Captain Marvel Has the Bangin’ 90’s Soundtrack We All Deserve
No matter how you feel about Captain Marvel, (I personally liked it very much, thank you!) you have to respect its soundtrack. As a child of the 80’s and an adolescent of the 90’s, this took some of the best of my high school years and put it up on screen beside a character from some of my favorite comics of the same time. Of course, she had a slightly different costume then. . .
But it was the 90’s! Everything was a little weird. Back then everyone wanted Jennifer Aniston’s haircut from Friends for some reason, acceptable fashion included overalls or flannel, we played with pogs, Pokemon, connecting to the internet made a weird noise, and we impeached presidents for basically nothing!
Times have changed, but that soundtrack from Captain Marvel lives on. This is a mixtape Meredith Quill would be proud of. It’s a mixtape I would’ve listened to. And hearing from some of our other Graphic Policy writers, people are really into it. For instance:
Can I just say how glad I am that there’s a movie that acknowledges that women love rock music? It seems like the discourse has floated so far to the “all those years I was just pretending to like rock to keep my boyfriend from complaining but now I’m free and just want to listen to Taylor Swift” type narrative. I’m sure that’s true for a lot of women and I’m happy they can feel free to embrace their love of dreck now. But a lot of us just genuinely love rock music. I liked seeing that on screen.— elana brooklyn
AGREED. 100%. This soundtrack is grounded in great 90’s rock and alternative, but it’s also got this great energy that comes into it from the inclusion of some soulful r&b. But Carol Danvers is a rocker. And despite maybe a few of the songs being a bit on the nose, it’s overall incredibly enjoyable.
But, because we just can’t get enough here, scroll to the bottom to find a Spotify playlist where I’m also adding my own list of 90’s songs “fit” with Captain Marvel (sort of, at least in my logic) as well as a special list of songs from other 90’s soundtracks that belong on this soundtrack because omg it’s meta-inception.
But beware, dear reader, I warn you that reading this article may spoil some of the best surprises of the film. It’s not that the songs themselves are spoilers in any way, but that how they get used and their reveal in the film is so beautiful, you may want to go into your first viewing not knowing. In searching for songs they may have used in the soundtrack, there was only one that I found confirmed on a website, but I almost wish I hadn’t known because the reveal was so good. But, if you want to read further, here’s your giant [SPOILER ALERT!!!]
I’ll do these in the order they appear in the film:
Heart – Crazy On You
Technically not a 90’s song, but when they flash back to Carol Danvers’ past, there is literally no better song than an anthem like this from the First Ladies of Rock, Ann and Nancy Wilson.
Lita Ford – Kiss Me Deadly
Here’s another unconventional choice (and another holdover from 80’s hair metal), but given the context (a brief flash of karaoke) this totally makes sense. Uh huh, it ain’t no big thing. But I know what I like. . .
Salt N Pepa ft. En Vogue – Whatta Man
While Deadpool got to “Shoop” first, this is the real deal. I wasn’t even really into rap or r&b in the early 90’s, but I still loved this song. Still do. Whatta song. Whatta video. Whatta collaboration.
Elastica – Connection
Confession time: from the moment this song ended up in a trailer, I was 99% sold on Captain Marvel as a 90’s period piece, even moreso than the Blockbuster Video or other easter eggs. This song was everything that a slightly depressed teenage me wanted circa 1995.
Garbage – Only Happy When It Rains
Did I mentioned what slightly depressed me in 1995 loved to listen to? This album didn’t leave my 5-disc cd changer for a year. (See kids, back in the day, music came on compact discs. . .) Literally any track from the first two Garbage albums would’ve been perfect in this movie. Seriously. Any of them. My pick would’ve been “Vow,” but going with the iconic, radio-friendly song isn’t so bad. Also, I may have had a crush on comic book Carol Danvers in the mid-90’s, but I was madly in love with Shirley Manson. Plus Butch Vig, the keystone of 90’s grunge. I’m riding high on a deep depression. Pour some misery down on me.
TLC – Waterfalls
And then sometimes you just had to chill out. This song has hooks for days, and the rap breakdown by Left Eye remains amazing. Again, even as someone who wasn’t that much into r&b/rap, this song was ubiquitous. And that wasn’t a bad thing.
Des’ree – You Gotta Be
This is not a song in a million years I would’ve thought to put in this movie. And so it’s a good thing I wasn’t in charge of the soundtrack, because the lyrics to this pretty much tell the lesson of the second half of this movie. This is now my favorite.
