Star Wars Headspace
|Star Wars Headspace|
|Compilation album by|
|Released||February 19, 2016|
|Singles from Star Wars Headspace|
Star Wars Headspace is an electronic music compilation album executively produced by Rick Rubin and Kevin Kusatsu. It compiles electronic dance tracks of acts including Claude VonStroke, Flying Lotus and Röyksopp. It featured sound effects and dialog from the Star Wars films, but does not contain any of John Williams' music for the series.
Hollywood Records and American Recordings released Star Wars Headspace in digital forms on February 19, 2016 and in physical forms on March 18, to decent commercial performance, beginning at number one on the United States Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart and becoming the second various artists compilation to top the chart. However, it also garnered a mixed response from music critics, praise going towards its eccentric concept and criticism that it would likely only be enjoyed by fans of the film series.
Star Wars Headspace is a compilation album of electronic dance music featuring sound effects and samples from the Star Wars films. Musicians Rick Rubin and Kevin Kusatsu, who executively produced the album, gave the producers files of these sounds, but were also instructed by Lucasfilm to not sample any of John Williams' score from the films. Flying Lotus, who said that he was proud of being a part of the project, felt that the concept made sense given that the sounds used in the Star Wars would be a precursor of what was yet to come in electronic music. Therefore, he felt "close" to the sounds he was using to reflect the universe of the films.
Critic Jonah Bromwich analyzed that the beginning half of Star Wars Headspace consists of the producers sampling from the movie while making music in their common style, making it feel like "obvious tribute material". The first track, Kaskade's "C-3P0's Plight", represents Star Wars' humor and C-3PO's melodramatic character aspect, featuring sounds of Wookiee's roar and shots from a Blaster weapon. Rubin's Trap remix of "Jabba Flow", a composition by J.J. Abrams and Lin-Manuel Miranda used in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is the fifth track on the compilation, which is followed by Claude VonStroke's "R2 Knows", featuring vocals from Barry Drift and described in a review by Pitchfork Media as a silly anthem similar to releases from Todd Terje. Another track by Rubin, "NR-G7", has many samples such as R2-D2 blips playing over a "driving" four on the floor instrumental with "dazzling jet-stream" synthesizers. However, Bromwich also wrote that the later songs on the track list focus less on the artists making music in their typical trend and more on replicating what made John Williams score so great. Consequence of Sound's Derek Staples noted Norwegian duo Röyksopp's “Bounty Hunters” to be less of a bright song and more of a dark synthwave track than their usual material. "Sunset Over Manaan" by Attlas, a producer signed under the label mau5trap, has a melody reminiscent of Williams' "Leia's Theme", and has a more "cinematic" atmosphere than his previous work. The record closes with "Star Tripper" by French producer Breakbot, a downtempo funk song featuring orchestration reflecting the neo-romantic aspect of Williams' soundtrack.
Promotion and release
On February 8, 2016, the release date and cover art of Star Wars Headspace was announced, and pre-ordering of the record began. That same day, Beats 1, an Apple Music radio show by New Zealand DJ and producer Zane Lowe, promoted the compilation with an interview with Flying Lotus about his involvement, as well as premiering three tracks, "Cantina Boys", "NR-G7" and "R2 Where R U?"; the latter song was a "World Record" premiere. "Help Me!" was released on Beats 1 a day later, while on February 18 the channel Freeform premiered "Force" shortly before the album's midnight release. Hollywood Records issued the album in digital form on February 19, 2016, followed by a physical release on March 18. Selling 3,000 copies in the United States on its first Billboard chart week, Star Wars Headspace topped the Dance/Electronic Albums chart, the first various artists compilation to do so on the chart since 2008's High School Musical 2: Non-Stop Dance Party. It also landed at number 197 on the nation's Billboard 200 and at number eight on the magazine's Compilation Albums chart. In the United Kingdom, the album landed on the Official Charts Company's UK Dance Albums Charts at number twenty and number twenty-two on the Official Charts Company's Soundtrack Albums Chart.
|Consequence of Sound||C-|
|Tiny Mix Tapes|||
Critical response to Star Wars Headspace was mixed, holding a weighted mean of a 48 out of 100 on the site Metacritic based on seven reviews. Drew Mcweeny reviewed it for One Thing I Love Today, his daily column on HitFix which is meant to highlight certain aspects of modern-day popular culture. He honored the compilation's concept of an EDM Star Wars tribute as funny: "I'm not sure how long I'll listen to it, because in the end, it's still an hour or so of EDM, but it was a delightful soundtrack to a busy weekend, and all of the small surprises built into it should make it something that any Star Wars fan will be able to easily enjoy." A correspondent for The Boston Globe wrote that it was much better than he expected it to be, giving all credit to the producers who contributed to the compilation. Los Angeles Times critic Randall Roberts spotlighted the distinguishing characteristic of each song. Bromwich, who wrote a review for Pitchfork, scored the release a 6.9 out of ten, highlighting the record's goal of just being "simple fun" and "Neither [a] stale tribute nor sloppy lovefest". At the same time, however, he also disliked that the nostalgic style was seemingly "a way of avoiding risk".
