Posts Tagged ‘Ghostbusters’

Today I heard “Ghosbusters” (three times on two stations), “Thriller” (twice), and once each for “Spirits in the Material World,” “The Purple People Eater,” “Monster Mash,” “Season of the Witch,” and “Every Day Is Halloween.” From this sample I deduced that Christmas music is always about Christmas but Halloween music is never about Halloween.

Ray Parker, Jr.’s “Ghostbusters” is about ghosts, sure, but it’s also about as scary as “Y.M.C.A.”

Michael Jackson sets a scary scene in “Thriller,” but it turns out to be a movie on TV. “I can thrill you more than any ghost,” he claims. Uh-huh. As for Vincent Price’s monologue, remember that the root of it is “And whosoever shall be found/Without the soul for getting down/Must stand and face the hounds of hell/And rot inside a corpse’s shell.”

It’s always a mistake to put Vincent Price on your record.

Sting is scary, music by The Police is not.

Sheb Wooley’s Purple People Eater has one eye, one horn, flies, and devours people, but it came to Earth to form a rock ’n’ roll band. The last word in the song is “Tequila.”

In Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s “Monster Mash,” all they wanna do is dance, dance.

Songs with “witch” in the title are usually about a woman who won’t have sex with the singer. God knows what Donovan was getting at in “Season of the Witch.” He threw me with the line “Beatniks are out to make it rich.”

For the boys in Ministry, every day is Halloween because they dress like goths, not because they come to the door asking for candy.

David Bowie’s “Scary Monsters” are actually “super creeps,” Oingo Boingo’s dead men are going to a “Dead Man’s Party” which makes it a descendant of “Monster Mash,” and The Psychedelic Furs’ “The Ghost in You” is a love song, and not to a ghost.

We humans like being scared…in our books and movies. We love haunted houses and Halloween. We love opening the door on another batch of kids dressed as monsters, ninja assassins, witches, Jedis, superheroes, and roller-skating ninja assassin prom queens. But we don’t like being scared in our music. Wagner can be frightening, but that’s because I don’t want to be trapped for weeks in one of his operas.

Unidentified noises in the night, when we’re in bed, scare us. Songs don’t. I don’t know why.

Tonight, my parents opened the same door for trick-or-treaters that they’ve been opening since 1957. There must be adults who got candy from my Mom and Dad back when they were kids and who are now bringing their grandchildren around. And I’m their son. OK, now I’m scared.

 

“Ghostbusters”
Ray Parker, Jr.
1984

R&B hitmaker Ray Parker, Jr. once said that his biggest challenge in writing the theme song for this movie was the lack of words that rhyme with “ghostbusters.” PolitiFact rates this assertion as True. The only two rhymes I can think of are “feather dusters” and “workplace clusters,” neither of which work in the context of fighting off an invasion from the afterlife.

“Ghostbusters” is a rip-off of Huey Lewis & The Snooze’s “I Want a New Drug.” I don’t care which one came first. Both of them go on way too long (3:59 and 4:45, respectively) and anyway they’re both distant descendants of the “George of the Jungle” theme. In 1987, Michael Jackson reused this riff for “Bad” (at 4:06 it fits right in). The result of all this cross-pollination is that whenever I play Weird Al’s “I Want a New Duck” I hear this whole crowd singing.

Ghostbusters was a silly movie, but it gave us two lines that we’re still quoting here at the Bureau: “Zool, you nut” and “Here’s  your mucous, Egon.” Parker’s song gave us two more: “Who ya gonna call?” and “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.”

It was Loyal Reader Tilda who demonstrated the versatility of that second phrase. Shortly after the movie was released, when the Orioles were scheduled to play the Mariners, she announced, “I ain’t afraid of no birds!” I’ve been customizing this line ever since, particularly whenever I find myself trapped in another workplace cluster.

In honor of Tilda and her sidekick Rickalope’s 23rd anniversary, everyone go listen to Ray Parker’s “You Can’t Change That.”

Random Pick of the Week
Mark Lanegan Band, Blues Funeral (2012)
Tilda strikes again – thanks for the tip, kid. Mark Lanegan was the singer in Screaming Trees and a man who, judging from that work and his solo albums, never fails to find the gray cloud around every silver lining. Blues Funeral is not what I’d call perky, but I love two tracks, the rocking “Riot in My House” and the almost-danceable, techno-influenced, unapologetically romantic “Ode to Sad Disco.” I’d have to love that one just for putting the word “disco” on a Mark Lanegan album.

Random Pan of the Week
Can, Monster Movie (1969)
Rhapsody says of Can’s first record, “The band fails to play a single note that is not ahead of its time.” Big talk for an app with more bugs than a Cape Cod cranberry bog during an August sunset. These German avant-gardesters make me want to holler, and not about anything good.

RIP, Ray Manzarek (1939-2013). This. Is. The. End.