Hollywood Records/Marvel Music
One of the biggest movie hits of the year has been Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, and its exploits were accompanied by the Guardians Of The Galaxy (Original Score) from Tyler Bates, previously best known for the music from 300, and Watchmen.
If you’re familiar with Bates’ previous scores, you’ll be expecting his usual mix of listenable set-piece and mood music, and discordant noise. You won’t be disappointed here, unless you were hoping for something more thematic. Despite preparing some music before filming, so that it matches on-screen material very well, when that material is choreographed to it, there’s nothing in it as a listening experience that really says “Guardians of the Galaxy.” It’s also worth noting, considering that context, that the tracks on the OST album aren’t in film order, but in a listening order.
It’s not a bad score by any means, but is simply somewhat interchangeable with Bates’ other scores. That said, there’s some nice militaristic marches in tracks like The Final Battle Begins. Bizarrely, the one track claiming to be a proper leitmotif – Ronan’s Theme – isn’t, instead being one of the more discordant tracks. Oh well.
Verdict: Not as memorable as the score for 300, but on a par with the Watchmen one. It’s an entertaining, if somewhat ephemeral, listen. 7/10
That’s not the only soundtrack album out there for this movie, though. There’s also the Guardians Of The Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 1, which is actually a project in-universe. It’s not rare for films to have tie-in soundtrack albums made of songs “from and inspired by” the movie, or which are just bunged out to have a random compilation with a link to a current popular thing, but this is an exception that’s worthwhile
This is actually the tracks of the mixtape that the character of Quill keeps on his Walkman, reminding him of back home on Earth, and which are heard throughout the movie (mostly. Two of them are from cut scenes, and one from the trailer.). Thankfully Quill has great musical taste, with tracks from the 50s to the 80s – Bowie’s Moonage Daydream is a highlight. On the downside, this album is very short – only 44 minutes – which admittedly reflects the technology of the era of vinyl albums and cassettes. 7/10
Best of all, it has occurred to Hollywood Records to not just issue the two albums separately, but also in the form of Guardians Of The Galaxy Deluxe, which includes both discs (or folders, if you’re going the iTunes route), and it’s well worth getting this version, which is by far the better value, whatever you think of the balance of tracks, or the runtimes. 9/10
David A McIntee