Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Composed By:  Tyler Bates

Distributed by: Marvel Music and Hollywood Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) find themselves traveling the outer reaches of the galaxy, fighting to keep their newfound family together as they try to figure out the mystery of Peter Quill’s origins. 

                In April 2017, Marvel Music and Hollywood Records released digital and CD versions of two albums to celebrate the movie.  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Awesome Mix Vol. 2 features fourteen songs by various artists. The second album, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 features original score by American composer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Tyler Bates.  With a music enthusiast mother, Bates was exposed to music early, combing the aisles of the record stores together every Tuesday (new music release day).  By high school, he was performing with bands outside of Chicago.  He began his foray into film scoring in the early 1990s and has worked on such notable projects as Get Carter, Dawn of the Dead, The Devil's Rejects, Slither, See No Evil, 300, Doomsday, both John Wick films and the original Guardians of the Galaxy.  Television and video game credits include Hysteria, Kingdom, The Punisher, God of War: Ascension, Rise of the Argonauts, Watchmen: The End is Nigh and more.

                According to the film’s director, James Gunn, “The one thing that is underappreciated is how important Tyler Bates’ score is to the first film…We still use the score from the first movie while shooting this film and it doesn’t get the respect it deserves because it gets so overshadowed by the soundtrack. There’s some beautiful score on that first soundtrack, and I know that the music we’ve written for the second film is even better than what we did for the first film. Tyler Bates has absolutely outdone himself, and we’re giving something very special to people with the music in this film, both the pop songs and the actual score.”

                The score for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 features the same heroic and space-driven style of the original film, but there are some varying nuances to this new film’s score.  Action sequences contain a great deal of brass/horn fanfare and are fast-paced with a choir sometimes chanting and sometimes singing notes.  The first action sequence is reminiscent of those old Bugs Bunny action scenes which mimic the opera notes of Carmen, only at a faster pace, suggesting drama and humor.  Softer moments in the film - more dramatic sequences in which Peter deals with his past and the appearance of his father – contain strings and quieter tones to express the emotions of the scenes.

                Though there are some quiet moments in the score like The Mantis Touch, I Know Who You Are, A Total Hasselhoff and Sisters, there are even more exciting action sequences like the slow-starting, but awesome Showtime A-Holes, Space Chase, Mammalian Bodies, Two Time Galaxy Savers, Kraglin and Drax and more.  I loved listening to this fun score which has given me even more incentive to see the film.  My only wish is that the two albums had been released together in one package, so the fans could get the best of both worlds – the songs and the score – without having to buy two separate albums.  As the director said, the score often gets ignored and my worry is that most people will focus on the Awesome Mix Tape of the film, rather than purchasing the stellar score created by Tyler Bates.  Combining the two in one two-disc album seems a better marketing ploy to me.


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