This is a big year for Star Wars on vinyl.
The last couple weeks have revealed two separate vinyl releases for Star Wars fans. The first was an excellent two record set of the Episode IV soundtrack on a limited edition 180 gram vinyl release. The second is the holographic Force Awakens double album set which also comes in an immaculate looking collector's gate fold. Both releases will find themselves right at home with the avid Star Wars and music collector alike.
The first being a repressing of the original soundtrack with packaging that duplicates the vintage 1977 set. The albums both sound great and present John Williams' A New Hope score in a fresh looking gold vinyl that looks extremely pretty. If anything, it could be said that the 'gold' finish looks more like a champagne in color. However, this is a small complaint when being able to experience this brilliant science fiction soundtrack on vinyl. Unlike the vintage release, the sleeve has no luster and has a much more flat look. Yet, the packaging is still heavy and won't take too much damage. People that are just being introduced to vinyl should definitely look into picking this one up. It's a must have especially if you don't have an earlier copy.
As a re-release, fans are taken back to a time when Williams was doing some of his best work. At a measly $32, this is a great value for an all time classic soundtrack that replicates the vintage artwork from the '77 originator. As far as sound goes, Sony Classical has done a brilliant job not tainting the audio quality, with this pressing sounding nearly identical to the decades old release of this soundtrack.
Secondly, The Force Awakens soundtrack was pressed on a sweet looking holographic double album set. As a package, this is how it should be done. The holograms only seen on spinning vinyl is a cool gimmick and the glossy book-like insert is just an added bonus. Collectors will definitely enjoy having this in their library. However, the price tag is a tad steep at over fifty dollars. If you're planning on picking this up, you might want to do it soon as this is selling out relatively fast.
Sadly for listeners, The Force Awakens score is not as great a work as Williams previous musical entries. The songs fall flat at times and don't have the same heroic flair of his earlier masterpieces. I had actually mentioned this when reviewing the film back in December. This score is nowhere near as captivating as The Empire Strikes Back or Phantom Menace soundtracks and doesn't live up to the expectations we have from a Williams musical release. If you're a completist like myself, you might just want it to fill out your collection.
The coming months will see re-releases of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi both in the double record gold vinyl set. Keep checking back for short reviews on those.