Warning: Spoilers may follow.
“Hail (hail), what’s the matter with your head, yeah
Hail (hail), what’s the matter with your mind and your sign?
Hail (hail), nothin’s a matter with your head, baby, find it
Come on and find it
Hail, with it, baby, cause you’re fine and you’re mine
And you look so divine”
So begins the song that accompanies the opening credits of Guardians Of The Galaxy, Marvel’s latest addition to the ever-expanding girth of their cinematic universe. The song is “Come And Get Your Love” by Redbone. It is not a particularly popular song by any stretch of the imagination, but now I feel it will enter the collective memory of the world, in much the same way that “You Never Can Tell” is remembered for being the song Thurman and Travolta gyrated their hips to at Jack Rabbit Slims.
“Hail, with it, baby, cause you’re fine and you’re mine
And you look so divine”
I write this journal entry because for the past week and a half or so, I have had “Come And Get Your Love”, and the rest of the Guardians soundtrack, on repeat on iTunes. I am listening to it now, as a matter of fact. The album has become famous for topping the US Billboard charts, making it the first soundtrack album in history, composed solely of pre-released tracks, to hit number one. Now, it will become famous in my head for being a collection of 12 diamond-studded accompaniments.
The tracks were all released in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, and yet now, in the 21st Century, they are reborn through the persuasive power of cinema. David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream”, for example, came out of one of his most influential and memorable records (The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars), but it never reached stardom. It was a lesser known song. Just the other day a friend of mine was humming its tune. It sounded familiar to me, so I asked him what song it was. “It’s one of the songs from Guardians Of The Galaxy“, he replied. Guardians Of The Galaxy is 42 years younger than Ziggy Stardust.
I admit that I too am a culprit of this crime. Yes, I’ve known “Moonage Daydream” for a while now, ever since I picked up Ziggy Stardust, but there are a number of songs featured on this soundtrack that I had never heard of before, all of which have grown on me over the past week, and are now like the arms I cannot sever. Apart from “Come And Get Your Love”, another delightful track is “Spirit In The Sky” by Norman Greenbaum, used not in the movie itself but in its trailer. “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” follows some time after and signals the romance between the characters of Peter Quill and Gamora. It’s the movie’s love theme, you could say. It’s at this point too that Quill talks about Footloose and Kevin Bacon, and about sticking stuff up bums.
“Go All The Way” is the adventurous one, with its rock-heavy guitar riff and screeching vocals by Eric Carmen. But then it calms itself in the middle and remembers that it is a song of tremendous quality. Another throbbing addition is The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb”, a punk-infused smasher that plays while Gamora elucidates the Guardians’ plan to save the planet Xandar.
Watching Guardians a second time last night, I paid more attention to the songs and where they sat within the frames of the narrative. Some are featured more prominently than others, which is usually the case when a movie employs pre-released songs. It’s a massive relief, then, that Marvel released this soundtrack. Disappointment loomed heavy last year when Hans Zimmer refused to release his score for 12 Years A Slave, choosing instead to invite a murder of bands and performers to write songs inspired by the motion picture. He released that as an album and saved his musical compositions for the mantlepiece in his house. So crisis is diverted here, with Marvel making the logical, selfless, and lucrative, choice. This is the greatest of all movie soundtracks. Not the greatest of scores, mind you. There is a difference. The greatest movie score is a position held not by one, but by many, and many critics and film lovers will have heated debates over which ones they are. Soundtracks usually consist of unoriginal songs and/or songs written specifically for their films, with lyrics. So in that regard, this one, for Guardians Of The Galaxy, is the greatest. At least it is in my universe.