Hooked on “Awesome Mix Vol. 1”: Why the “Guardians of the Galaxy” Soundtrack Resonates


They have come to bring us Blue Swede.

Thirty-five years ago, Americans believed a man could fly. Today, they believe a talking raccoon and an anthropomorphic tree can save the universe, and they can accomplish this while listening to songs that ruled the airwaves when Superman was in production.

Guardians of the Galaxy has already become one of 2014’s biggest blockbusters despite being based on Marvel characters almost no one was familiar with except hardcore comics fans. (FYI, a combination of terrific actors, a few stirring emotional moments, and a brilliantly funny script go a long way.) In my opinion, what is even more unexpected than the film’s success is that of its soundtrack. Awesome Mix Vol. 1, the mixtape Peter Quill/Star-Lord constantly listens to as he flies through space, is now in its second week at number one on the Billboard charts. It’s worth exploring both why this success is unusual and why this soundtrack in particular has struck such a chord with people.

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Musical String Theory: Richard Thompson in Millennium Park (With Further Downtown Sounds)

The Downtown Sound series on Monday evenings in Millennium Park gives lovers of rock music the chance to hear some of the newest and most innovative sounds, with an old-school veteran or two thrown in for good measure. I have already been privileged to be there for when She & Him and Iron & Wine played outstanding shows, but this past week saw me experience what may have been the best performance to take place there in five years of concert going: Richard Thompson.

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A Great Day For Pop Culture

This article is short but very sweet. Andrew and Jill

I’ve known Jill Pantozzi (her name is her twitter handle) since 2011, and she is one of those people who fill your spirit with delight every time you see them. Jill has spent her life writing about pop culture, mostly comics and sci-fi/fantasy media, for a variety of websites, and in everything she does, she brings the analytical insight of an expert and the passion of someone who loves even the most infinitesimal minutiae (yes, minutiae THAT small) of her chosen subjects. And she does it all from a motor scooter due to her muscular dystrophy. Every single time I read about the continuing misogyny against and harassment of female comics and genre fans (and you all know my reaction), I think of Jill. She is living proof of what idiots they are.

For the past two years, Jill has been Associate Editor of The Mary SueA Guide to Girl Geek Culture, a fantastic news site concentrating on genre entertainment from a feminist perspective. It’s one of the best and most readable sights on the web. And today it merges with Geekosystem: Your Geek Guide to Internet and Tech Culture, into one giant website covering every topic the two covered separately. And Jill will be Managing Editor of this new edition of The Mary Sue. I cannot fully express what a great decision this is: the result will be a source for everything important happening in the “nerd” culture that is informative, inclusive, and handled with the best of care…and, I believe, a force to help transform the culture in the ways people like we at the Addison Recorder long to see it transform, in a way that leaves prejudices and threats behind and embraces the viewpoints of all fandoms. And so I wish Jill Pantozzi and The Mary Sue nothing but the very best as this begins, and urge anyone who loves space, monsters, fairy tales, technological advancement, steampunk, and gender equality to make it a regular part of your online day.

Or the results won’t be pretty.

Are There Any Faults?: “The Fault In Our Stars” From Book to Film

This article by nature contains spoilers. Okay? Okay.

Because money is not everything, I am not going to dwell excessively on how Josh Boone’s film version of The Fault in Our Stars, made on a $12 million budget, raced past two productions that cost $180 million each to become the number one movie in the United States of America (Well, I’ll dwell on it for a second: HOLY CRAP!) and focus on a question that really matters. This question stems from something we know all too well: many beloved stories get completely messed up in the translation from page to screen, and nobody wanted this to happen with Fault. This is a novel that has the Addison Recorder seal of approval (patent pending). Over half of us read it, loved it, and cried over it, and we’re not alone, for few books have inspired such a rapturous fan base who were waiting for this film with the same intensity as others wait for Fallout 3. A fan base that hoped this anticipation would be justified. So those who have laughed and wept over Hazel and Augustus need to know: was the movie good? Or great? Or at least not a disaster?

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A World of Hardcore Lady Types: Janelle Asselin and Lumberjanes

It’s an odd but fortunate state for us here at the Recorder when we discover something we think is important to write about, only to find that in the time between getting the article idea and writing the article that its importance has grown.

A lesson I’ve learned in my four years in the comics world is that there is a multitude of people whose names never appear in large print on the covers of monthlies or graphic novels, but who command respect and are universally loved, people who have thousands of Twitter followers and hold court at hotel bars and after-parties at every convention. Two years ago in New York, I was very humbled to have what so far has been my only meeting with one of these people, Janelle Asselin (@gimpnelly).

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Kristen Bell and the Future of Hollywood

As our readers know from our extensive Oscars coverage, we love movies. We want to see the film industry thrive and grow and remain a vital art form into the next century, especially when such thriving and growth gives us pictures such as 12 Years a Slave and Gravity. But increasingly Hollywood seems to be operating on an uncomfortable formula. To wit, big-budget high-concept action spectacles with aliens, superheroes, and other visual wonders get released from May to August, the end of the year gives us Oscar contenders made with a bit more intelligence, such as those films mentioned above, and the rest of the time, middling movies, bad movies, movies targeted to ultra-specific demographics, and movies the studios just don’t know what to do with get shot out of the cannon in hopes of clicking. What I dislike about this pattern is that it can obscure some of the possibilities there are for innovation in the Hollywood system. The giant movies can have as much depth and intelligence as Oscar bait, the smaller movies don’t have to be works of high art to be really good, and there are a lot of potentially great films to be made that the powers that be in Los Angeles are wary of taking a chance on, but which audiences would really love to see. To illustrate these possibilities, I examined the canon of an actress who is increasingly becoming a household name.

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The Live Oscars Blog

It’s a quiet night at one of the Addison Recorder headquarters, Alex and Becky’s home, but a tempest so mighty not even Russell Crowe and some CGI ark-building-action could withstand it is potentially brewing. And oh the eruption if American Hustle wins awards. There will be paroxysms of annoyance, laughter, and clever insults during the musical performances and the more groan-worthy moments, but how much hellish inferno and celebration there shall be is still to be determined. And my job, as one of the resident cinematic experts, is to both put all of this into perspective and document the reactions here.

We’ve seen seven Best Picture nominees and two other probable big winners, Frozen and The Great Beauty, and we’ve written a great deal already. We thank you for paying attention to all our opinions, and your indulgence as we express our final opinions as it’s too late to do any darn thing about it. Not that anyone was paying attention to us, although who knows…maybe somehow along the way, these links turned up on the Facebook page or inbox or Google search of the Academy voters and they thought, “Hey, Alex and Andrew and Karen and Travis really know what they’re talking about, I didn’t think about this movie that way, I should vote for it/him/her!”

Though probably not. YET. We can still dream.

And here is the required-by-law picture of Jennifer Lawrence.

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