Nirvana – Come As You Are
Again, not the Nirvana song I would’ve picked for this soundtrack (“Been a Son” seems actually more apt, especially to address the throngs of fragile manbabies triggered by the idea of a female superhero– she should’ve been a son. Get it?) but but but this song more than any other is used so effectively to set a very specific mood that it is a gamechanger. Literally, after this song played, I didn’t have any more gripes about the movie after that. It took it to a next level. Which leads me to. . .
No Doubt – Just a Girl
I’d complain this song is a little too on the nose, especially for the scene it’s used in, but it’s just so infectious and perfect. It’s a move I would’ve made if I was making the movie. I was tickled. True story: I saw No Doubt play in a converted airplane hangar in Orem, Utah in 1994 when they were just part of the local/regional ska scene. I was jarred, but not surprised, when they broke through with this poppy crossover. And here I sit snuggling my Dance Hall Crashers cds wondering why they didn’t break out (there’s some of them on the Spotify playlist below),
R.E.M. – Man on the Moon
Now Andy did you hear about this one? Yeah yeah yeah yeah. While REM was certainly everywhere at this point in the 90’s, this one may have been a little on the nose. And there’s so many others to pull from this album or Monster or (bold choice) New Adventures in Hi-Fi. Again, the soundtrack makes the safer choice of the more mainstream and ubiquitous song, and that’s fine. At least it wasn’t Shiny Happy People?
The Marvelettes – Please Mr. Postman
Do you count this as being in the soundtrack if we just got Sam Jackson singing a few bars of it? I do. I most certainly do. Also, this has nothing to do with the 90’s or the rest of the movie. I love how left-field it is. And is that how she gets her name? Ironically, if Carol Danvers tries to explain it to everyone, old man Steve Rogers still won’t get it. . . unless he ever got past that “Troubleman” album. Or if he was on Vine, which was how my kids knew it:
Hole – Celebrity Skin
Ok, confession time. I don’t like Courtney Love. I probably never will. But if you’re going to choose a Hole song, get Malibu or Bruise Violet. Ok, fine, fine, I concede that Celebrity Skin is actually pretty good and a fair choice to play over the closing credits. It’s fine, it’s great actually, I just have to get rid of my distaste for Hole.
And so that’s it! If you want more, I’ve made a Spotify playlist with these dozen songs as well as a bunch more. I will take the blame for anything you hate, but whatever you love on the playlist know that it was carefully curated from among a bunch of our Graphic Policy writers.
What’s in it? A lot more rock/alternative, especially skewing towards female artists (Liz Phair, The Breeders, Veruca Salt), a bunch of Riot Grrl stuff, a little more hip hop, and because it’s a tragedy she wears a Nine Inch Nails shirt the whole time and never listens to NIN, we have some of that. And starting with track 50, the last songs are very special songs from other soundtracks because the 90’s was full of great movie soundtracks. So, so meta.
What did we miss? Hop in the comments and tell us. Maybe we’ll even add it to the playlist!
Note: No songs from any of the Batman soundtracks because I’m not mixing Marvel and DC. Nope. (Even though “Trust” by Prince is amazing. So is “Partyman.” But still nope.) And also no Space Jame because ewwwww even small proximity to R. Kelly. . . NOPE.
Foo Fighters – Breakout – Me, Myself and Irene
Sneaker Pimps – Six Underground – The Saint
Coolio – Gangsta’s Paradise – Dangerous Minds
Green Day – J.A.R. – Angus
The Crystal Method – The Name of the Game (ok, bending the rules here as this was from 2001, but it still sounds super 90’s and was in another Marvel movie and I can’t resist) – Blade II
Edwyn Collins – A Girl Like You – Empire Records
Daft Punk – Da Funk – The Saint
Dr. Dre – Keep Their Heads Ringin’ – Friday
Nine Inch Nails – Dead Souls – The Crow
Dance Hall Crashers – Enough – Angus (what is this Angus movie and how did it have such a great soundtrack?!?)
Metric – Black Sheep (Ok, REALLY breaking the rules here, but if you don’t get the joke, I’m not going to explain it)
Guns n Roses – You Could Be Mine – Terminator 2
Nine Inch Nails – The Perfect Drug – Lost Highway
Filter – Hey Man, Nice Shot – The Cable Guy
The Cardigans – Lovefool – Romeo+Juliet
Chris Cornell – Seasons – Singles