– by Brendan Hughes

Well, Avengers: Infinity War was bleak — for a spoiler-free description — but there were a few moments of levity. This came mostly from the Guardians of the Galaxy at the beginning of the film when the group was rocking out to “The Rubberband Man” by the Detroit Spinners.

The subject of what type of music would show up in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was put into question when Peter’s Walkman was “squished” at the end of Vol. 2. Peter’s vessel of tunes now comes from his Zune received from Yondu, which puts him into the 21st century of music–or at least technology. Does the music seen in Infinity War reflect the status quo or will Guardians Vol. 3 employ more modern music?

It is no surprise that the film continued to have the music stay within the era of the 70s, as that is the music Peter grew up on. In the deleted scene for Guardians Vol. 2, Kraglin was walking Quill through the newly-received Zune and revealed that it had the bands Traffic, Thin Lizzy, and “a lady named Alice Cooper.” With Infinity War revealing The Spinners also in this mix, the chances of having modern music within the film is limited. However, Thin Lizzy might be an indicator of Gunn wanting to go into a newer direction, as the band was most prominent in the early 80s. The most recent song in the Guardians’ repertoire is “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes in the first soundtrack was released September 1979.

One trend that can be seen in each soundtrack is how there has been a gradual progression to modern day. The first track predominantly centering around the early 70s having music such as Blue Swede’ “Hooked On A Feeling,” David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream,” and 10cc’s “I’m Not in Love.” The second soundtrack featured music from the late 70s with songs such as George Campbell’s “Southern Nights,” Silver’s “Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang,” and Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain.” All songs on the soundtrack were either used within the dialogue such as Looking Glass’s “Brandy” or used to enhance the moment of crucial parts of the film such as “The Chain” playing under Star-Lord and Ego’s fight.

With these soundtracks narrowing around a time window of usually four years between, with a few outliers, it is possible to track down where the soundtrack for Vol. 3 might focus on. “The Rubberband Man” was released in 1976 which, given the four-year window, will likely put the music into the early 80s. However, if “The Rubberband Man” is one of the outliers in the track, that will likely put the music centered in the 80s rather than continuing with the 70s and 60s theme. There has been a run on 80s nostalgia recently with the most recent example Ready Player One basically being a love letter to the decade. With the 80s having a big change in music over the previous decade, this will give the third installment a new feel.

The problem with this is that Peter’s Zune holds 300 songs on it–significantly more than his old Walkman. It is highly unlikely we will see more than 16 songs on the soundtrack since there has only been a two song increase for each release. It is still unclear if Peter loaded any of the music on the machine himself as it originally was Yondu’s. With there being 300 songs and the music being preloaded there remains a chance there might be some Nirvana thrown in as a quick gag.

One thing to expect in the new soundtrack is music Gunn was unable to fit into his previous films. This is due to Gunn wanting Glenn Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman” for the Knowhere scene but opted for David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream.” This also shown when Gunn had a montage geared around Electric Light Orchestra but ultimately scrapped it in post from the first film. However, these bands made an appearance in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with ELO even opening the film with Groot dancing to “Mr. Blue Sky” and “Southern Nights” being played while Rocket was kicking some serious Ravager butt. Gunn will look to insert a band he couldn’t fit into the first two films, with Three Dog Night being a very likely option.

The way Gunn crafts playlists is by having hundreds of songs which gets narrowed down to somewhere near 14 songs. For the second playlist Gunn had over 500 songs in contention but now about 200 are in contention. With this, it is shown that Gunn has a specific song range in mind which likely comes from songs he had in mind for previous films. As his tweet below mentions this playlist is not fixed and is in contention of adding more songs. Gunn has not made specific comments for the songs he is looking at, but it can be estimated it is in the funk, pop, or light rock realm. With the music range getting closer to the 80s shock rock and hair metal might be on the track as seen by the mention of Alice Cooper:

Where Gunn takes the music theme in the, likely, final Guardians of the Galaxy film is still to be seen, but Infinity War may have given an introduction on what to expect. “The Rubberband Man” by the Spinners is right within the wheelhouse of the 70s music which Gunn is a huge fan of. Peter’s Zune may bring the music near present-day music, but it will be a gradual progression rather than an instant switch. Gunn has a more concentrated soundtrack for his final film rather compared to his previous installments indicating the use of bands he wasn’t able to include yet in the franchise.

What songs do you think should be on the soundtrack for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

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