It’s been more than a month now since the debut of Star Wars: The Clone Wars in theaters and just a week away from its coming out as a series on Cartoon Network. But don’t worry, I’m not going to do a review of the movie and try to convince or dissuade you from watching it on TV. You can go to umpteen number of Star Wars and Scifi forums where you can hear people rant or rave about it. Suffice it to say, IMHO, if you are a Star Wars geek, and you’re not worried about what your friends will think of you if you are over 10, you’ll probably like the movie and have a good time watching the series. In fact, it will probably be more fun if you watch it with a bunch of kids hyped up on “air” lightsaber duels. That way, you can use them as the perfect cover if you have to explain to your friends and co-workers why you watch it.

But on to my real topic. As controversial as the movie and the upcoming series seems to be to Star Wars “purists”, even more contentious to some is the music. The master himself, John Williams, doesn’t compose the music for The Clone Wars (after all, do you think they could have afforded Williams to do a TV series?), instead the job falls to Kevin Kiner, known for his Wing Commander score and music for Star Trek: Enterprise. And man, is he taking a beating by some in the reviews. Too much percussion. Too much synthesizer reverb. Too much use of electric guitars. All culminating in one barb I heard that went something like this: he’s ruining Star Wars music by making it appeal to a younger generation! What? First of all, since when does Star Wars need to attract young people? Kids stick to Star Wars like flies on Bantha Poodoo. Second, how old are these people saying this, anyway? Look, I first met Star Wars in 1977 at the age of 8. I’m probably around the average age, give or take a few years, of the “first generation” of Star Wars fans. To me, the original trilogy reigns. A New Hope is supreme! Now, I wholly admit that I enjoy classical music, mostly thanks to John Williams, but since when does this make me too old for percussion, synthesizer reverb, and an electric guitar? Come on! There are 60 year olds these days listening to the Rolling Stones. Artoo even tweets in “Obi-Wan To The Rescue” amid the electric guitars. Tell me that doesn’t get you old “purist” fans all excited to go download Meco’s Star Wars disco and listen to it like you know you did when you were a kid. I outright reject the argument that Kiner’s Star Wars music is not good because it has some non-traditional elements in it that supposedly only younger kids will like.

“You damn kids get off my lawn with your electric Jabba jive!”

Even Maestro Williams strayed a bit from the classics, and we all continued to loved him. Don‘t deny it. Can you say “Cantina Band”, “Lapti Nek”, “Jedi Rocks“, and “Victory Celebration”? If you listen to the whole saga, you’ll also notice that Williams introduced increasingly more percussion and non-traditional sounds in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Aside from the sound differences in Clone Wars, I’ve also heard a lot of complaints that Kiner has abandoned Williams’ themes altogether in his music. To that, I’d say go back and listen. Aside from the recognizable theme music in the Main Title and End Credit, if you listen carefully, you’ll find some more there. I swear I heard a bit of “Lando‘s Palace“, “Use the Force”, “Imperial Attack”, and a lot of musical phrasing that reminded me of Gungans for some reason. I leave it up to you to find more. Sure these aren’t major themes and mostly just musical impression, but they are fun nods here and there to the Maestro’s music.

Ok, If you are still reading this post, then you must really be a Star Wars geek. So I‘ll share with you my favorite song form The Cone Wars: “Landing on Teth” and don’t even complain about the use of voice or you’ll also have to criticize “Duel of the Fates” and Emperor‘s theme music.

Final thought: Whether you enjoy the music for Clone Wars or not, I predict that you, and everyone else who likes Star Wars enough to waste time carping about it, will be tuning in every Friday to watch the series on Cartoon Network anyway. So just admit you really like it and have fun like you were a kid again.

Advertisements