Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The soundtrack to the first Guardians of the Galaxy was loaded with classic jams and deep cuts. They were unusual choices for a superhero flick, but they were well-matched with their respective scenes and became one of the many reasons why Guardians was such a unique addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Awesome Mix Vol. 1 was the emotional backbone to Guardians of the Galaxy, highlighting not only the Guardians coming together as a team but Peter Quill/Star-Lord’s ties to his home planet — specifically, his late mother. Meredith Quill carefully chose each song on her Awesome Mix to share them with her son, and Peter treasures those songs, at one point even claiming they belong to him. At the end of the film, Peter discovers Awesome Mix Vol. 2 — yet another gift from his mother, allowing her to remain a presence in his life even though she’s gone and he’s light years from home.
Meredith’s musical influence is again essential to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, with her favorite tracks not just accompanying the film but at times propelling it. In an interview with Rolling Stone, writer/director James Gunn (the one who’s actually picking the tracks for these awesome mixes) describes Meredith’s musical taste:
“She’s a music lover, but she’s completely not elitist. If it’s something that’s thought of as goofy and pop, she likes it. If it’s cool or funk, she likes it. She just likes hooks and melodies. She’s a very quirky, young girl who fell in love with, you know, as it ends up, an alien. And falling in love with an alien is right up there in Meredith Quill’s alley. She’s an oddball, like her son.”
The songs on Awesome Mix Vol. 2 do run the gambit, from the George Harrison classic “My Sweet Lord” to the band, Silver’s one and only hit, “Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang.” But they just about all share meaning with something in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Some more than others, but whether it’s in their lyrics or a great riff, there’s a reason the song lands where it does in the film.
Here is The Meaning Behind Every Song on Awesome Mix Vol. 2 (from first appearance to last).
‘Fox on the Run’ – Sweet
Like ‘Spirit in the Sky’ from Awesome Mix Vol. 1, Sweet’s ‘Fox on the Run’ doesn’t actually appear in the film (which is why we’re knocking it out first). It did, however, play over the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and it perfectly matches the frenetic energy of the action on display. And in a way, the Guardians are on the “on the run” in the film, with Rocket having stolen some extremely valuable batteries from the Sovereign race, who then relentlessly pursue them for most of the movie.
‘Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)’ – Looking Glass
From a song with barely any firm connection with what’s happening in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, to one that is absolutely crucial to the plot. Looking Glass’ ‘Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)’ plays over the very opening scene — a flashback to 1980 where it’s first heard playing on the radio in the car that Peter’s soon-to-be-father, Ego, is driving, and then later taking over as the soundtrack follows Ego and Meredith into the woods where he shows her a strange alien plant he’s transplanted to Earth. The song, as it turns out, is key to Ego and Meredith’s story, outlining right there at the start the sad truth of their love affair.
“There’s a girl in this harbor town,” the lyrics go, and in this scenario the “girl” is obviously Meredith. Earth is the harbor town and Ego “the man that Brandy loves.” He is also a “sailor from the sea“, or more accurately an alien visitor from outer space. And just like the sailor who thinks Brandy is a “fine girl”, but won’t make her his “good wife” because he feels “my life, my lover, my lady is the sea,” Ego is more committed to completing his expansion than remaining with Meredith. Ego eventually leaves Earth for good, never to return, and so, like Brandy, Meredith “loves a man who’s not around“. (She also, all the more tragically, loves a man who gave her a deadly brain tumor because he loved her too much, so yeah).
‘Brandi (You’re a Fine Girl)’ is a sweet, but mournful song, and for Gunn it’s a song he’s always “sort of sadly, tragically related to,” which is also why the song is so dear to Meredith. It appears a few times throughout Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but always in scenes centered on Meredith and Ego’s relationship, hinting at the ugliness hidden there.