Various Artists

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"Various Artists"

These Songs Served As Soundtrack For A Marvel Movie. What Does Vol. 2 Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) say of the original albums?

So check it out – I am huge Sci Fi fan – more so than even a Marvel fan, and I have some dreams that I intend to turn into reality; where I commit my Hard Sci Fi and Space Opera material to the screen, or perhaps at the very least, I turn my ideas into a series of novels. But back to the screen; I have often felt that mixing some modern day music in a totally future setting would be so awesome, so long as it made sense, either thematically, or plot-wise. It looks like a Marvel film beat me to it though. The fantastic thing about the Guardians of the Galaxy series is that it manages to satisfy both of my requirements, as its soundtrack serves both thematic and plot functions. In the story, an Earthling’s mix tape travels with him to far off cosmic places – a reminder of home that just happened to be his only earthly possession after being abducted by the Ravagers. These tapes and their importance take on new, more diabolical meaning in the film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2., as the music itself thematically mirror specific scenes happening, or entire character arcs. The compilation itself is chock full of throwback music that would be popular in the year 1980 - the time when character Ego met and romanced Meredith Quill, protagonist Peter Quill’s mother. This music would become tied up in that legendary union which would have dire consequences for Peter Quill’s life. The songs, billed by some as one hit wonders of their day, are all singles that are solid works of art by today’s standards. Running the gamut of Power Pop, Soft Rock, Hard Rock, and even Funk courtesy of Parliament, and I have to say that the tracks here all Rock, irregardless of their categorization. With the genesis of this album’s concept out of the way, I would much prefer to treat each track as a special one, irregardless of whether or not there is a one hit wonder factor attached, because at the end of the day, the songs here are ridiculously good in their own way, and what is more, they are each attached to a real album that, dollars to donuts, are probably good albums that you need to know about. So let’s dispense with the fandom and the trivia of what song was playing in what pivotal scene during this Marvel franchise, and instead look at what is most important of all here – the actual music.

Written by @taylor
Mar 06, 2019

Turns Out 69 Is More Fun Than You’d Think In NOW That's What I Call Music, Vol. 69

Essentially mirroring the dialogue of my Narrative review for the most recent KIDZ BOP 39 compilation album, I’ve taken enough trips around the sun to have seen the inception of the now-iconic NOW That’s What I Call Music series within my lifetime, from its early days as the go-to music discovery tool for those who want to spice up their party playlists but don’t necessarily have the musical education to curate such hot-ticket items on their own to its inevitable place within the cultural lexicon as a shorthand for the most generic of mainstream music interests available. The major difference between the two properties though – aside from not relying on the underdeveloped talents of pre-teen performers – is that NOW That’s What I Call Music has virtually always gathered together the best that the radio-friendly popular music circuit has to offer, keeping its thumb pressed firmly on the pulse of mainstream culture & providing mixes that are tonally-balanced, universally-acclaimed by modern audiences & utterly devoid of duds within its track-list so long as that year’s respective genre trends weren’t complete trash; After all, just because a certain style was particularly popular on the radio doesn’t always mean it’s worth listening to on a regular basis – Yeah, I’m talkin’ about YOU Dubstep songs from the early-teens & Eurodance from the early-noughties. Though the UK-born compilation machine seemed to show no signs of stopping as it reached American shores in the late-nineties, eventually spinning into the massively-successful property it is today, the previously multiple-Platinum rated series started to hit a snag around 2009, with less than half of its subsequent releases hitting Gold-tier sales & everything from 2015-onward either sounding tonally-identical across each album – likely attributed to the overwhelming presence of Tropical Pop & Reggae Fusion at the time – or simply missing the hottest trends by months & even years at a time thanks to the ever-increasing speed at which the industry could move in a more heavily-connected internet era exemplified by low-cost music-streaming platforms like Spotify & YouTube; As such, the last thirty record releases in the series have failed to garner as much attention as their predecessors had, resulting in the NOW That’s What I Call Music name losing a lot of its flavour & audiences taking it about as seriously – read: not at all – as its younger sibling KIDS BOP, relegating it to an undeserved joke status moving forward – Thankfully, the music industry as a whole took some major leaps forward in 2018, with all manner of acts from Pop, Hip Hop, Rock, Country, Latin, Folk & even the essentially-defunct EDM scene pulling all the stops to push their brands out of the doldrums of banality towards a more resplendent age of creative expression, the most recent NOW That’s What I Call Music, Vol. 69 being a shining example of just how far we’ve come in the last year alone.

