Monday, July 25, 2016

Gaming Soundtracks: Ghostbusters 2016


This is post number 25 in the series “31 Days of Ghostbusters,” a celebration of the franchise’s return to the big screen.

Now I’d like to talk about the other Ghostbusters 2016 soundtrack, the one with popular singles used in the movie rather than the score.

I didn’t expect to like this album. Part of this is because I prefer instrumental scores to vocal tracks (especially as game music), and also because I’m a bit set in my musical ways and don’t often like modern music, and furthermore because I didn’t expect new versions of the Ghostbusters theme to be any good (after being burned on this with the Ghostbusters 2 soundtrack).

But I love it! It’s fun, and high-energy, and I’ll be damned, the new renditions of the Ghostbusters theme are enjoyable—every single one. This album features four versions of the Ghostbusters theme song. I think the decision to include multiple variants like this was absolutely the right thing to do. For me, if we’d been given one “new” Ghostbusters theme, that would really invite comparison to the original, classic, awesome Ghostbusters theme. (See Ghostbusters 2.) But throwing a bunch at us reminds us that all of these are just new options that don’t have to replace anything. For each of the new themes, my advice for using in a game is the same: use this as an alternate for when you would use the Ghostbusters theme to freshen things up and keep from overusing the original.

  1. Ghostbusters by Walk the Moon. A good introduction to the new Ghostbusters themes that doesn’t stray so far from the original that it would be jarring, but still has a fresh new sound.
  2. Saw It Coming by G-Eazy featuring Jeremih. This one has a good sound, and the lyrics reference ghosts, but I’ll be honest, I don’t know what the hell the song is about.
  3. Good Girls by Elle King. A thematically-appropriate song (and cheerful) about doing “what good girls don’t.” I like it. In-game, maybe use for an action montage.
  4. Girls Talk Boys by 5 Seconds of Summer. This is a fun song, though a bit counter to the idea of a movie that handily passed the Bechdel Test. (To be fair, the ladies DID spend some time talking about Kevin.)
  5. wHo by Zayn. (Not featured in the film.) This is almost a Ghostbusters theme in itself, with the repeated lyric "Who you gonna call, gonna call?” (It sounds better than it reads.) “wHo” is a slower, more romantic song, though, so probably not suitable for use as a game-session-starter. If you have a PC being romanced by a ghost, though, cue this one up.
  6. Ghostbusters by Pentatonix. (Not featured in the film.) An a capella Ghostbusters theme? I’m in! And I love it.
  7. Ghoster by Wolf Alice. (Not featured in the film.) Nice beat, nice ghosty-combat lyrics, even a good title. Maybe usable for a scene of ecto-balls-to-the-wall fighting.
  8. Ghostbusters (I'm Not Afraid) by Fall Out Boy featuring Missy Elliott. The fourth of the Ghostbusters theme variants diverges even more than the a capella version, but surprisingly I still like it.
  9. Get Ghost by Mark Ronson, Passion Pit & A$AP Ferg. I’m not counting this one as a theme variant, though like “wHo” it does borrow elements from the Ray Parker, Jr. song. This one, though, might be suitable for use when you’d otherwise use the theme song. If you imagine your game as a TV show, this would work well for the end credits.
  10. Party Up (Up In Here) by DMX. If your Ghostbusters break into dance at HQ, definitely use this track.
  11. Rhythm of the Night by DeBarge. As with “Party Up,” this track was used in a light scene at Ghostbusters HQ. No one would blame you for doing the same. (And Holzmann would approve.)
  12. American Woman by Muddy Magnolias. This is a high-octane anthem for strong women, suitable for a scene of ghostly ass-kicking.
  13. Want Some More by Beasts Of Mayhem. This song was playing when the Ghostbusters fought Mayhem at the Stonebrook Theatre. When your Ghostbusters engage in a similar fight, feel free to use this song.
  14. Ghostbusters by Ray Parker, Jr. I can’t find any info on this track other than a copyright date of 2010 in the liner notes. It sounds extremely similar to the 1984 original but I’m pretty sure it’s a variant version. If you have any more information on this track, dear reader, please let me know in the comments.