From a run through the swamps of Dagobah to the obstacle course on Ajan Kloss, exercise has popped up quite a bit in the Star Wars saga. You might say it’s as much a part of the universe as John Williams’ score. You certainly would say that if you needed to set up an article on what Star Wars music is perfect workout ambiance. And that’s just what I’m doing, so I did say that. To be honest, this paragraph was a lot funnier on the ninth mile of a run where I thought up this whole piece. Anyway, let’s talk about some Star Wars songs.
“Reminiscence Therapy” from Solo: A Star Wars Story
A sort of “greatest hits” medley of all the most memorable Millennium Falcon scores from “TIE Fighter Attack” to “The Asteroid Field” with a smattering of the main Star Wars theme here and there for good measure, this instant fan-favorite is pulse-pounding at a rate of point-five past lightspeed. Fast-paced and intense, it’s perfect for any sprint workout where you absolutely must outrun the Empire or deadlift session where you’ve got to explode with the force of a coaxium-fueled hyperdrive, especially that powerful little snippet of the main title that plays as Han and Chewie fly the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy together for the first time. Hopefully your spotter is as loyal and attentive as the valiant Wookiee.
“Mad About Mad About Me” from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Of all the new music created for the ambiance of Oga’s Cantina, the watering hole in the city of Black Spire Outpost in the immersive Disney Parks land, this remix of the classic jizz (please click the link…I promise it’s safe for work) tune from Star Wars: A New Hope is still my favorite. It riffs on the obscure in-universe title of the iconic “Cantina Band” track from the film, “Mad About Me,” the same way its electronic percussion riffs on the song itself. While I’ve downed many a Bad Motivator IPA to this tune, it’s also an essential for the later stages of my 5K racing playlist. It’s up-tempo, memorable, and, most importantly, fun, and if your workout isn’t fun, you’re doing it wrong. Although, to be fair, no one knows “doing it wrong” like failed pilot-turned-DJ R-3X, who spins this tune on the planet of Batuu and on Spotify alike at all hours.
“Imperial Rage Theme” from Star Wars: Force Commander
Seriously, just listen to this. As mixed as the reviews on this 1999 real-time strategy game were, I think we can all agree that this music is badass. Legendary Lucasarts composer Peter McConnell brought the might of the Empire to new heights with his powerful, industrial take on the Imperial March. This obscure but memorable take on the iconic motif of evil is ideal for a long set or a steady jog, whether racing or warming up. This one later made a cameo in LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy and, potentially, in your earbuds next time you’re feeling the burn and the power of the dark side.
“Jabba Flow” from Star Wars: The Force Awakens
This one might be a bit of a surprise. As a chill reggae tune composed by none other than Lin-Manuel Miranda and J.J. Abrams as a “Shaggy intergalactic remix,” as Miranda once put it (with Huttese lyrics roughly corresponding to “Wasn’t Me” by the aforementioned Jamaican singer), you might be surprised to see this here. You’re probably as surprised as I was when it played towards the end of a long run and I found it perfectly synced up with a nice late-in-the-race steady pace. Maz Kanata’s house band Shag Kava keeps it real with this groove. Nobata tu tu muuni, muuni, indeed.
“Lapti Nek” from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983 theatrical release)
My body heat is rising
My soul is sympathizing
A loving man is coming
So I’m shaping up and working out!
We had to talk about the (blue) elephant in the room. Did you know that the lyrics of “Lapti Nek,” when translated from Huttese into English, are pretty much an oddly sensual workout song? It raises questions about why this is the music of choice of the corpulent gangster Jabba the Hutt, but it also raises your heart rate to the level it needs to be for your workout with the magical musical stylings of the Max Rebo Band. Who could ask for anything more? Although the 1997 Special Edition replaced this tune with the controversial “Jedi Rocks,” it’s found a permanent home on my Star Wars workout playlist.
“Seagulls! (Stop It Now)” from “A Bad Lip Reading of The Empire Strikes Back“
Listen, it’s literally about running and jumping. It counts. Now get out there, do your best, feel the burn, and may the Force (and these tunes) be with you!