The story goes that composer Carter Burwell owes his fortuitous, ongoing collaboration with the filmmaking's Brothers Coen to one crucial requirement: he worked cheap. But the Coens' low-budget film noir debut, Blood Simple (which also launched the career of cinematographer-turned-director Barry Sonnenfeld), certainly got the best of the bargain, a wonderfully less-is-more score highlighted by a compelling solo piano theme. For the Coens' next film, Raising Arizona, a darkly goofy kidnapping-themed comic vehicle for Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter, Burwell veered bravely into the ozone, mixing heavily Gothic organ, soaring sopranos, bluegrass banjo, whistlers, synths, yodelers, and samples of what sounds like a tin can being kicked down the longest hill in the world into a delightfully heady farrago that recalls Morricone at his most mischievous.
This album was sort of tossed out by MCA without fanfare after Darkman was released to only minor success. It's another in the series of dramatic, heavily orchestrated scores Elfman is known for, orchestrated by Steve Bartek with an assist from conductor Shirley Walker. While comparisons have been made between this score and that for Batman, there are major differences – this score is brighter, often more obvious in its effects than Batman was, with a brassier overall tone that works well. There are also some delightfully demented moments – "Carnival From Hell" is fairground music tilted at an angle, the funhouse mirrors peeking through. For some people, the differences in tone and attitude won't be enough to make it worthwhile, and it's certainly true that there's some repetitiveness involved here – Elfman needs to break away for a while from fantasy/horror/science fiction/comic book scoring and develop his compositional abilities in other directions.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is the soundtrack album for the Marvel Studios film of the same name. Featuring the songs present on Peter Quill's mixtape in the film, the album was released by Hollywood Records on July 29, 2014. A separate film score album, Guardians of the Galaxy (Original Score), composed by Tyler Bates, was also released by Hollywood Records on the same date, along with a deluxe version featuring both albums. The soundtrack album reached number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, becoming the first soundtrack album in history consisting entirely of previously released songs to top the chart. The album topped the Billboard Top Soundtracks for 11 consecutive weeks and 16 weeks in total. As of January 2015, it has sold 1,003,000 copies in the United States, and has been certified Platinum by the RIAA. The album was the US's second best-selling soundtrack album of 2014, behind only the soundtrack to Frozen.