I’m a big fan of incorporating songs into my novels, whether they’re playing in the background, referred to by name, or quoted by one of my characters. I’ve done this in my novels Breathers, Fated, and Big Egos. Music helps to set the mood of a scene and can add another dimension to a novel or short story.
When it comes to movies, I love a good soundtrack. The right song can resonate emotionally and leave a lasting impression, creating favorite movie soundtrack moments. Like Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” in the bus scene from Almost Famous. Or “Where Is My Mind?” by the Pixies at the end of Fight Club.
Sometimes the soundtrack not only helps to set the mood, but is essential to the film. Other times, it’s part of the plot.
In last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy (which was one of my most enjoyable movie-going experiences of 2014), the soundtrack is woven in via a mixed tape called Awesome Mix Vol. 1 that the main character (Chris Pratt) was given by his mother. After her death, he gets abducted by a spaceship and 26 years later, our hero appears on another planet still listening to that same mixed tape.
On 2014 Earth, the songs on the playlist, most of which were popular in the 1970s, might seem retro or dated or cheesy by those who don’t appreciate Elvin Bishop or The Five Stairsteps.
But placed in the context of another world filled with action and adventure and where the fate of the galaxy rests in the hands of a displaced kid from Earth who still uses a Walkman cassette player, songs like “Come and Get Your Love” and “Escape (the Pina Colada Song)” are sweet, comical, and mesh perfectly with the film and the characters. In a way, the soundtrack is like a character itself.
So, inspired by the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, I’ve compiled my own Awesome Mix Vol. 2 playlist, listed below in alphabetical order. I limited the playlist to twelve songs to match the number of songs in the original mix and also stuck with the 1970s era. (Full disclosure: I unabashedly listen to a number of the songs in this playlist on a regular basis.)
Awesome Mix Vol. 2
“Baby Come Back” by Player
“Boogie Shoes” by KC and the Sunshine Band
“Got to Give It Up, Pt. 1” by Marvin Gaye
“Hello It’s Me” by Todd Rundgren
“Ladies Night” by Kool & The Gang
“No Matter What” by Badfinger
“Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry
“September” by Earth, Wind, & Fire
“Shambala” by Three Dog Night
“Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder
“Sister Golden Hair” by America
“You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate
So what are some of your favorite soundtrack moments? And what are some of the songs you would put on your Awesome Mix playlist?