There’s no need to make this a particularly lengthy review, so I won’t — I surmised before the release last month that Star Wars Headspace would hit big and it has. It opened at #1 on the Billboard Dance charts, all the productions are ‘good’ at the very least, and it appears that Disney has found the major musical hook on which it can sustain a leg of the Star Wars franchise while we bide our time waiting for the next movie.
Here’s where the compilation shines: Rick Rubin’s curation of a crack team of varied producers that make creative work – but perhaps most importantly, don’t sound like they’re trying too hard at doing so. Creativity generally trumps kitsch, and the moments where kitsch is played up (see GTA’s “Help Me” and Barry Drift’s vocals on “R2 Knows”), it works in a way that doesn’t erode the musicality.
I would go so far as to say that there aren’t any total missteps on the compilation, a small achievement in and of itself, but would stop short of saying that “everyone will enjoy every record.” While there are some daring excursions from the likes of Royksopp and Bonobo, these entries are relatively incongruous with the likes of the GTA and Kaskade productions – and vice versa. The closest the compilation comes to mishap is perhaps trying to represent too wide a spectrum in electronic sounds, at the very-real cost of presenting something that feels cohesive start-to-finish. All things considered, I’d much rather hear that variance than another cookie-cutter mass market entry into slapping major branding on some music to sell it.
Star Wars Headspace is available for purchase on all major platforms here.
Overall: 8.1 / 10
Essential tracks: “Cantina Boys” – Baauer; “R2 Knows (ft. Barry Drift)” – Claude VonStroke; “Ghomrassen” – Bonobo; “EWOK PUMPP” – Rustie