With a pounding drum beat, a bunch of synthesisers, and Patrick Stump's gritty vocals, Fall Out Boy's release for the Ghostbusters reboot is a more-than-decent revamp of the original theme, if not one which meanders more on the chilled side of 'unafraid.'
Thirty-two years ago, our cinema screens were graced with what would become the classic, loved-by-all, quoted-by-all Ghostbusters. Starring the enigmatic Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson as the four ‘busters, the film’s equally enigmatic theme song, written and recorded by Ray Parker Jr., was an immediate hit, nominated for Best Original Song at the 57th Academy Awards and leaving a long, celebrated legacy behind it in the years following, remaining one of the most anticipated tracks on any Halloween party playlist even today.
As July 15th fast approaches, so looms the release of Paul Feig’s modern, gender-swapped reboot over us like a dark shadow which threatens the stability of our male-centred society, whereby these men’s senses of masculinity and power can be decimated by just four comedians who have taken over their precious masculine roles. How will they ever be confident in their manliness in a world where women are allowed to bust some ghosts in a film? It’s a conundrum which has transformed their confusion into anger, which has drifted over from the trailer towards the soundtrack revamp by celebrated rock four-piece Fall Out Boy.
Of course, I am slightly kidding – the hate for Fall Out Boy’s new release has its roots in some legitimacy stemming from the song itself as opposed to its connection to the movie reboot. However, I do emphasise the word some there. A quick look at the song’s YouTube comments confirms my theory that any song for the reboot will be subjected to a similar amount of vehemence. “You are far too good to be involved with this train wreck of a movie,” wrote one clairvoyant fan, already an expert on the film a whole three weeks before its release. “Should’ve stuck with the original main melody…could have made it sick but you just made me sick,” another points out, so invested in the band that her own physical health is being sent spiralling downwards. Shame, really.
Whilst it is true that the only distinctive Fall Out Boy element of the new track is frontman Patrick Stump’s vocals, bare and gritty as they have been since the band’s hiatus, the song isn’t awful and not nearly as much of a train wreck as some would have you believe. The rest of the song is, indeed, a bit of a shock to those who either don’t subscribe to the Fall Out Boy fanbase or have been so out of touch that the last they heard of the band Infinity On High‘s ‘This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race’ or From Under The Cork Tree‘s ‘Sugar We’re Goin Down.’ With a multitude of distortion pedals, various levels of synthesisers, and no real big risks in terms of vocals or guitar solos – there are, in fact, zero solos in the entire 185 seconds of Stump repeatedly chanting about not being afraid – the whole song is, characteristically, very unlike Fall Out Boy.
Still, an anthemic, pounding drum beat is the driving force of the song – a pummelling, hard-hitting element which turns what was once cheesy into something that’s now slightly badass. Paired with Stump’s vocals, it’s modern and gritty and powerful, creating a revamped tone and perfect vibes for the reboot. Although it’s a little ironic that a song with no risks contains constant shouts of “I’m not afraid,” such a revamp was needed. Having something as cheesy as Ray Parker Jr.’s original for the new reboot would be totally unfitting. Perhaps Fall Out Boy wasn’t the right choice, but they’ve done well with the source material, and Missy Elliot’s contribution, although completely out of place, provides a nice, though really quite short and tacked-on, interlude – a welcomed added extra.
‘Ghostbusters (I’m Not Afraid)’ is out now via Columbia