The album also garnered numerous mixed reviews that felt that it would only be enjoyed by fans of the franchise; Staples described the tracks as "musical fan fiction ready for both celestial dance floors and distant forgotten landscapes", while Jon Dolan, reviewing for Rolling Stone magazine, rated it two and a half stars out of five, feeling that many of the producers involved with the project didn't experiment enough with the concept that it was "hard to get beyond timid fanboy reverence." The harshest review came from Sam Goldner of Tiny Mix Tapes, who bashed the album as a major contributing factor to "the nasty details, the blemishes, the facts of this world that truly corrupt our collective sense of well-being and hope" in regards to how the Star Wars franchise has been marketed.
Track listing and credits
|Star Wars Headspace – Standard version|
|1.||"C-3P0's Plight"||Ryan Raddon, Finn Bjarnson||Kaskade||3:12|
|2.||"Help Me!"||Julio Mejia, Matthew Toth||GTA||3:55|
|4.||"Cantina Boys"||Harrison Rodrigues||Baauer||2:47|
|5.||"Jabba Flow" (featuring A-Trak) (Rick Rubin re-work)||J. J. Abrams, Lin-Manuel Miranda||Shag Kava||3:56|
|6.||"R2 Knows" (featuring Barry Drift)||Claude VonStroke,||Claude VonStroke||6:12|
|7.||"NR-G7"||Rick Rubin, Jason Lader||Rick Rubin||5:17|
|9.||"Bounty Hunters"||Svein Berge, Torbjørn Brundtland||Röyksopp||8:12|
|10.||"Sunset Over Manaan"||Jeffrey Hartford||Attlas||5:09|
|11.||"R2 Where R U?"||Steven Ellison||Flying Lotus||3:02|
|12.||"Druid Caravan of Smoke"||Henry Laufer||Shlohmo||4:43|
|14.||"Scruffy-Looking Nerfherder"||Christian Karlsson, Linus Eklöw, Tony Senghore||Galantis, Tony Senghore[a]||4:18|
|15.||"Star Tripper"||Thibaut Berland, David Berland||Breakbot, David Berland[a]||4:37|
|UK Dance Albums (OCC)||20|
|UK Soundtrack Albums (OCC)||22|
|US Billboard 200||180|
|US Compilation Albums (Billboard)||8|
|US Dance/Electronic Albums (Billboard)||1|
- "The Force Goes Electronic: Announcing Star Wars Headspace Compilation Album – Exclusive Cover Reveal". Star Wars Official Website. February 8, 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
- "Interview with Flying Lotus". Beats 1. Apple Music. February 8, 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
- Bromwich, Jonah (February 22, 2016). "Various Artists: Star Wars Headspace". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
- Staples, Derek (February 24, 2016). "Various Artists – Star Wars Headspace". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
- "Exclusive Premiere: Baauer - "Cantina Boys"". Beats 1. Apple Music. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
- "Exclusive Premiere: Rick Rubin - "NR-G7"". Beats 1. Apple Music. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
- "World Record: Flying Lotus - "R2 Where R U?"". Beats 1. Apple Music. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
- "Exclusive Premiere: GTA - "Help Me!"". Beats 1. Apple Music. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
- "Freeform Premieres FORCE by Troyboi form Star Wars Headspace Album". Broadway World. Wisdom Digital Media. February 18, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
- Caulfield, Keith (March 2, 2016). "'Star Wars' Is a Dance Chart Force, Dave Aude Hits Milestone". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
- "Official Dance Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
- "Official Soundtrack Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
- "Reviews for Star Wars Headspace by Various Artists". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
- Kellman, Andy. "Star Wars Headspace - Various Artists". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
- Dolan, Jon (March 4, 2016). "Various Artists's New Album: Star Wars Headspace". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media LLC. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
- Goldner, Sam. "Various Artists - Star Wars Headspace". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
- Mcweeny, Drew (March 1, 2016). "One Thing I Love Today: Rick Rubin, EDM, and 'Star Wars' makes a crazy 'Headspace'". HitFix. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
- Caballero, Martín (March 17, 2016). "The force is with 'Star Wars Headspace'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
- Roberts, Randall (February 19, 2016). "Gotta listen to 'Star Wars Headspace,' 'The New Cupid,' 'Jesus Lay Down Beside Me'". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
- Star Wars Headspace (Media notes). Various artists. Hollywood Records. 2016. D002362502.CS1 maint: others (link)