Soundtrack review: Guardians of the Galaxy ‘Awesome Mix Vol. 2’ brings more intergalactic groove

The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie was a colorful, quirky, and hilarious shot of adrenaline to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the film owes part of its success to its soundtrack full of fun retro tunes, called, appropriately enough, the “Awesome Mix.” The film kicked things off with “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone, and also included favorites like “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.

So of course, the soundtrack for the sequel — the “Awesome Mix Vol. 2” — was one of the most anticipated parts of the second movie. How did it measure up to the hype?

Although I love listening to music, I’m definitely more of a movie buff than a music buff, so I actually encountered many of the tunes from the “Awesome Mix Vol. 1” for the first time while watching the 2014 Guardians film. The soundtracks for the Guardians movies really are just as much a character as Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot, and the rest of the gang, so I thought it would be fun to dive a little deeper into Vol. 2 after posting my initial review of the movie.

On the whole, the “Awesome Mix Vol. 2” is a lot of fun; I’ve been listening to it as I drive to work in the mornings, and it always puts a smile on my face as I start my day. However, it is fair to say that it doesn’t feel quite as cool as the “Awesome Mix Vol. 1.” Maybe that’s because the first soundtrack was such a surprise. These retro tunes may have seemed like an unusual soundtrack for a Marvel movie set in space, but they worked perfectly. They never sounded like a gimmick, due to the emotional revelation that all the songs came from a cassette tape that Peter Quill’s mother gave to him before her death.

Only now, we are expecting the retro soundtrack, so it doesn’t feel quite as fresh, even though many of the songs are used well and don’t feel forced (unlike the soundtrack to “Suicide Squad”). It’s also perhaps not as upbeat as Vol. 1, which is perhaps because the second movie has more somber moments.

Here’s a list of all the tracks on the album:

1. “Mr. Blue Sky” – Electric Light Orchestra
This is one of the main standout songs in Vol. 2. It starts off the film and provides music for Baby Groot to dance to. It’s a fun, upbeat song that always makes me want to start dancing too whenever I listen to it.

2. “Fox on the Run” – Sweet
“Fox on the Run” by Sweet was used for a trailer and is included on the soundtrack, although it wasn’t in the final film. Which is a shame, because this is one of my favorite tracks from the album and I think it really captures the Guardians outlaw spirit.

3. “Lake Shore Drive” – Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah
I don’t actually remember what scene this song was playing in, even though I’ve seen the movie twice. So maybe that means it didn’t have the strongest placement? But I do enjoy listening to it whenever the CD cycles around to this song!

4. “The Chain” – Fleetwood Mac
The Guardians spirit is also captured by “The Chain,” which is one of the best-placed songs in the film. The lyrics “you’ll never break the chain” symbolize the strong bond between the surrogate family members in the Guardians team, even though their relationship is pretty dysfunctional.

5. “Bring It On Home to Me” – Sam Cooke
Nothing wrong with this track, which underscores a quieter moment between Peter and Gamora. However, I preferred their similar moment in the first movie, which is soundtracked to “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” by Elvin Bishop.

6. “Southern Nights” – Glen Campbell
I was a fan of this song before but never thought I’d hear it as the soundtrack to a Home Alone-esque action sequence in a sci-fi comedy. 😉 I thought this was a great, unexpected use of this song.

7. “My Sweet Lord” – George Harrison
This song works really well as Peter and the gang first arrive at Ego’s planet, a psychedelic, colorful world that appears to be full of magic and wonder…at least at first.

8. “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” – Looking Glass
Not my favorite track on the album, but it’s used really well in the film to reveal some key points about Ego, Peter’s father.

9. “Come a Little Bit Closer” – Jay and the Americans
This one falls in the middle of my ranking of the Vol. 2 songs, though I also thought it was used really well thematically as Yondu and Rocket break out of captivity.

10. “Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang” – Silver
Wasn’t as much a fan of this track or its placement in the film.

11. “Surrender” – Cheap Trick
Not as much a fan of this one either, though it’s more of a personal preference.

12. “Father and Son” – Cat Stevens
One of the quieter songs on the soundtrack, it also highlights the theme of family, as well as the film’s most emotional moment, where Peter recognizes who his real father figure is.

13. “Flash Light” – Parliament
This is another favorite track of mine, which ends the credits on a funky note.

14. “Guardians Inferno” – The Sneepers featuring David Hasselhoff
This disco remix of the Guardians theme is probably going to be the most polarizing song on the album. I actually rather like it (it reminds me of the lovably cheesy Star Wars disco remix), although I wasn’t as much a fan of the David Hasselhoff voice-over.

All in all, this soundtrack is worth a purchase for Guardians of the Galaxy and music fans. I’m excited to see what tracks Peter Quill will find on his “Zune” for Vol. 3. 😉 Ah, remember the Zune?

What were your favorite and least favorite tracks from the “Awesome Mix Vol. 2”?

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