Roughly a year ago, I waxed rhapsodic about how much I loved the CD re-release of the original Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk album by Meco. Well, here we are with a brand-new release by Meco, remixing and compiling his discofied slices of John Williams from all the original trilogy movies, and adding new material inspired by Episode I.
I know some fans have been clamoring for Meco’s tunes from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, but if this CD proved anything to me, it was that maybe I would’ve been better off stopping at that original 1977 release.
A major caveat for fans of original material here: these are not the original recordings. These are digital re-recordings which vastly change the structure of the original songs. In some places – and I’m particularly singling out the new version of the original Star Wars music here – this isn’t a bad thing. It’s interesting to hear Meco’s take on this stuff some 23 years later. In other places…God help us all. I never heard Meco’s original Empire and Jedi recordings, so I have no idea if they were ever better than this. It sounds like the discomeister should’ve called it quits with the first movie.
And if Meco’s Empire and Jedi-inspired tunes aren’t enough to make me draw that conclusion, the godawful trio of Episode I songs are enough to make me wonder if the man’s lost his touch completely. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Meco’s original Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk album. I listened to it incessantly when I was a kid. But his take on “Duel Of The Fates” and “Augie’s Municipal Band” is a bore – he was beaten to the “Duel Of The Fates” punch by the far superior house dance mixes by the Wasabees a year ago.
And it gets worse. Far, far worse. “Cousin Jar Jar” is a bizarre rap in which Jar Jar wanders into a bar and burbles on endlessly about his adventures (and his inability to dance, because yousa might say meesa…clumsy?) over a disco beat, with occasional background vocal contributions. Again, I even liked Jar Jar Binks in Episode I…but this song almost seems to be specifically engineered to make even the most adoring Jar Jar fans rethink their loyalties to the goofy Gungan.
Proceed with caution. Keep in mind, I loved Meco’s original Star Wars album. But this thing is one long digitally-recorded trip to the Dark Side.
- Star Wars (A New Hope)
Main Title Theme / The Land of the Sand People /
Princess Leia’s Theme / Cantina Band / The Last Battle / End Title (8:22)
The Empire Stikes Back
- Darth Vader’s Theme / Yoda’s Theme (3:36)
- The Battle In The Snow (3:24)
- The Force Theme (3:13)
- Finale (2:30)
Return Of The Jedi
- Lapti Nek (4:54)
- Ewok Celebration (3:09)
The Phantom Menace
- Duel Of The Fates / Augie’s Municipal Band (3:23)
- Cousin Jar Jar (3:33)
- A Jedi Knight (vocals by Yamira) (5:25)
Released by: Mecoman Records
Release date: 2000
Total running time: 41:33