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"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" soundtrack full of poppy, classic earworms

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ALBUM REVIEW: Various Artists: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 soundtrack (Hollywood Records / Marvel) 2017

Many years ago, a friend of mine, who has since passed, made me a really solid mixtape. As I recall, it had everything from They Might Be Giants to Bruce Cockburn to XTC. The guy could really make a great mixtape. I learned about some really cool songs and great bands and artists because of him.

But then I made some pretty stellar mix tapes of my own over the years, at least up until 2005, when cassette tapes and videotapes seemed to vanish off the shelves. Their time had passed, too, it seemed.

Mixtapes are very personal, as anyone who has liked someone, or wanted to impress someone, certainly understands.

So, when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 came out this spring and became a big hit, what was particularly interesting was how the accompanying soundtrack, so key to the film, was equally popular.

I will admit to not knowing much about the Guardians of the Galaxy or what the films are about (I’ve seen most of the second film …) but the music on this 14-track collection really grabbed me. Not because of the classic-rock, primarily 1970’s-era songs, but how it oddly flows together, like my thematic mixtapes used to all those years ago.

A little background … the mixtape here is a collection of songs – called “Awesome Mix Vol. 2” that belonged to Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) mom, Meredith, back on Earth. In our reality, the songs were lovingly put together by director James Gunn, who had hit gold with the earlier the original Guardians of the Galaxy collection featuring everything from David Bowie's "Moonage Daydream" to Rupert Holmes' "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)."

OUT OF THE BLUE

So, starting off with Electric Light Orchestra’s 1978 single “Mr. Blue Sky,” this effervescent and Beatleseque Jeff Lynne number was, ironically enough, played as a wake-up call for Atlantis astronaut Christopher Ferguson during that Space Shuttle’s final mission in 2011, giving it that space opera sync quality that works well.

Sweet’s Top 10 glam-rock hit from 1975, “Fox On the Run,” is about rock groupies, yes, but has a lasting quality, with the song being a number one tune on the iTunes rock chart in late 2016.

From here we get “Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah’s 1971 number “Lake Shore Drive,” followed by Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain,” which is a decent choice, but not the one I would have included, had I any say in the matter (which I obviously didn’t).

Now considered a pop standard, “Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home To Me,” released as the B-side to Cooke’s 1962 hit “Having a Party,” is sweet and soulful, while Glen Campbell’s 1977 cover of Allen Toussaint’s “Southern Nights” has a bittersweet quality, in light of Campbell’s death one month ago.

But my favorite track included in this Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 soundtrack is George Harrison’s Krishnacore 1970 hit “My Sweet Lord,” which plays during the film when Peter’s alien father, Ego (Kurt Russell), brings him to his beautiful, heavenly-like planet that looks like something out of an ancient Hindu text. I know the former Beatle (whose fellow Traveling Wilbury, Jeff Lynne, helps enhance this bubbly soundtrack) would be pleased.

And then there is “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” by Looking Glass, a hit in the summer of ’72, which is used to great effect when Ego and Meredith first get together in 1980 Missouri.

One song Meredith (from Missouri) included on her mixtape, now enjoyed by her son and his companions, is a Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart song (along with Wes Farrell) written for Jay & The Americans in 1964 – the South-of-the-Border number “Come a Little Bit Closer.” Yes, it’s cheesy but somehow it works here. (BTW, Jay & The Americans actually recorded a Spanish version of the song, the way the Beatles would do German versions of songs like “She Loves You”).

By track 10, the one-hit-wonder band Silver (with Brent Mydland on keyboards, later of the Grateful Dead) offer us the mindless, mid-70’s pop confectionary of “Wham Bam (Shang-a-Lang).” It’s from here that the song selections start to get patchy, at least for me, with Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son,” Parliament’s “Flash Light,” Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” and “Guardians Inferno” by The Sneepers featuring David Hasselhoff.

So, if you want a solid soundtrack for a road trip, or your next outdoor party, the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a good place to start.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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