Meco - Star Wars PartyTwenty-seven years after his first Star Wars-themed album, Music Inspired By Star Wars And Other Galactic Funk, Meco Monardo returns in time for the release of the final Star Wars film, Revenge of the Sith. This album of (mostly) new material, Star Wars Party, has a very different feel to Meco’s Star Wars work of old.

Rather than go the direct disco route, the covers on Star Wars Party see Meco stretching into wildly differing directions. “I Am Your Father” is a trance-like dance track. “Star Wars Love Themes” melds cues from both trilogies into an odd march-like affair. “New Star Wars” is basically Meco’s modern take on a dance version of the main Star Wars theme, with lots of samples. “The Empire Strikes Back” is not really a new track, but a remix of the 1980 original that basically adds new sound effects to the mix. (I question the wisdom of including this track, since it basically outclasses the new covers completely.) “You Are Reckless” is a rambling hodge-podge of Star Wars music overdubbed with Yoda dialogue. “Lapti Nek” is certainly the best of the new crop; a decent rendition of the now redundant Max Rebo track, with solid use of dialogue sampling that doesn’t distract from the song.

The original tracks “Star Wars Party”, “Jedi Knight” and “Live Your Life” are lightweight fluff pieces that can’t stand up alongside even the questionable quality of the covers. The lyrics are absolutely atrocious (and not in a good way) and while the music is not horrible, neither is it memorable.

But the biggest problem with Star Wars Party isn’t Meco’s unusual musical choices or his lousy lyrics and simplistic original music, it’s his reliance on dialogue clips. While his choice of dialogue is fine and how he chooses to use it within a song is usually spot on, the problem is that only about a third of the clips are authentic (or at least close enough not to matter). It’s jarring hearing unknown voices speaking such classic lines (and then to hear them sampled over and over again). The worst are the people speaking Han and Leia’s lines in “Star Wars Love Themes” and the grating fake Yoda sprinkled throughout the CD. To make matters worse, there will often be authentic dialogue right next to these poor imitations, making the failure more glaring than it otherwise might be. If Meco wanted all these voice samples, he should have gotten clearance to use only original dialogue or given up on the idea.

But just when it seems that Star Wars Party will inevitably wind up filed somewhere between useless and unnecessary, we come to the final track on the disc, “Boogie Wookie”. Silly as its title may sound, it’s a lush disco dance track that is as close to the perfection Meco achieved on the original Galactic Funk album as Star Wars Party gets. With a generous sprinkling of Wookie dialogue throughout and no real lyrics to speak of, Meco falls into none of the traps that damage the other tracks. I won’t go so far as to say that “Boogie Wookie” is good enough to make me recommend this disc, but I found it good enough to justify the purchase to myself, at least.

Star Wars Party doesn’t live up to the legacy of Meco’s classic work from the golden age of Star Wars, but it isn’t a complete disaster. The remix of “Empire” is pretty good (but expendable) and “Boogie Wookie” and the “Lapti Nek” cover deserve attention. The other tracks have little value (and what value they have is mostly destroyed by the awful voice sampling). Ultimately, your enjoyment of Star Wars Party will likely be determined by how far three good tracks can take you.

rating: 2 out of 4

Note: Star Wars Party was simultaneously released under the alternate title Music Inspired By Star Wars. Both are available for purchase, but Star Wars Party is only available from Amazon.com and CDbaby.com. All other online retailers and brick and mortar stores sell only Music Inspired by Star Wars.

Order this CD

  1. I Am Your Father (3:07)
  2. Star Wars Party (3:10)
  3. Star Wars Love Themes (4:00)
  4. New Star Wars (3:07)
  5. The Empire Strikes Back (3:30)
  6. You Are Reckless (3:05)
  7. Jedi Knight (4:03)
  8. Lapti Nek (3:23)
  9. Live Your Life (3:18)
  10. Boogie Wookie (6:24)

Released by: Mecoman Productions
Release date: 2005
Total running time: 37:43