Here’s a safe statement to make: Star Wars has really good music. Sure, there’s plenty of pulse-raising action, operatic drama and stirring character beats, too, but none of it works without the tunes. Go ahead, try to tell us that soaring John Williams fanfare doesn’t give you chills every single time. And would Vader be even remotely as intimidating without that ominous Imperial March bumping every time he walks down a hallway? No, he’d just be a mouth-breather dressed like a garbage can.
Beyond the main score, though, there’s a hidden treasury of diegetic music — that is, songs that are played within the context of a scene and are heard by the characters themselves — throughout the Saga. Let’s just call these tracks what they truly are: bangers. Straight-up, down-and-dirty, club-jumpin’ bangers. Below, we’ve taken the liberty of ranking these joints for you, from worst to best.
9. Augie’s Great Municipal Band
Who Cares – The Phantom Menance
Garbage song from a garbage movie.
8. Yub Nub
Victory Celebration – Return of the Jedi
Listen, if I had just blown up the Death Star (again), destroyed the evil Emperor Palpatine, and vanquished the Galactic Empire once and for all (well, not quite), I would not be putting on a song called “Yub Nub.” This is the opposite of a club banger.
7. Dex’s Diner
Dex’s Diner – Attack of the Clones
Believe it or not, there’s a scene in Attack of the Clones where Obi-Wan Kenobi just goes to a diner. The owner is an old friend, apparently, and just happens to know the answer to the particular question Obi-Wan has been struggling with for the entire act leading up to this moment. It is a bad scene, just like the club banger playing in the background while it happens.
6. Jabba Flow
Maz Kanata’s Cantina Song – The Force Awakens
Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda contributed a bunch of songs to The Force Awakens. But unlike the hip-hop joints in his world-beating musical, “Jabba Flow” is … totally adequate. Not quite a banger, but it ain’t bad. If you want to see something uncomfortable, here is a video of Lin-Manuel and J.J. Abrams performing it live for a very enthusiastic audience.
5. Dobra Doompa
Maz Kanata’s Castle – The Force Awakens
Another Lin-Manuel Miranda song, “Dobra Doompa” is an unequivocal upgrade on “Jabba Flow.” Tight, drum-heavy grooves, with just a little bit of unintelligible Sinatra-esque alien crooning thrown into the mix. Into it.
4. Ewok Feast / Part of the Tribe
Ewok Dinner – Return of the Jedi
Chill jungle track playing as the Ewoks prepare Luke and Han for lunch. Badass.
3. Mos Eisley Cantina Song
A New Hope
This is the Star Wars club banger everyone knows and thinks of first. It is the “SexyBack” of the Star Wars saga. While the opening horns are good and fine, the song really shines deeper in as the steel drums take the lead.
2. Max Rebo Band
Jabba’s Sail Barge – Return of the Jedi
Jabba, it seems, sure knows how to throw a party. An often overlooked banger, the Max Rebo Band is Jabba’s house band, and they are pretty freaking good. They play this song on Jabba’s barge while en route to the Sarlaac pit. It’s a deep, brooding dub hit, and is basically one of the best tracks to come out of the ’80s, full stop.
1. Lapti Nek
Jabba’s Palace – Return of the Jedi
Lapti Nek, straight up, is a solid-gold banger. Certified
platinum dilithium khyber. Played in Jabba’s Palace, it’s so groovy it could’ve been written by Hall and Oates. Unfortunately, it was the victim of one of George Lucas’s most egregious edits, replaced by “Jedi Rocks” in those awful 1997 Special Edition VHS rereleases.