Music plays a surprisingly big part in the Star Wars saga, especially in the original trilogy, which of course are the only Star Wars flicks that are worth remembering — at least so far. From the Main Title to the Cantina tune to the Imperial March, they’re all classics. And don’t forget the Yub-Nub song at the end of Return of the Jedi — you know, when the cute little Ewoks are playing xylophones on the disembodied heads of Stormtroopers? Flesh-eating little fuckers.
But this list isn’t about the best soundtrack music from the films; this is about other songs and artists that reference the movie series (and its accompanying obsession) in new work, beyond the on-screen tunes that we can all hum. So in honor of the upcoming release of the long-awaited Episode 7, here are the seven Star Wars songs that you can play on repeat, over and over again, to get in the spirit — or should we say, awaken the force? — and to echo the onslaught of hype surrounding everyone's favorite space opera.
The opening track from the Aquabats' 1996 debut album The Return of the Aquabats focuses on the most memorable thing from the Star Wars childhood shared by so many: the action figures. Most of us (save for a lucky few) lost our various ships and play-sets over the years, but this song’s mournful refrain (“What happened to it all?”) is just as much about the loss of innocence as the toys themselves. And the answer to that question? Your mom threw it all away. Spring cleaning and garage sales of Star Wars memorabilia are the sole reason that eBay exists.
Blink-182, “A New Hope”
So there’s this weird span of time when you get a little too old to idolize Star Wars in the way that kids do with their heroes, but before you get to love the stuff again, with a little distance and a lot of fondness, as an adult. This is the time for young men when Princess Leia’s slave bikini outfit becomes something that pops your lightsaber — if you get my meaning, and I think you do, because that was hardly subtle. This track, from Blink 182’s 1997 album Dude Ranch, sums up the Leia-yearning pretty handily.
Jamiroquai, “Use the Force”
Jamiroquai’s 1996 release Travelling Without Moving included this song, which is a tribute to one of the most famous lines from the first flick: It was the advice that the ghost of Obi-Wan gave to Luke while he was diving headlong into a danger-ridden trench run on the first Death Star, and clearly meant “close your eyes and hit that venting port without targeting assistance.” (Granted, this is just a loose translation.)
MC Chris, “Fett’s Vette”
No list of Star Wars songs would be complete without nerdcore rapper MC Chris, who nearly broke the internets with this song and others, giving voice to the various bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back. All these tracks are worth a listen to varying degrees (“Zuckuss’ Prius,” “Dengar’s Dumptruck,” and “Bossk on a Segway” all have a certain charm). Aside from “Fette’s Vette,” make sure to check out “IG-88’s ’57 Chevy.” It didn’t get as much play as Boba Fett’s song, but I guess that makes sense for a robot made in part out of the distillery contraption from the Mos Eisley’s cantina.
Meco, “Star Wars Title Theme”
This song, sampling all the memorable tunes from the Star Wars soundtrack, actually hit #1 on the Billboard charts and stayed there for two weeks in October of 1977, when excitement for the first flick was the actual “greatest power in the universe” (sorry, Death Star). It’s an instrumental, so no first-gen SNL Bill Murray lounge-singing about “if they should bar wars/please let these Star Wars staaaay,” but it’s still very Seventies-tastic in its grooviness, man.
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2 Skinnee J’s, “Mind Trick”
Another nerdcore act on the list, this seemingly ever-changing band came out with “Mind Trick” on their 1995 release Return of the New and Improved, and re-released it on their later and much more successful album Supermercado. Even though the band fell apart in the 2000s due to mismanagement and internal strife, this is a song that will be long remembered for its near-complete fealty to the Star Wars mythoi. Meaning: it’s like a count-the-references game, hip-hop style.
Hot Waffles, “George Lucas Raped Our Childhood”
One of the songs featured in the movie People vs. George Lucas, this ditty by the California-based comedy-rock duo Hot Waffles is a catchy way to complain bitterly about the wrongs done to one of the best movies of your childhood. Hating George Lucas is the new loving George Lucas, until we forgive and return to loving him again. And so the circle is now complete.