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Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Soundtrack/Score Album Audio CD Review

 By Paul Rudoff on Apr. 30, 2024 at 10:15 PM , Categories: Music, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Sony Masterworks recently released the Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album featuring the score music from the film. Read on to find out more about it...

Although the album is called the "Original Motion Picture Soundtrack", it does not contain the few pieces of licensed music (aka "needle drops") used in the film. This is actually the "Original Motion Picture SCORE" album featuring the music cues composed by Dario Marianelli and Elmer Bernstein. Let's start by taking a look at the track list:

  1.  1:55  Manhattan Adventurers Society
  2.  4:08  The Sewer Dragon
  3.  0:58  Firehouse
  4.  1:52  Ray's Occult
  5.  1:22  A Ghost in the Attic
  6.  2:27  Chess in the Park
  7.  1:18  When the Light is Green...
  8.  3:08  Paranormal Research Center
  9.  0:40  A Call
10.  1:52  The Orb
11.  3:06  A Tour of the Firehouse
12.  1:13  Slimer
13.  1:32  Dadi's Secret Room
14.  1:45  Should We Investigate?
15.  3:52  Dr. Wartzki
16.  3:04  Patience
17.  1:10  Golden Years
18.  1:45  It's Your Turn
19.  3:57  Ionic Separator
20.  1:11  Now He Can Control You
21.  1:44  The Horns
22.  1:05  Back to Headquarters
23.  2:20  New Proton Packs
24.  2:02  Possessor's Mistake
25.  2:17  Was Any of it Real?
26.  4:11  Last Frozen Stand
27.  1:51  The Thawing
28.  3:21  In The Fabric of the Universe

The total time is 1:01:06 and, as you can see, the tracks are listed in movie order. YAY! The track names might be considered a spoiler to some, but at this point, I doubt there's anyone left who wants to see the film that hasn't already.

If you love Elmer Bernstein's Ghostbusters score, you'll like this. That's because 60% of the music is what Mr. Bernstein wrote, either note-for-note or interpolated. This is a big improvement over Rob Simonsen's Afterlife score, which was more like 90% Bernstein. Dario Marianelli's original pieces are a joy to listen to, and fit beautifully with Ghostbusters, so it's a shame that there isn't more of it and less of Bernstein's work. Randy Edelman and Theodore Shapiro created completely original scores for their respective films, so why can't Simonsen and Marianelli?

The quality of the music, in and of itself, sounds great. It's quite rich and clear, and makes excellent use of the stereo space between my headphones.

Moving on, let's take a quick look at the packaging.

The ten-page liner booklet features a cover that uses one of the movie's many poster images, showing Ecto-1 heading towards Garraka hanging over an iced-over Manhattan. The booklet's back cover features a common photo of Slimer in the firehouse attic following a Cheetos trail towards a ghost trap. All 15 of the photos used in the booklet are common photos that were uploaded to the Sony press site.


On pages 1 and 2 you'll find a two-page photo of the frozen firehouse, with the track list on page 1.


Pages 3 and 4 contain a two-page photo of Garraka entering the firehouse, while on the extreme right side of Page 4 are three stacked photos: Gary and Callie in the basement looking at the ice damage, Phoebe holding a blowtorch, and the Sewer Dragon.


Page 3 has the following note from film director Gil Kenan, which is dated March 2024:
The Yamaha DX-7 was plugged straight into the board in the historic John Williams studio building on the Columbia Pictures lot one damp Saturday in January. As the first notes were struck, the instrument became a time machine that transported all of us lucky enough to be in the room straight back to 1984. It didn't hurt that the player was Peter Bernstein, the first film's orchestrator, and son of the late great Elmer Bernstein. Elmer's score for GHOSTBUSTERS ('84) swung for the fences. It's a brilliant and unorthodox score that elevated that film's tone and mythology where other comic film scores would have undercut or satirized.

When Dario Marianelli and I started our conversations at the beginning of our latest collaboration on GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE, the notion of musical tone inevitably came up. Ghostbusters is a comedy franchise, but it takes its dramatic stakes seriously. Dario set out to support a new thematic invention, that would introduce audiences to our villain, an evil god named Garraka. That theme, evoking ancient supernatural battles, can be heard in the climax of "The Horns" - the piece is primo Dario, with a cinematic tone that reaches to opera and golden age Hollywood in its expansiveness. It's one of my favorite pieces on this soundtrack, and in grand Ghostbusters tradition, it elevates the scene of Garraka coming to his full strength and imbues it with scope and power and urgency. Just the thing for a bunch of outsiders with proton packs to fling laser beams at...

But the piece that started our journey on this film is very different from the brassy fanfare that accompanies Garraka. It's a small, lyrical and haunting piece of music that Dario wrote for the character of Melody before I started filming. The emotionality in the music gave me a throughline to hang the film on, aside from being an achingly beautiful piece of film music. It was written by Dario as a suite for the Ondes Martenot, a vintage electronic instrument which is heavily associated with Bernstein's 1984 soundtrack but given space to perform as a central melodic voice in the piece. Then as now, the instrument is performed by the incredible Cynthia Millar.

I'm uniquely proud of the music that Dario has created for our new Ghostbusters film and for the way that it communes with the notes and sounds left for us by Mr. Bernstein, either inscribed on paper or transmitted by his son through an old keyboard plugged straight into the board.
Pages 5 and 6 contain the names of all of the individual musicians.


Page 7 has a collage of three more photos (framed with icicles): Trevor looking right, Phoebe looking at a Mini Puft, and Lars handling the orb while the others surround him in the Paranormal Research Center. Page 8 contains album credits.


Page 9 contains a few final album credits and Thank Yous, while Page 10 features a few final photos: The crew in the police station, Gary and Peter having a chat in the basement (from a deleted scene), Nadeem's secret room, and Phoebe walking down the basement stairs in full gear.


The back cover, and the inlay image (what appears under the disc), are from the Sewer Dragon chase, both showing Phoebe (stunt double Acei Martin) in the gunner seat firing at the blue beastie.



The disc features a cloudy sky.


Although I would have preferred more original music, and less pulling from Elmer Bernstein's work, I still enjoyed this album. It is highly recommended.

The Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is available on Audio CD and Digital MP3. A vinyl release is expected later this year. Stay tuned to the official Sony Music social media channels for an announcement.

You may have noticed that Amazon's listing for the CD says "UK imports may differ from local products". Don't be alarmed. This is because the CD is manufactured in Europe, as noted in the small print on the back cover. Don't let this make you hesitant in ordering a copy. The album artwork is entirely in English and the CD will play perfectly on any device you have that plays CDs. Audio CDs are not region-coded, like DVDs and Blu-rays, so they will play worldwide.


Finally, if you'd like to win a copy of the future vinyl version of the soundtrack album, Sony Music is currently running a Ghostbusters Soundtrack Giveaway, from now until June 8, 2024 for everyone residing in the following countries: Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, United States. There will be five winners total, all of whom will get a copy of the soundtrack vinyl, along with several other Ghostbusters goodies.

Images scanned and/or photographed by me. This item has been provided by Sony Music for review on this site.

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