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One week on the big screen is all it has taken for the misfit heroes of Guardians of the Galaxy to shoot to the top of the box office, grossing over $134 million domestically.
With egocentric attitudes and sometimes misguided objectives, the pack of miscreants are colorful with well-timed adages of humor and makeshift save-the-day moments. They’re anything but average, so why would their soundtrack be?
The film is already enjoying a wealth of success, but one of its key ingredients comes from an unlikely source: a legendary audio relic known as a Walkman.
Played by Parks and Recreation’s Chris Pratt, Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, has but a few items left from his home back on Earth, all of which have direct ties to his deceased mother.
One of those items is his Walkman, which introduces the unsung hero at the beginning of the movie and develops a personality all its own over the course of the two-hour space adventure.
Of course, what good is a Walkman without a cassette tape to play some memorable jams from over the last 40 years?
Titled Awesome Mix Vol. 1, Quill’s cassette tape contrasts its Star Wars-esque setting in a distinct and greatly appreciated way. Put together by Quill’s mom, who wanted to share her favorite pop songs with him, it consists of tunes quirky enough to accompany each of GOTG’s idiosyncratic characters.
Months of trailers featuring Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” already gave a clue as to what director James Gunn was aiming for with this film stylistically.
“I felt like, for me, the music was a way to invite you in and make you feel a little more comfortable, because it’s something we’re familiar with in the face of all this oddness,” Gunn told BuzzFeed.
“Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone is the first song to kick off Star-Lord’s escapade as an adult, complemented with Pratt’s dance-like-no-one’s-watching moves and lip syncing through the ruins of the abandoned planet Morag.
It’s a fitting start, seeing as he later gives praise to Kevin Bacon’s heroism in Footloose like a true '80s kid. It doesn’t stop there, either.
Not many people would expect to hear The Five Stairsteps’ “Ooh Child” at a climactic confrontation between the main villain and his adversaries. But if that doesn’t throw anyone off enough, expect a little surprise from Quill’s distraction methods.
The not-so-subtle eccentric choice of music could only go over so well when matched with an equally eccentric group of personalities.
If taking on a project involving a talking raccoon with a walking tree for a companion wasn’t a big enough shot in the dark, Gunn took a leap of faith in choosing to run with the idea of backing the entire mad house with tracks like “Escape (The Pina Colada Song).”
Exactly how did Gunn go about choosing the old-school songs that has audiences raving?
“I started the process by reading the Billboard charts for all of the top hits of the '70s," Gunn explained in an interview with Vulture. “I downloaded a few hundred songs, and from that made an iTunes playlist of about 120 songs, which fit the movie tonally. I would listen to the playlist on my speakers around the house ... figuring out which would work the best."
Bless his creative soul, because the end result is not only a terribly catchy soundtrack, but the perfect tool to separate Guardians of the Galaxy from its other Marvel compatriots.
Image for thumbnail courtesy of Peter West/ACE/INFphoto.com