Welcome to The Weekend Playlist, a regular look at science fiction references and popular music and a mix tape of music for you to tide you over until next week. This week, we’re looking at songs that are based relating Star Wars. Unlike the last couple of weeks, which generally saw music written because of a book or game, there’s more songs than usual that are parodies of other songs, incorporating in George Lucas’s universe. That being said, there’s plenty of other songs that go to A Galaxy Far Far Away for inspiration:
One of MC Chris’s recently released free singles, Han Solo is a great Nerdore song that’s probably one of my favorites from the artist. It’s a great piece of music that has a good flow and beat, and nice, lyrical retelling of Han Solo’s story. As a bonus? He’s an honorary member of the 501st Legion. (Also, today’s his birthday.)
(This song contains some adult language / imagery)
My backpack’s got jets. Chris Ward’s best known Star Wars song, Fett’s Vett is a take on the fan-favorite Boba Fett. It’s not quite as much fun as Han Solo is, but it’s catchy as hell, chock-full of references to the Star Wars films, but also branches out to a bunch of other films as well. The song demonstrates Chris’s great lyrics: the song is a mouthful, to say the least.
Blink 182’s song A New Hope does what most every teenage boy (probably some girls as well) does after seeing Star Wars: she’s the ultimate fantasy at that age. The lyrics are all about the desire to date or sleep with the Alderaani princess, for better or worse.
One of many parody songs (this one based off of New York State of Mind), this parody by College Humor is one of many parodies of the original itself, going to A Galaxy Far Far away, complete with a rapping Darth Vader and a DJ Leia, not to mention dancing Wookies, Ewoks and C3P0 and R2D2. It’s a well done parody of the original: the lyrics do a great job recounting the story of the movies.
When it comes to Star Wars parody songs, nobody does it better than Weird Al. Taking the tune from Lola, Al recorded the song in 1981 (although the song wasn’t released until 1985, due to liscencing issues), titled Yoda. It’s quite a bit of fun, with some clever lyrics. It’s a crowd favorite at his concerts too.
Weird Al’s other great Star Wars parody, this time covering The Phantom Menace, a version of Don Mclean’s “American Pie”. Al took the title from the tag line for the yet to be released song; the song itself covers the entire story of Episode 1, and interestingly, was written before the movie was released; the content was taken from internet spoilers. Not only was Don Mclean a fan (he apparently somtiems mixes up the two songs in concert), but George Lucas was also impressed. Seeing Al in concert? You’ll likely see members of the 501st Legion on stage with him. Can you find me in this video?
It’s hard to have a cover of a song from Star Wars, but Imperial March is perfectly suited for metal. Metallica covered Darth Vader’s theme. I’ve heard conflicting stories of where it was used, in a game or in concert, but wherever it’s used, it’s pretty awesome.
One of my favorite bands of all time, Carbon Leaf is based out of Virginia, and is known for their fantastic lyrics and energetic stage shows. Their 2009 album, Nothing Rhymes with Woman, has one song that has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to the trilogy: melting Boba Fett action figures. It’s a bit of a stretch, but the song is mainly about childhood nostalgia, and Star Wars action figures are certainly a part of that for me.
Speaking of nostalgia, no one has done it better than our very own John Anealio. A Stormtrooper for Halloween strikes right at the heart of everything good about the Star Wars universe: it opened our eyes for a lot of us, bringing us out to the theaters time and time again, to picking up the books, comics and toys years after the film was first released. Anealio’s song evokes a lot of emotion for me.
John’s other autobiographical song about Star Wars, The Millennium Falcon for Christmas, likewise brings back memories of the holiday season, waiting for Christmas morning and seeing what sort of Star Wars toys appeared overnight. I know there were a good couple of years for me and a bunch of my friends. It’s a touching song, and one of Anealio’s best.
The music video for this song was filmed at Celebration 5. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of the song: the lyrics and vocals just don’t hit it, but the group gets a lot of points for enthusiasm.
Because we want to inflict some real pain on you, the Star Wars Christmas album, Christmas in the Stars, is what we’ll leave you with for this week. It’s truly special, and worth listening to… once. Then it’s to be never spoken about again. Ever.
Okay, I lied: we’ll leave you on a better note for the weekend. Gnarls Barkley’s song “Crazy” actually has nothing to do with Star Wars in and of itself, but when the band went on stage for the MTV awards back in 2006, they had been outfitted with a variety of Star Wars costumes.
Thanks again for the comments, suggestions and appreciation over the past couple of weeks. Next week, we’re going to shift gears and look at a specific artist: Jonathan Coulton.