The movies are brilliant because of the actors, director, writers and so on but the music chosen for these films were selected with such care and thought, that they deserve just as much celebration as every other element.
Here are five songs from the GOTG pictures that really set the scene, as it were…
Hooked on a Feeling – Blue Swede
This song, like many others in the movies, serves a contradictory yet entertaining purpose.
Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) had a rather angry outburst at a guard following the arrest of our ragtag group. The guard’s playing with Quill’s Walkman and Star Lord isn’t happy, claiming that Hooked on a Feeling ‘belongs to him’!
We hear the start of the song played rather low, more or less how Quill hears it when the guard plays it. When Quill is electrocuted for getting aggressive, the song kicks up a notch.
That then plays over the short compilation of scenes that show our Guardians being prepared for incarceration.
While this scene isn’t very long, it still shows the audience that while Quill no longer has access to ‘his song’, we still do, representing the loss of his usual control.
The upbeat and motivational song suits the scene unexpectedly well, given that the group is roughly introduced to life behind bars where the guards aren’t exactly thrilled to carry out their duties.
Fooled Around and Fell in Love – Elvin Bishop
Ever since Peter Quill set his eyes upon Gamora (Zoe Saldana), he was more or less infatuated. We all saw it coming, right?
But Gamora isn’t your typical damsel, who’ll simply let Quill charm her with a few sweet words. The soundtracks in both films serves as a narrative and shrouds the viewers in the moment in which the songs play.
This song, however, serves to enclose Quill and Gamora in a beautiful moment on Knowhere while they wait to see The Collector (Benicio del Toro) about the Orb that brought them together.
The song surrounds both characters in a truly tender moment. It also reveals how Quill is feeling, in a way. He has been with a few women and ‘fooled around’, but as he looks at Gamora amidst a galaxy of stars and colour, we can see that he may have indeed fallen in love, as the song suggests.
Unfortunately for Quill, he moment is cut short when Gamora threatens his life, as she does not want to be charmed by his “pelvic sorcery”, as she calls it. A hilarious moment.
O-o-h Child – The Five Stairsteps
In the final act of the first movie when the Guardians face off against Ronan (Lee Pace), the perfect song plays.
The light-hearted tune plays through Quill and Ronan’s discussion about the fate of the galaxy. The song mentions that things ‘will get brighter’, signifying that the group will make it out of this okay, and see better days afterwards.
You could perhaps go as far as to say that the melody of the whole band singing along with the lead singer is due to the fact that this group of misfits, who have seen themselves as individuals with their own purposes, now see themselves as a family.
The fact that such a positive song is playing in what seems to be a serious moment for the fate of the galaxy perfectly defines the character of Quill.
Comedy is Quill’s defence and just part of who he is. O-o-h Child helps showcase this in the perfect way, delivering a moment that sticks in the memory of all watching whilst promising a light at the end of the tunnel for the Guardians.
Mr Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra
Moving on to Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, this song plays a fight scene against a space monster which can be seen in the in the background – while the camera stays focused on baby Groot.
For about three minutes we get to watch the sweet sapling dance around to the track, attempt to eat a fly he chased (which Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper, makes him spit out mid-battle), and wave at Gamora while she is also in battle.
This song is magnificent on its own, but to add it to a movie with such heart and such love is a stroke of genius. The song includes a choir section towards its end, which matches the scene in brilliance alone.
There’s even a section towards the end of the song which matches the scene with perfection, both in its visual excellence and breath-taking aesthetic.
Of course, baby Groot and his oblivious enjoyment of this song while everybody else is getting thrown about and, in Drax’s (Dave Bautista) case, eaten, is exactly the kind of thing audiences fall in love with when watching these films.
Father and Son Cat Stevens
In a rare moment for these movies, this song does not serve to invoke laughter or joy, but instead serves to commentate over the death of a beloved character.
Yondu (Michael Rooker) sacrifices himself for Quill’s in the battle against Ego the Living Planet (Kurt Russell), or as he’s otherwise known, Quill’s father.
Yondu’s death is a tragic loss to Quill, despite them not having the best relationship in the past after Quill’s discovery that he was stolen from Earth as a child by Yondu himself.
It takes this moving moment for Quill to realise that Yondu has been his father figure all this time, teaching him everything he knows.
The song truly speaks volumes as one line says ‘I know, I have to go…’ relating to Yondu’s unfortunate departure. Narrating the moment, it speaks of who Yondu was and it is a truly beautiful and rarely serious scene.
While the song plays over the mourning Guardians, other characters show up to his funeral who knew and fought with Yondu. Fireworks are set off in space, which makes it more stunning, and everyone remembers Yondu a truly touching scene.
The songs of the Guardians franchise are nothing short of exceptional on their own, but when paired with such excellent aesthetics, actors and fantastic storytelling, they become a cog in the machine that has clearly been a true passion project for everyone involved.