Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Various Artists: Ghostbusters Original Sountrack Album

Review # 72
Artist: Various Artists
Title: Ghostbusters Original Soundtrack Album
Format: LP
Label: Arista Records
Year: 1984
Songs: 10

With Halloween fast approaching, I wanted to make sure I did at least one more seasonally themed review. Even if it weren't Halloween time, who doesn't love Ray Parker Jr.'s Ghostbusters theme song? It's catchy and fun. It went to #1 on the Billboard charts. Lawsuits from Huey Lewis aside, it's a great little tune and is a big part of what made the movie memorable.

 I put this record on every year at this time, and it brings back all kinds of childhood memories of playing Ghostbusters for hours, sometimes convincing neighbors to let me into their homes to search for ghosts, and on at least one occasion convincing one of them to play me for catching one.  I must have been a cute kid, I guess, to get away with charging my neighbors to play in their houses. I was borderline obsessed with the Ghostbusters from ages 6 to about 9, watching the cartoon show every Saturday and renting the movie countless times. The song "Ghostbusters" brings it all back, as do a few of the other tracks on this soundtrack.

Selecting this record for review, however, has reminded me why I almost never make it all the way through this LP. It's got some pretty bad patches. It starts strong with Ray Parker Jr.'s famous tune, and that's followed by the (I think) underappreciated BusBoys song "Cleanin' Up the Town." It's no "Ghostbusters," but this is a fun tune in a swingin' jazzy style about our heroes that gets your foot tapping and your fingers snapping. This is followed by Allesi's "Savin' the Day," which is super dramatic but fun synth-pop. It's cheesy, and it calls to mind the scene where the boys roll up to Spook Central to save the day, which, alongside the over-the-top dramatic cheese of the song itself makes this a fun one if you're a fan of the film.

But after that, it just goes downhill.  Side one finishes up with "In the Name of Love" by the Thompson Twins, which I just find annoying and can't really remember from the film, and then a boring song by the always faux-mantic Air Supply.  Side two doesn't improve much.  It starts with "Hot Night," performed by Laura Branigan, who sounds like a low-rent Pat Benatar. This is followed by Mick Smiley's "Magic," which is pretty forgettable. Then we get two songs from the score of the film, "Dana's Theme" and "Main Title Theme [Ghostbusters]," the latter of which is not an orchestral version of Parker's song as you might think, but instead is a piece instrumental music that plays repeatedly throughout the film. You might remember this tune, unless I'm mistaken, as "the music that plays while the Ghostbusters have to go up a lot of stairs." These are both pieces of music that work fine in the context of the film, but I'm not sure how well they stand alone. The record finishes with an instrumental version of Parker's #1 hit.

So, yeah.  I've never really thought about why I usually turn this off part way through the first side, but I guess the bottom line is, I really only want to hear the first three songs on this record, unless I'm hearing them in the context of the film, which I still love and watch every couple of years.

Everyone's heard these songs, especially the title track.  But you may not have seen the music video, which is hilarious and includes orignal content featuring our four ghost bustin' heroes.  You can check that out here: http://youtu.be/KvkKX035484

I don't know if I'll get to another post before Halloween. If I do, I'll try to pick another seasonal choice, but if not, have a great Halloween, and don't be afraid of no ghosts.

Total songs listened: 881

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