My eye-rolling ceased halfway when “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede started playing in the middle of the trailer – accompanying the typical slow-motion gun-blasting, explosions, action-packed and dramatic trailer scenes.
Actually, I’ve always been a fan of that weirdly-contrasting-yet-ironic mix of an oldie playing in the background of a violent scene (ditto: explosion scene featuring Jude Law in Repo Man – and “Dream A Little Dream of Me” by The Mamas and The Papas).
That caught my attention for the longest time. I remember how I felt when I experienced that scene with my visual and auditory senses combined – something like when the idea of mixing sweet and salty popcorn was introduced to you; it did not make sense until you tried it. I will never forget that scene.
It got my attention (plus the raccoon is cute) but I was not sold on watching it yet… until I heard rave reviews about the soundtrack.
So after this movie was released, I generally heard awesome reviews about its soundtrack – and boy, do I love oldies! And yes, I do know half the world loves it and the other half hates it.
So with a hot date in tow, I went to watch the movie and carefully observed the soundtrack. It was incredible! The movie was funny, and the visual effects were pretty good – and every time a cool song came on, I clutched at my armrests in excitement!
So, the story starts off with a little boy named Peter Quill inserting a cassette called Awesome Mix Vol. 1 into his Walkman (remember those?) and apparently that is one of the things that his mother gave him before she passed away. The cassette and the music it holds are his only connection to his mother and to earth after he was abducted and adopted by space bandits.
Here are my favorite picks from Peter Quill’s mixtape:
I’m Not in Love – 10cc
This is the first song that plays from Peter Quill’s mixtape as a child. I squealed and squirmed in my seat! It has such a nice romantic, nostalgic feel to it – kind of like that type of music they played for the first slow dance at prom in the 80s. So 10cc is an English band, and this song was released in 1975 – and the writers received the 1975 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically (according to Wikipedia, of course).
Come and Get Your Love – Redbone
This song with its catchy introduction was played as the opening credits rolled with a grown-up Peter Quill doing a silly dance – which was almost awkward – until you watch the rest of the movie and realize that he is that carefree.
Well, no one really expected something so wonderfully cheesy in a superhero movie. This song was a hit single in 1974 and claimed its spot as the 4th most popular song on the Billboard Hot 100 for that year. Redbone is a Native American rock band – with a fashion sense to match!
Hooked on a Feeling – Blue Swede
This is probably the most popular song on the soundtrack – it was used in the trailer, too. My best memory of this song was Ally McBeal (a courtroom drama series from the 90s) and that creepy dancing baby in diapers! Personally, I am not much a fan of the tribal chanting in the beginning of the song (a tad bit too cheesy for me), but love it when the drum tracks come in (and do I hear a cowbell in there?).
The Swedish pop group Blue Swede was actually doing a cover of this song which was written in 1968 by Mark James and first performed by BJ Thomas. Blue Swede’s version reached number one in the United States in 1974.
Moonage Daydream – David Bowie
I am not a David Bowie fan, but this badass song pretty much rocked. This glam rock genre track was released in 1971, and according to Wikipedia (again haha!) this song “tells of an alien messiah and hints at his destiny to save the world from the impending disaster” – which I think is pretty right on for the movie.
I Want You Back – Jackson 5
This Motown song that they used for the movie’s ending credits, highlights the vocals of the late Michael Jackson (and his brothers) in all his pre-puberty cuteness. Recorded and released in 1969, “I Want You Back” was the band’s first debut hit; it proceeded to become 121st on The Rolling Stones’ list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Escape (The Piña Colada Song) – Rupert Holmes
Every time I hear this song, I think of Cameron Diaz and Christina Applegate in their star-spangled bikinis in that chick flick The Sweetest Thing – and them singing it really badly. This story probably sounds like a version of online-dating back in the days – this song was written in September 1979 and was the last U.S. number one song in the 70s (fact!). Anyway, the lyrics tell quite a funny story, and I have to say I can’t believe they didn’t kill each other in the end.
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terell
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” was written in the late 60s for a Motown label and according to Wikipedia, “the Gaye/Terrell version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999, and is regarded today as one of the most important records ever released by Motown.” However, whenever I hear this song (and I think the whole world agrees with me), I see Whoopi Goldberg in a nun costume singing and dancing with a bunch of ghetto teenagers dressed in awkward 90s fashion – remember Lauryn Hill? Yeah, Sister Act was my childhood.
My Final Thoughts
I think it would be really cool if they could include “Afternoon Delight” by Starland Vocal Band and “Dancing Queen” by Abba for Awesome Mix Vol. 2, if there is going to be any. 😀