CH Sobriquet is the kind of person that listens to movie soundtracks in his free time.
A long time ago in a symphony far, far away…
As a franchise, Star Wars has the greatest overall soundtrack of all time. These Original Soundtracks are the only OSTs that you could play for your average layperson and he or she would recognize a few of them. Play “Cantina Band” in a crowded room and everyone will start dancing. Play “Duel of the Fates” in a bar and a fight will start.
But which of these OSTs are the greatest? It is time for that to be addressed. There will be many controversial picks in this list, including a heavy prequel-content bias. This list is coming from a 2000s kid, so don’t blame me. Remember: these rankings are my personal favorites, not the definitive most iconic songs. Hopefully, I’ll convince you of the greatness of each of these OSTs by the end.
10. “Luke and Leia”
Ah, sibling romance, the literal dark side of the original trilogy. This song represents the confusing relationship between the Amidala-Skywalker twins. Despite the correlation with incest, it’s still a great song.
It’s very soft and peaceful, the kind of song that you imagine hearing at the gates of Heaven. It is a compassionate song of love. Whether you interpret that as healthy sibling care or something else is up to you.
9. “Victory and Death”
I hear this song, and I think, “Oh crap, crazy stuff is about to happen.” I was shivering my timbers when I first watched the final episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and it opened with this OST. You just know a lot of people are going to suffer, and you are excited to see it, in some twisted way.
A good song has emotion, and a great song has drama. If this chorus of grim voices isn’t dramatic, I don’t know what is. Earlier, I said “Luke and Leia” was a song you’d hear at the gates of Heaven. You would hear “Victory and Death” at the gates of Hell.
8. “The Throne Room and End Title”
Perhaps not the most conventional top ten pick, I remind you that this is not a conventional list. This OST does it’s job perfectly, ending the classic first installment of Star Wars with a satisfying send-off. It is powerful and cheery and definitely the type of song that would play as you received a medal for blowing up a Death Star.
Same as most Star Wars end title songs, it contains a few of the scores from earlier on in the movie, and it transitions through them smoothly. Basically, with a dramatic conclusion and then combination of galactic tunes during the credits, it sums up the movie well. For that reason and others, it is actually going to be the only OST from A New Hope on here.
7. “Yoda’s Theme”
This soundtrack is so serene and beautiful. It makes me feel so safe, like Master Yoda has arrived to take all of my issues and responsibilities away. Many Star Wars OSTs need fast pacing and booming chords to create emotion, but this one lulls you to sleep, and still somehow is very emotional.
It also has its little moments of uncertainty and minor chords, adding drama to an otherwise peaceful song. I think it perfectly reflects my favorite little green Jedi: mysterious but pleasant.
6. “Qui-Gon’s Noble End”
Gotta love those tragic moments, especially when they’re successfully translated into music. When the beat drops, and the string section starts playing like their bows are on fire, anyone can tell that someone just got murked. It’s sad, but thrilling. I don’t describe very many songs as thrilling.
It starts with “Duel of the Fates”, has some demonic whispering, kills you with with a sudden crescendo of music-murder, and then fades out with “Duel of the Fates”. This song tells a story: the story of a man who died in a very musically-translatable way.
5. “Duel of the Fates”
The ultimate duel song. I’m listening to this song right now, and I’m feeling motivated to grab a lightsaber-shaped object and start swinging it at things. Earlier, I commended “Victory and Death” as very dramatic. Well, “Victory and Death” is basically the baby version of this song.
I’m no composer, but I know that when you have the string instruments flying, the brass instruments blasting, and dark and scary opera voices, you have the right formula for a chilling OST. With this one, I don’t even feel like I need to argue it’s greatness; just listen to it once and you will see where I’m coming from.
4. “The Mandalorian”
I feel that this is perhaps the most unique OST in Star Wars’s expansive library. It goes for a way different vibe. Most of Star Wars music is space-themed opera, while this is more Wild Western. The whole Mandalorian soundtrack went for that aesthetic, but no song compares to the protagonist’s theme.
It manages to sound old fashioned, and yet still factor in futuristic elements. It triggers thoughts of a heroic, gun-slinging cowboy. From the moment I heard this opening, I knew this series was going to be intense and the main character was going to kick some booty.
3. “Burying the Dead”
On paper this song doesn’t stack up to the rest; I mostly have it on here for personal reasons. I remember the first time I heard this OST, as I was finally finishing Clone Wars. It was depressing as hell. Vader found Ahsoka’s lightsaber, a few dismal notes rang out, and then it was all over. I took out my earbuds and just thought to myself, “Damn.”
It’s a song that properly wraps up the twelve-year adventure that was The Clone Wars. It’s tragic, because it is a song that says, “No going back”. Ahsoka and Anakin will never again fight side by side, and the show we loved will never air another episode. Damn.
2. “Ahsoka Leaves”
Some of you probably think I’m the antichrist for putting so many OSTs in from shows at the expense of the movies, when you were expecting the trilogies and John Williams’s name all over this list. To that I say: Star Wars television is the new era of Star Wars. This was never supposed to be a list of iconic scores that have proven to be timeless. These are my favorites, and what I think are the most moving songs from the galaxy far away. The shows have an underrated lineup of powerful songs.
On that note, this OST is incredible. It’s basically the same story as the last: a song that played during one of the most heartbreaking scenes of Star Wars. However, “Ahsoka Leaves” tops “Burying the Dead” as it is a more emotional and well-composed song. With its variety of soft, sad instruments, it earns its way to number two. This song is so sad that sometimes it will play in my head when I fail a test or accidentally rip one in public.
1. “Anakin’s Betrayal”
Anakin Skywalker is not only my favorite Star Wars character, but one of the best fictional characters of all time. “Anakin’s Betrayal” is a perfect portrayal of the fallen hero. It slowly builds up, before violently exploding in one glorious moment. You can hear the breaking point of the Chosen One in the music.
Almost every OST on this list is here because it is either tragic or intense. This is the only one I can say easily qualifies for both. It’s an action song that makes you want to cry, and that’s beautiful. It’s always sad when a character you love dies, but it’s even worse when they chose the wrong side in such an irredeemable way. That feeling of betrayal is encapsulated by this song.
Fans argue over the quality of Star Wars content, but we can all agree that it has great music. Originals, Prequels, Sequels, TV; each one of them has its share of moments where the music carries the scene. There are so many songs I wish I could have put on this list.
Many of you disagree with me, I’m sure, but I meant everything I said. These Original Soundtracks get me in the feels like no other OSTs. I hope I convinced you, the reader, that at least some of these are worth enjoying.