'Mr. Blue Sky' - Electric Light Orchestra
Gunn considers Electric Light Orchestra or ELO to be the Guardians' house band, so it's hardly surprising a song of theirs finds its way into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. As he explains to Rolling Stone, "it's the perfect song to start the movie because it's really joyous, but there's a really dark underpinning to it." The song itself comes in during the opening sequence (teased in the trailers) where the Guardians fight a giant trans-dimensional monster. The tune is integrated right into the story, with Rocket having rigged up speakers to allow Peter to listen to his music while they fight (regardless of whether or not anyone asked for this).
The fight begins before Rocket can complete his setup, but Baby Groot makes the final connection and ELO's 'Mr. Blue Sky' begins blaring. The opening credits start rolling and Baby Groot starts dancing, mimicking Peter's opening dance number from the first film, all the while the rest of the Guardians battle the alien creature in the background. Gunn calls it "the most hugely insane shot I've ever done."
Taking over from the longing of 'Brandi,' 'Mr. Blue Sky' is a jolt of energy. Paired with funny sequences between Groot and his teammates, it is a joyous opening, celebrating all we've come to love about the Guardians. But there is sense of foreboding to 'Mr. Blue Sky,' a sense that these good times don't last and eventually Mr. Blue Sky goes away, and in creeps Mr. Night.
'Lake Shore Drive' - Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah
'Lake Shore Drive' is certainly one of the deeper cuts on Awesome Mix Vol. 2, being more of a regional hit in Chicago and the surrounding area. For Gunn, it's one of the "catchiest songs ever written" and one he knew he'd have "a thousand places" where it could easily fit into the film. Where it ends up, however, is during a scene in which the Guardians return to the Milano -- the closest thing they have to a home.
It's a brief but important interlude, establishing the new dynamics among the team -- in particular, Peter and Gamora's "unspoken thing" and Rocket's increasingly combative nature. 'Lake Shore Drive' is a great fit for this sequence, reminiscing about a familiar stretch of road in Chicago as we, the audience, again familiarize ourselves with the Guardians.
'The Chain' - Fleetwood Mac
Besides 'Brandy (You're A Fine Girl),' there's no song as important to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as Fleetwood Mac's 'The Chain.' As Gunn explains, both songs are "deeply embedded into the fibers of the film." And where 'Brandi' is all about Meredith and Ego, 'The Chain' is about the Guardians themselves.
The oft-repeated lyric, "And if you don't love me now/You will never love me again," stands as an ultimatum, with one party pressuring the other that if they can't make their relationship work, if they can't repair the bond now, then it's over. In regards to the Guardians, their weird little family stands at a similar crossroads. 'The Chain' first plays when Peter, Gamora, and Drax leave with Ego, leaving Rocket (and Baby Groot and Nebula) behind to repair the ship, effectively splitting up the family. With the arrival of Peter's father, their unity as a team is threatened -- and it's already been stretched pretty thin recently, seeing as arguing over who's the better pilot, Peter or Rocket, is was led to them crashing the ship.
But the bonds that the Guardians have forged will not be so easily ripped apart. (These guys were able to channel the power of an Infinity Stone, remember?) "I can still hear you saying you would never break the chain," the song goes, and it isn't. When at their lowest, the whole team rallies. Peter is able to wrestle control away from his father and harness the Celestial light in order fight him, giving the other Guardians time to escape. It's as this moment 'The Chain' returns, swelling as Peter fights to protect his real family, re-affirming that their bond as a team has never been stronger.
Interestingly, 'The Chain' is also the only Fleetwood Mac song credited to every member of the band, making it just an all around perfect choice for the Guardians' family anthem. It was also the feature song for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's main trailer, (above).
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) release date: May 05, 2017