Summer 2014, mixtape

When it comes to the delicate art of the mixtape, context is everything. And in the context of us hurtling toward the end of summer (ok fine, there’s another month left, and a few big releases still on the calendar, but we’re getting nostalgic nonetheless) we thought we’d emulate Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) in this week’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” who has a cherished memento from Earth in the form of a cassette of classic songs, by putting together a mixtape of our own.

Of course, making a movie song mixtape (“tape,” incidentally, being a small rectangular plastic object containing sound recorded onto a magnetic strip that Grandma and Grandpa might tell you about) adds another layer to the process: should we feature only the movies we liked? Should we feature only the songs we liked from those movies? Thing is, great songs are often used in mediocre films, and mediocre/terrible songs are quite frequently used in great films, so we decided it was open season. And anyway, where would the fun be l;; nin stocking the selection with obscure score excerpts and subtle instrumental cues? (Look to our end-of year roundup of Best Scores and Soundtracks for that). Summer is the season of (mostly) disposable blockbusters, and deserves a mixtape of (mostly) disposable pop tracks to accompany it.

So we’ve gone for broke and simply chosen 20 songs, good, bad and appalling, that we feel sum up our summer at the movies. We're road-testing a thing whereby Spotify users can play along by letting the Summer 2014 at the Movies Playlist roll sight unseen, and see how many of the tracks you can pin to their correct summer releases.

Everyone else can simply click ahead for a whistle-stop tour through the highs and lows of Summer 2014’s soundtrack cuts in YouTube format.