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Soundtrack Review

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Ghostbusters (2016)
Original Motion Picture Score


Composer: Theodore Shapiro
Label: Sony Classical
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 15 July 2016

Sony Classical release Theodore Shapiro's score for Ghostbusters. Thirty years after the beloved original franchise took the world by storm, director Paul Feig brings his fresh take to the supernatural comedy, joined by some of the funniest actors working today - Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth. This summer, they're here to save the world...

On the first listen through I have to confess that I wasn't overly struck on Theodore Shapiro's score for Ghostbusters. It didn't seem to flow very well and there was little in the way of memorable music. While it sounded big and bold, with a rousing orchestra and beautiful choral segments, it seemed to be all over the place stylistically.

However, when I checked the track listing of the review music files, I realised that they were structured not in album order, but alphabetically. So, I ordered them in the way Shapiro intended the listener to hear them in and suddenly the album took on a whole new sound. Now themes were slowly built and re-referenced throughout the score giving it a whole new sound.

Shapiro also takes a much more subtle approach to the movie's main theme, which is woven throughout the album, but is a much more atmospheric piece than you may be expecting. What I loved about this score was how Shapiro has played it straight. There are no light-hearted, fluffy segments of music; no nod and a wink to the audience that it's a comedy. What he delivers is edge-of-the-seat action adventure themes with the only break from this being the occasional subtle reference to the old Ghostbusters theme.

On subsequent play throughs I spotted little nods here and there to earlier tracks, important little things that no doubt reference callback moments in the movie. The homage to Ray Parker Jr's '80s Ghostbusters theme also had more impact, now being heard most prominently at the halfway point ('Ley Lines') as well as again towards the end of the album ('Battle of Times Square'). While it still has a very subtle reference in other tracks, the aforementioned tracks are where it's most prominent.

Over the course of this album's 21 tracks (51 min, 27 sec) highlights include 'The Aldridge Mansion' (which showcases the new theme); 'Distinct Human Form'; 'Entering The Mercado'; 'Into The Portal'; and 'NY Heart GB'.

It's a rousing, dark, beautiful score of epic proportions.


Darren Rea

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