While much of the success of the Guardians of the Galaxy series is due to writer/director James Gunn’s unique vision, the Marvel brand, and the mix of stunning cosmic visuals with charismatic and funny characters, it’s one of the few blockbuster franchises that can claim its soundtrack as part of what makes it a hit. In both the first film and Vol. 2, Gunn was able to weave a number of iconic pop songs into the narrative, augmenting the action and emotions on screen with fun and familiar music that adds depth and meaning to what’s happening on screen.
The results of both Awesome Mix Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 have been unprecedented, with the soundtracks selling well digitally and in physical formats. There have even been reports of the Walkman that Peter Quill uses being highly sought after on eBay. Just as sure as there will be a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Gunn will be crafting a new Awesome Mix for the team’s next adventure. And with Peter’s Zune acquisition, the song selection for the new film can be widely expanded. No longer constrained by Meredith Quill’s musical tastes or the era in which the first two mixes were created, the unknown quantity of the songs also allows each of the Guardians to begin to explore their own muscal tastes with this new found library of MP3s. We won’t know what’s on the soundtrack for a few years, but we’ve got some suggestions.
Undertones – ‘Teenage Kicks’
Gunn has yet to really tap into the potent punk and new wave scenes of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, and the Undertones were the perfect bridge between the two. Mixing the energy and ferocity of punk with the more glam-y end of the burgeoning new wave scene, they helped to pioneer the pop punk sound decades before it would become popular. There’s no better example of their style than their debut single from 1978, ‘Teenage Kicks,’ which provides the perfect showcase for their ennui-infested take on love songs and Feargal Sharkey’s iconic vibrato.
A Tribe Called Quest – ‘Scenario’
With the addition of the Zune, Gunn is now free to creep into the ‘90s and beyond for his music choices. As such, rap is officially on the table in a big way. While the options are many, we think A Tribe Called Quest and their 1991 track with Leaders of the New School called ‘Scenario’ fits with Gunn’s sensibilities. Even better, we can already picture the adult Groot becoming an old school hip hop head. It’s hard to imagine a more perfect scene than Groot rapping the lyrics to ‘Scenario’ in Groot-speak while Rocket argues with him that he’s getting the words wrong.
A Flock of Seagulls – ‘The More You Live, the More You Love’
Now that the soundtrack to Guardians has creeped into the 80s, it only makes sense to explore the biggest genre of the decade. Whether you call it new wave or synth pop, the world entered into an exciting new period following the fallout of punk. Blending glam, arena rock, and punk, the sounds of the era fit perfectly with the aesthetic of the Guardians franchise. While a number of tracks could be used, ‘The More You Live, the More You Love’ resonates with Gunn’s taste thanks to the swelling guitars and synths and tale of love and loss. Though A Flock of Seagulls are best known for their 1982 hit ‘I Ran (So Far Away),’ their 1984 single proves how untapped their catalogue is in modern culture.