They say music is a universal language, and you certainly don’t have to understand the lyrics of a song to appreciate a good composition on its sonic merits. And indeed, what better way to connect with a hypothetical intelligent alien race – which, if it exists, probably is too wildly different than humanity for any kind of meaningful verbal interaction – than with song? That’s one of the reasons why there’s so much music encoded on the Voyager spacecraft’s “Golden Record,” and why science fiction-themed music is so apropos.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to get a handle on how exactly to adapt sci-fi to music. Some attempts – see Koto’s Italian disco tribute to Jabba the Hutt – are baffling, and others, especially ones involving former Enterprise captains, are just disastrous.
Fortunately, there are some rays of light – many sci-fi songs reach not only adequacy and enjoyability, but real greatness. Here are four of them.
The Imperial March (Star Wars)