As tradition would have it, director James Gunn released an all-new mixtape across digital streaming platforms marking the Nov. 25 premiere of “The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special” on Disney+.
Set to an assortment of Christmas tunes hand-selected by Gunn, the holiday special follows Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Drax (Dave Bautista) on a quest to kidnap actor Kevin Bacon from Earth and bring him back to Peter (Chris Pratt) as a Christmas gift.
The corresponding playlist — titled “Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Awesome Mix” — consists of 11 tracks, which are a mixture of needle drops and original songs used in the one-off. Gunn enlisted the help of Rhett Miller, frontman of the Old 97’s, to write the special’s comedic opening number, “I Don’t Know What Christmas Is (But Christmastime Is Here).”
“When I wrote a song for the #GotGHolidaySpecial I asked my pal @rhettmiller to write with me & then said, ‘What the heck, why don’t you and the @Old97s play the band?!’ Some of the most fun days on set ever,” Gunn captioned a Nov. 23 Instagram post.
Clad head-to-toe in prosthetics and futuristic outfits, the Old 97’s were transformed into the alien rock band Bzermikitokolok and the Knowheremen for the production, singing lyrics like “Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho! / Earthlings are so weird!” The group makes a final on-stage reprisal at the conclusion of the special to sing their 2018 song, “Here It Is Christmastime,” but with Bacon taking on the lead vocals.
But the award for most effective use of a holiday song in the 45-minute picture goes to “I Want an Alien For Christmas” by Fountains of Wayne, which fittingly plays as Drax and Mantis chase Bacon through his Hollywood home in the throes of their kidnapping pursuit.
A close second is “Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses, an upbeat horn-driven track that plays as Mantis and Drax experience going to a bar on Earth for the first time.
The Smashing Pumpkins, Low and the Wombats are among other artists hand-picked by Gunn for the original soundtrack. Hollywood Records also released a 74-track version of the mixtape, which includes cues from the score and additional needle drops from past films in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise.
Below is a full list of the tracks included in the “Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Awesome Mix.”
- “I Don’t Know What Christmas Is (But Christmastime is Here)” — Old 97’s
- “Dead by X-Mas” — Hanoi Rocks
- “Christmas Treat” — Julian Casablancas
- “Mrs. Claus” — Little Jackie
- “Just Like Christmas” — Low
- “Christmastime” — The Smashing Pumpkins
- “Fairytale of New York” — The Pogues, Kirsty MacColl
- “Christmas Wrapping” — The Waitresses
- “Is This Christmas?” — The Wombats
- “I Want an Alien for Christmas” — Fountains of Wayne
- “Here It Is Christmas Time” — Kevin Bacon, Old 97’s