Because it is May 4, here is the obligatory May the Fourth Be With You post.

[It’s Star Wars Day, so the Law of the Internet requires that something related be posted. Punishment may extend to exile on Lothal. Thomas Demmett has seen to it that this does not happen. -AC]

May the 4th Be With You: 5 Sci-Fi Based Songs

May the 4th is known worldwide as a day of celebration for fans of the Star Wars series. In honour of the all-powerful force, lightsabers and particle blasters, here are 5 sci-fi themed songs to get your midicholrians grooving. [I don’t know what that means. I’m a Star Trek fan. – AC]

1. Intergalactic – Beastie Boys

Taken from the 1998 album Hello Nasty, Intergalactic shows what the Beastie Boys are all about. Fast paced hip-hop beats with effects that give the impression they’re sound bites from the Millennium Falcon, layered with the high energy vocal style of all three members. As is par for the course with the Beastie Boys, expect a lot of space styled wordplay like ‘Your knees’ll start shakin’ and your finger pop, like a pinch on the neck of Mr. Spock’. The music video also sports an epic battle between a giant robot and a trident-wielding octopus-man, adding another sci-fi element to this spacey song.

2. Bring Back Pluto – Aesop Rock

No, not A$AP Rocky. I wouldn’t subject anyone to that. Aesop Rock is a lyrical genius, proven by a study that looked at the number of unique lyrics used within an artist’s first 35,000 lyrics. Aesop Rock placed 1st using 7,392 unique words, almost one thousand more than the second place artist. Bring Back Pluto is from the 2007 album None Shall Pass, and Aesop Rock uses this whole album to show off his unique lyrical cadence. What’s interesting is the contrast in this song; space-themed lyrics juxtaposed with a very un-space like drum beat played on, get this, actual drums! It’s refreshing to hear beats in hip-hop that aren’t digitally produced.

3. Subterranean Homesick Alien – Radiohead

The title says it all. I love a song where the lyrics aren’t just a series of non-sequiturs and the artist puts in the time to structure a narrative. Subterranean Homesick Alien from the 1997 album OK Computer is a great example of one of those songs. I think we all have secretly hoped at some point, we would get beamed onto an alien ship and meet some, hopefully, personable aliens. Personally, I haven’t had any such luck, but singer Thom Yorke beautifully outlines his desire to be brought onto an alien ship and shown the wonders of the universe by some friendly extra-terrestrials. The reverb laden guitars and drums really give that outer space feel to the tune.

4. Half Ass Jedi – Jon Cougar Concentration Camp

Imagine a Star Wars world where everything was the same except it was narrated by an angsty teenager. That’s basically what you get in the song Half Ass Jedi from the 1999 album Hot Shit. It’s a fast-paced, 2-minute punk rock song laden with references to Princess Leia and Yoda thinking Luke Skywalker is a schmuck. However, they need to be careful with their lyrics, as calling Ben Kenobi a foolish man could incite the wrath of Star Wars fans worldwide.

 

5. Rocket Man – William Shatner

The Shat’s over-the-top acting style has the amazing ability to either strangely endear or completely dissuade an audience from listening to him. However, in perhaps one of the most bizarre covers to ever happen, Shatner’s 1978 rendition of Rocket Man by Elton John manages to mesmerize me every time. It’s campy, overacted and 100% classic William Shatner. Let’s set aside the silly Star Wars and Star Trek debate and just enjoy the original captain of the Starship Enterprise’s dramatic take on this famous tune. Also, feel free to skip to 4:08 to watch some of the most awkward dance moves you’ve ever seen.

 

 

 

 

 

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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