What’s on your “Awesome Mix Vol. 2?”
Without a doubt, one of the things that makes Guardians of the Galaxy so great is the prominent role that Peter Quill’s “Awesome Mix Vol. 1” mix tape plays in the film (spoiler-free mini review: GotG is a ton of fun. Possibly the best Marvel film yet and the best Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back. Highly recommend it.) I had a lot of fun the past couple of days (on a side note, I am easily entertained) imaging what is or should be on Vol. 2, so as is my habit I fired up Spotify and crafted a playlist to satisfy that curiosity. I actually ended up with enough songs to make several volumes, but cut it down to just 16 for this post. Here are the loose rules I followed:
- This is supposed to be a mix tape with a side A and B, so I picked the length of my old favorite Maxell cassette and limited it to 60 minutes, and each side has to come in under 30
- Peter gets the tape in 1984, so I tried to pick songs that were available at that time. I failed, but had good reasons to break those rules when i did
- Since there’s two beginnings and ends on a cassette, the first and last songs on each side have to be killer tracks. This is very important
- No worries about hipster cred here – the only requirement from a song standpoint is awesomeness
- Mix tapes are best constructed so that songs flow from one to another with a bit of cross fade (I prefer around 6 seconds) so a lot of thought needs to go into the flow and song selection. It’s not a matter of just picking 16 great songs. You need the correct pacing and sequencing, just like when a band makes a great album or set list. you don’t want to know how difficult it was to make a cassette tape do this properly back in the day, but it’s a few simple clicks in Spotify or iTunes these days
(Editor’s Note: I’m writing this post under protest because any tape called the “Awesome Mix” needs to have Lou Gramm’s Midnight Blue and that song is only available on Spotify in horribly cheesy karaoke format. That’s a massive fail on Spotify’s part. It doesn’t meet the timeline requirements but that does not matter. It’s inherent awesomeness is timeless.)
Ok, here’s what I came up with after much deliberation. Consider this your liner notes insert.
Let’s Get It On – Marvin Gaye
A serious heavy hitter right out of the gate. The very definition of capital “A” Awesome.
Teenage Kicks – The Undertones
The great DJ John Peel once famously rated this song 28 stars out of 5. He was not wrong. It’s two and half minutes of pop perfection.
Love Is All Around – The Troggs
It’s really hard to believe that the same guys who wrote “Wild Thing” wrote one of the prettiest pop songs ever.
Hey Ladies – The Beastie Boys
This is the first exception to the timeline, but it’s totally worth it to hear the transition from the previous song to this to the next track…
Lovin’, Touchin’ Squeezin’ – Journey
A powerhouse of a song to complete that transition trifecta.
The Killing Moon – Echo and the Bunnyman
This is the most epic pop song of the 80’s that’s not Ceremony by New Order. Released in Jan 1984 so it sneaks into the timeline just under the wire and gives a nice tonal shift.
She’s a Beauty – The Tubes
This one builds up nicely to pick the pace back up heading into the end of side A. I watched this video obsessively back in the Friday Night Videos/MTV glory days.
September Girls – Big Star
Closing out Side A with an all-timer.
Blinded By The Light – Bruce Springsteen
Rewarding you for getting up and flipping the tape with a dose of crazy rhyming dictionary Boss. His only #1 song to date, only it was the Manfred Man’s version that hit the top. The original crushes it like a grape.
Raspberry Beret – Prince
Our second timeline violation, since it didn’t come out until a year later, but I’d like to think that there was a demo floating around that made it onto the mix. Another one I chose just for the transition. Plus, it’s an awesome song. “Because awesome” is always a valid reason.
All Day and All of the Night – The Kinks
Again, love that transition from the previous track and contrast of styles.
I Want You To Want Me – Cheap Trick
After Midnight Blue, this was the first song that came to mind for the mix. So good.
Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys
I’ve loved this song since I was a wee lad. It’s so good I can even forgive them for Kokomo.
In a Big Country – Big Country
Another video that I remember watching obsessively back in the day. Remember them riding around on the ATVs sporting all of that flannel? On second thought most of you probably don’t.
ABC – Jackson 5
My favorite part of Vol. 1 was the J5, and they get an encore with another track on Vol. 2
I’ve Done Everything for You – Rick Springfield
You can try and deny the awesomeness of the Side B closing track, but you would be very, very wrong.
Here it is in handy playlist form.
So what did I miss? What would be on your Vol. 2?
UPDATE: So, I learned for about the 400th time that you can’t mention something comic/fantasy/scifi related without first checking every minute detail of what you are saying for accuracy, even if your unintentional misstatements do not impact your end game, which in this case was to make a playlist. First off, looks like he got the mix tape in 1988, not 1984, so Prince is safe, leaving only the BB to violate the timeline. Even though this extended my window by a few years, I don’t think I would have changed anything. Second, yes, we did here a song from Vol. 2, but I kinda ignored that since the premise was “What’s on your awesome mix…” I thought that was obvious enough but apparently that caused heartburn for certain Hobbit-like creatures. That would also explain why I took the liberty of expanding beyond Peter’s mom’s taste in music. Anyway, I hope these grievous errors did not impact your ability to enjoy something fun. – JLo