Alright, kids: We can debate the merits of scantily-clad-hillbilly-rebel-chicks-who-make-out-with-their-brothers v. scantily-clad-green-alien-chicks until we’re blue in the face. We can dissect the coolness factor of those aboard the Millennium Falcon v. the U.S.S. Enterprise until the proverbial space cows come home. Hell, we can even argue epic hero’s journey/space opera v. dramatization of the socioeconomic power plays between capitalism, communism, fascism, socialism, imperialism, expansionism… wait, is there really that much of a difference?
But despite the constant back-and-forth (or perhaps because of it), there’s one question that remains to be asked: Which franchise has contributed the best music and inspired the largest number of culturally relevant spin-offs? Or, in simpler terms…
Star Wars v. Star Trek: Who can claim the greatest share of ROCK?
There’s more, so make like Van Halen: Go ahead and JUMP!
We’ll kick things off with Voltaire. A huge shout-out is due to Riker for the tip. Sadly, I was unfamiliar with this NYC-based outfit self-described as Neo-Victorian gypsy punk gone country, but I like what I hear thus far. And thanks to my mad interweb skillz, I can only assume that Riker’s somewhat opaque reference was meant to steer me in the direction of Banned on Vulcan. While I don’t have the time at the moment to listen to the four-song EP in its entirety, I feel that I can safely award Star Trek 42 points straight out of the gate (first fanboy to name the reference gets a cookie). But let’s see if that’s enough to compete…
The Dr. Demento Factor
As anyone who’s ever listened to “Dead Puppies,” “They’re Coming to Take Me Away,” or “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” can tell you, life is just a little bit sweeter when you’re familiar with Dr. Demento. And surprise, surprise! Both our favorite intergalactic franchises have a connection. So let’s investigate.
In the Star Wars corner, we have Weird Al’s “Yoda,” a parody of “Gloria” by Them “Lola” by The Kinks (I’m going to go pen a formal letter of apology to Van Morrison… whilst sitting in the corner). Given the relative popularity of the song, I won’t embed a YouTube video or any such nonsense, but suffice it to say the entirety of the song’s lyrics amount to one big gargantuan Star Wars reference, for which I will award 5 points, plus a bonus 2 points for being played on Dr. Demento.
But there’s also the somewhat lesser-known “The Saga Begins:”
…so I’ll award another 3 points.
But the good doctor has a soft spot for Star Trek as well. First and foremost, there’s “Star Trekkin’”—if your ears haven’t already been assaulted by this, I suggest you think long and hard before clicking play. Consider yourself warned…
Don’t say I never tried to do you any favors.
Actually, truth be told, I’m a little fond of this song. Minus the godforsaken chick who sounds not unlike a mental patient with a tank of helium, the use of Star Trek’s well-worn dialogue is pretty fun. So 5 points for an ok song with Dr. Demento street cred, minus 2 for making me want to puncture my own ear drum every 20 seconds or so… for a net 3 points in Star Trek’s favor.
But We’re Not Done With Weird Al Just Yet…
In addition to the two Star Wars-related parodies featured on Dr. Demento, Weird Al’s got another space opera gem with “My Name Is (Darth Vader).” And for this, I award Star Wars 1 point… because quite frankly, Eminem is played out, so I can’t justify any more than that.
In Star Trek territory, however, we’ve got “White and Nerdy:”
Actually, there are quite a few Weird Al songs that make Star Trek references, but they all seem to be limited to one or two lyrics, whereas Star Wars gets three full-length parodies devoted to it. As such, I can only justify a solid 5 points for Weird Al’s aggregate Star Trek references.
The Princess Goes Pop-Punk
If you’re unfamiliar with Blink-182 pre-2000, you may have missed their own homage to Star Wars, “A New Hope.” At any rate, it’s a fantastic song, and simply for including the lines “And even though I’m not as cool as Han / I still want to be your man; / You’re exactly the kind of Alderranian that I need. / But when you were available I was / drinking Colt-45s with Lando; / I was hanging out in the Cantina on Mos Eisley” I’ll award this gem an even 10 points.
But Star Wars doesn’t have a lock on the pop-punk genre. My beloved Nerf Herder has “Mr. Spock.” Sadly, I can’t seem to find a YouTube music video with any sound, so here’s the making of:
And of course, the truly nerdy of you should already be ahead of me at this juncture, but just in case we’ve got any newbies in the audience, I’ll come right out and say it: The fact that Nerf Herder has a song that references Star Trek is negated by the fact that the band’s entire name is a giant Star Wars reference. Sorry, Trekkies; no points for you here.
But While We’re On the Subject…
We may as well talk about a little band called Eisley. Originally, they went by the name Mos Eisley, but in fear of retribution from George Lucas and his copyright infringement minions, they decided to nix the Mos. Consequently, every song put out by this band past, present, and future goes into the Star Wars column. And while, yes, it’s not exactly “cool” music, chicks (and somewhat effeminate men) seem to dig it. And hetero chicks dig guys who will listen to the music that they’re into. Which means that listening to Eisley could help you get laid. All of which nets Star Wars 19 points (and thus begins round 2 of “Name that Fanboy Reference”).
Still, Let’s Get Back to Music You May Have Actually Heard
Ladies and gentlemen (although let’s be honest: mostly gentlemen), I now bring you the song that I hope has been on every Star Trek fan slash music aficionado’s mind since you started reading this post:
Yeah, don’t pretend like you weren’t already thinking it… or maybe I’m the only one who vividly remembers songs from the 1990s, in which case maybe you could just humor me? Ok, thanks. At any rate, we find ourselves with another point for Stark Trek, obviously. But two franchises can play at that game.
If you aren’t already familiar with The Aquabats, I sort of pity you. But you’re in for a treat now (sadly, it’s just audio, but still, it’s worth including here):
Honestly, simply for the lines “Greedo, Chewbacca, Luke, R2, and Han / 3PO, Yoda, Boba Fett, and Obi-Wan,” I must award this song a minimum of 7 points.
Even more obscure, we’ve got “Grudge,” by Pain. While obscurity is inherently cool, the fact that Star Wars is only referenced in like a single line only merits 1 point.
This Is Getting Boring—Make With the Laughs, Already
Funny you should mention that! I direct your attention to Adam Sandler’s Chanukah Song (as originally performed on SNL):
So 2 points for Star Trek, but 1/4 point for Harrison Ford.
Is This Post Over Yet?
…all of which brings us to a running total of Star Trek, 53, to Star Wars, 48.25. It’s neck and neck, but there’s a hell of a lot more nerdy music where this came from! Rest assured that I’ve got a lot left up my sleeve (Eminem, Bloodhound Gang, William Shatner (obviously), Phish (what?), Kanye West, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gnarls Barkely (again, duh), Nena (you knew it was coming), and Queen for starters), but I encourage YOU, dear reader, to post a comment below and tip me off to anything I may have missed so that I can be sure to include it in the next round. This battle is far from over…
Image courtesy Botropolis.