Mar 06, 2019

Guardians Of The Galaxy: Awesome Mix Volume 1 Singlehandedly Saved Retro Music

It goes without saying that as far as the Marvel Cinematic Universe is concerned, Guardians Of The Galaxy is the best movie of the franchise, not only taking a bold leap head-first into the incredibly difficult territory of cosmic-focused comic lore but doing so with such comedic perfection that audiences who had previously shown little interest in comic book movies suddenly switched their tune entirely, driven to consume every subsequent movie with ravenous lust from that point onward. Movies like Iron Man were undeniable hits & the logistical skill it took to bring our favourite heroes together in The Avengers was a feat unto itself, but Guardians took things in a completely new direction that proved you could make an accessible cinematic adventure with relatively obscure characters become an overnight success so long as your casting is on-point, your cinematography is solid & the story you’re telling is one that’s compelling & relatable to the average movie-goer – Of course, whether or not the film was going to be a smash hit didn’t actually come down to the star-power of the cast or the quirkiness of the story being told, rather it was the magnificent soundtrack & its utilization in marketing materials that cemented this picture’s greatness from day one, taking a sharp left-turn from the epic symphonic rigamarole we had grown accustomed to by presenting listeners & viewers with a brilliant curation of retro hits of Classic Rock excellence, taking a huge risk for the sake of style to produce what’s easily the best Original Motion Picture Soundtrack since the superb one which accompanied Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy all the way back in the year of our comedic lord, 2004. Suddenly, once-niche tunes from artists like Elvin Bishop & Rupert Holmes were household names, delighting younger audiences who’d grown up with over-processed Pop nonsense & showing that you can have a multi-million dollar blockbuster reach the top of the charts without relying on the expensive symphonic arrangements of well-known composers such as Hans Zimmer or Jerry Goldsmith; Not that we should be diminishing the value of their masterful talents, but the game changed immeasurably with the release of Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix, Vol. 1 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).

Mar 04, 2019

The Album May Be Called ‘The Greatest Showman’ But How Great Are The Musical Standards Of Today Compared To Greats Of The Past?

Full disclosure – I have not seen the movie The Greatest Showman, but this isn’t because I’m anti-musical or anything. When it comes to the music itself though, I go for classical songwriting more than these modern takes on musicals. My prime example would be one of my favorites on stage and on screen, the songs of “Into the Woods” by songwriter Stephen Sondheim. I truly don’t hear anything even close to that level of creativity and song to song variety on The Greatest Showman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), with the exception of two rather intriguing tracks – the classicism of “Tightrope” and the epic invention of “Come Alive.” Of the other music, including the supposedly biggest, most important main theme songs, I feel that while they are each high quality productions, they sound much more like motivational Pop songs than live action musical numbers. This is the world we live in, I understand, and little children who grew up on Katy Perry and Taylor Swift are teens now with ears set for this bombastic style sound and predictable note pattern Loren Allred pursues on “Never Enough” , but I feel that amidst all the cacophony and volume, the melodies used are highly unsophisticated. And to hell with the magic of the lyrics if the melody line is too predictable. Which I should also point out – the lyrics for most of these tracks are extremely cliched – hardly any different from regular Pop lyricism, and more often than not, the text comes off as run of the mill positive reinforcement mantras rather than poetic or storied content. The tracks are appropriately exciting enough to exist inside a big top circus, but unfortunately, this music is not memorable at all in the way that all great musicals are designed to be. For me, this album is far from the greatest.

Written by @taylor
Feb 28, 2019

Seven Years Later, Just What Is The Mainstream Obsession With Frozen’s Soundtrack?

For all the great lengths I go to present myself as a card-carrying member of the Punk & Metal communities, my musical interests typically favouring anything that’s fast, abrasive & melodically-experimental in comparison to the generic material you’d find on the radio, I’d be lying through my teeth if I didn’t admit I absolutely love everything about theatre music & showtunes. Aside from a lengthy career as a bassist & keyboardist in various Punk, Hardcore, Tech Metal, Electronica & Garage Rock bands, I’m also classically trained in brass instruments like the trumpet & euphonium, spending an even larger portion of my life playing Symphonic, Blues, Jazz & March music throughout my pre-college schooling & even a bit afterward, so it’s only natural that my interests would cross over with the Drama & Theatre-kid crowds from time to time seeing as our worlds were so overwhelmingly intertwined. I spent the majority of my youth cherishing popular stage productions such as The Phantom Of The Opera, Grease, Rent & Chicago in addition to having a fairly average obsession with the whole of Disney’s musical library just as I’m sure you & everyone you know did when growing up; This is to say, I’m fairly confident my analysis of what makes an effective musical production is on-point, both in a technical understanding & an appreciation for the craft itself – I mean, hell, I can distinctly remember my older brother razzing me back in 2013 for my embarrassingly supportive glee watching NBC’s musical television series Smash as a 24-year old adult, drawn to the show for its compelling demonstration of behind-the-scenes theatre life & astonishingly high-caliber sound-design when it came to the actual musical numbers; The fact that I also happened to havean insatiable crush on the magnificent Katharine McPhee was merely a coincidence – With such a passion for the arts & a soft-spot for musical theatre, you can probably imagine my befuddlement when I discovered I had no interest in seeing Frozen whatsoever when it was initially released, frankly finding it to be an annoyingly-rudimentary musical unworthy of my time or money, an opinion soon to be exacerbated by how intensely it was praised by mainstream audiences in the subsequent years, so much so that you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing someone humming “Let It Go” off-key in the background for nearly a year! Well, time has passed & I’ve finally decided to check out Frozen (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) in full to see if maybe I was just missing something in my elitist disdain, blinded by my love for the productions of yesteryear.

Feb 27, 2019

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