In The Martian, Matt Damon plays stranded astronaut Mark Watney, who has no choice but to survive alone on Mars while he waits years for rescue from Earth. Watney must find ways to make oxygen, grow food, and recycle water (though apparently the Red Planet is full of the stuff, who knew?). It's a desperate situation for sure, as the thought of being alone in a place where you have to constantly struggle just to survive is enough to drive anyone crazy. Watney kind of seems OK with it, though, or at least he would if it weren't for the music he has to listen to while he's there. Thanks to a lack of albums besides one of his fellow astronaut's '70s CDs, he's forced to hear disco music (which he hates) on repeat. The Martian soundtrack reflects this struggle, and by the time you leave the theater, you'll have heard enough '70s hits to last a lifetime.
If Watney hates the disco music of the 1970s so much, why does he listen to it? Well, unfortunately, he doesn't have much of a choice. It's the only music left behind by astronaut Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain), so it's either that or total silence. Watney chooses noise over the soundless void more often than not, and is forced to put up with the likes of ABBA, The Bee Gees, and Vicki Sue Robinson's "Turn the Beat Around," among others. It's pretty brutal.
If though, unlike Watney, you actually like these songs and want to hear them again post-movie, I'm afraid you're out of luck, at least for now; no official soundtrack for The Martian has been released just yet. That might change once more people see the film and get a taste of what memorable '70s hits they can expect, though. Then again, Watney might not want anyone to have to go through the musical torture he experienced while on Mars. Personally, I feel like he would have had a much better time had his soundtrack hewn more closely to that of last year's big space movie with the '70s soundtrack, Guardians of the Galaxy . That film used its music to tether its far-flung locales to Earth in a positive way rather than a negative one, and it didn't hurt that it mostly eschewed disco in favor of some of the decade's great rock music. So as a "what if" for Watney, here are some songs from the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack that he really could have used on Mars.
"Hooked On A Feeling" — Blue Swede
Watney is stuck on Mars, so he might as well enjoy it. It's impossible to listen to this song and not feel good about whatever situation you're in.
"Spirit In The Sky" — Norman Greenbaum
Being alone on Mars with no apparent hope of rescue, Watney's thoughts undoubtedly turn to death. Might as well have a chipper song about the afterlife to go along with them!
"Moonage Daydream" — David Bowie
This trippy tune has lots of outer space-inspired lyrics, which makes it the perfect soundtrack for Watney's "sciencing the sh*t" out of his habitat montage.
"Fooled Around And Fell In Love" — Elvin Bishop
Look, Watney is up there alone for a long time, so when he's feeling... um... romantic... this song should put him in the mood.
"Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" — Rupert Holmes
He's not drinking any piña coladas or getting caught in any rain on Mars, but Watney sure eats a lot of potatoes. And if he listens to this little ditty enough, they might just start to taste a little tropical.
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" — Marvin Gaye And Tammi Terrell
For the triumphant moment when Watney successfully contacts NASA, this song underscores his relentless determination to get home.
"I Want You Back" — The Jackson 5
OK, so this one is a little disco, but Watney's gotta feel like dancing sometimes. After all, isn't there a little Baby Groot in all of us?
I think it's pretty obvious that Watney's time on Mars would be much more enjoyable with the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, so can someone please get to work on splicing these properties together?
Images: 20th Century Fox