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Randy Edelman's Ghostbusters II: Original Motion Picture Score (Sony Classical) Audio CD Review

 By Paul Rudoff on Dec. 13, 2021 at 12:00 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters 2, Music
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Sony Classical recently released Randy Edelman's Ghostbusters II: Original Motion Picture Score. Read on to find out more about it...

Before I get into this, I would like to send a HUGE THANK YOU to all of the Spook Central VIPs for providing the funds that allowed me to buy this item and review it for all of you. This item was NOT provided by the manufacturer.

Getting the score music for the Ghostbusters films took a lot longer than it should have. It took 22 years before we would finally get an official release of Elmer Bernstein's score for Ghostbusters. As long of a wait as that was, it would take 32 years before Randy Edelman's score for Ghostbusters II would finally be released.

First, let's look at the track list as shown on the back cover:

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Now, if you read over the names on that track list, it's pretty obvious that the names were created by someone who has never seen the movie before. Really, could someone please explain Track 8 "Rooftop Broom Kidnap" to me? No brooms were ever kidnapped on a rooftop in any version of the movie I've seen. Maybe it's in that long-rumored "Theatrical Cut" with Sherman Tully and Slimer flying out of Lady Liberty at the end.

A big problem with Sony's 2019 release of the Elmer Bernstein score was that the music was not in movie order. Sadly, that is still the case here, only it's even worse! In addition to tracks being out of movie order, we have a new problem: some of the tracks seem to be compilations of various pieces from all over the movie.

The press release for the album includes the following noteworthy tidbit: "The 16-track album includes original recordings of the film classic's score as well as 3 newly re-recorded tracks and an additional song originally recorded by Edelman for the film but not featured in its final production." It has been speculated by some fans that this album is actually an unreleased score album that was recorded around 30 years ago. I have been told that back then, Randy Edelman's film music tended to be compiled into "suites" like this, instead of being presented in film order. I've never heard any of Edelman's other released scores, so I don't know if this is true or not. The remark from the press release could be an indication of this being previously-recorded material, with the mention of "original recordings" and "3 newly re-recorded tracks". Of course, it could also mean that they used the original recordings that were done for the film, but had to re-record three pieces because the original recordings no longer existed.

Let's assume for a second that this is a previously-unreleased album recorded some 30-odd years ago. Sony would have chosen to release it "as is", without doing any new work on it (other than re-recording three tracks), because that's the cheapest thing to do. I can understand that. However, after all of the negative feedback regarding the track sequencing on the Elmer Bernstein 2019 score album, I have to believe that the team working on this album had to have known that fans in 2021 would be very unhappy with compiled "suite" tracks instead of individual pieces of music (aka "cues"). If I were given the task, I would have used the sources available to present the album in movie order, and then included the unreleased album as a bonus feature - a "Disc 2" - for those who purchase the CD and vinyl releases. That would help sell more physical copies, and give fans both possible choices.

I'm left to only speculate because there are no liner notes to clarify anything for me. For all I know, maybe the music is presented on this album as it was originally written, and it was later re-edited for the final film. I wasn't with Randy Edelman when he wrote the music, or when the final audio edit on the movie was done. I do get the feeling that that isn't the case. Maybe the team that worked on this album is responsible for this mash-up because they really wanted each track to be one to four minutes long (runtimes are listed on the Ghostbusters II Score Album page), because they couldn't justify charging $0.99 for 30-second tracks.

All I do know is that my enjoyment of the album was dampened a little bit because it was impossible to follow the movie along in my mind. After seeing the way these two score albums were done by Sony, at this point, I would love for the next home video release of both movies in 2024 to contain isolated score tracks for both films, so that we can have the music in movie order as it exists in the movie, which is what most fans want. I'd also like for those next 4K/Blu-rays to have the workprints of both films, the theatrical cut of Ghostbusters II, and the edited-for-TV 4:3 version of the first film. That's just wishful thinking on my part.

Okay, now I'll share some thoughts about the tracks themselves. I'm not going to detail everything - I'll leave that to someone with more time on their hands and a better memory for which pieces go where in the film - but I can point out a few things. I will also note that it's a bit difficult to properly dissect this due to so much of Edelman's score sounding alike or being reused in different spots.

As stated in the liner booklet: "Tracks 9 and 12 contain interpolations of "Ghostbusters" written by Ray Parker Jr. [...] Tracks 3, 6, and 10 and portions of Track 16 were newly recorded for this album. Track 12 was recorded for Ghostbusters II, but is not featured in the motion picture."

• Track 1 "A Few Friends Save Manhattan" is actually the "score medley" that closes out the end credits, so that should be the last track. Track 2 "A Baby Carriage Meets Heavy Traffic" is the track that should be first, which is the "Five Years Later" banner (though the Law & Order-esque heavy piano notes seem to be missing), with the ominous music as the slime bubbles up through the crack, and the light music that follows during the street scene. I think Track 2 might be one of the three newly re-recorded tracks that was mentioned in the marketing materials, as it sounds a little bit different at the start from what's heard in the film. Or maybe I'm just hearing things. Take a listen and decide for yourself, though bear in mind the movie clip has some sound effects added.

2. A Baby Carriage Meets Heavy Traffic (Movie Audio)

2. A Baby Carriage Meets Heavy Traffic (Album Audio)

• Track 3 "Venkman's 6th Ave. Strut" - Although only a portion is actually heard in the film, this is a fun jazz number that would be right at home on one of Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown scores.

3. Venkman's 6th Ave. Strut (30-Second Sample)

• Track 4 "Order in the Court" - The first 2:10 is from when the guys fight the Scoleris in the courtroom, of course. Then it transitions to the music heard while Oscar is on the ledge later in the film, before jumping to Peter and Dana in his apartment at the 3:06 mark.

• Track 5 "He's Got Carpathian Eyes" - Another example of out-of-order, as it is the piece that plays in the museum when Vigo has incapacitated the guys and is walking towards Oscar.

• Track 6 "The Sensitive Side of Dana" - Some of this piece was used in the film, and some of it sounds new to me.

• Track 8 "Rooftop Broom Kidnap" - This is a mix of the music when Peter and Dana are outside hailing a taxi for their date, the other three guys in the abandoned subway tunnel, Oscar on the ledge with the ghost nanny, more Peter and Dana outside, and Dana on campus visiting Egon.

• Track 9 "The Scoleri Brothers" - The first 1:00 is a bit from when the guys fight the Scoleris in the courtroom, then it's Ecto-1A pulling up to the museum to meet Peter outside (before the "routine spook check"), and at 1:21 it goes to other bits of music, including the Ray Parker Jr. song at 1:34.

• Track 10 "Oscar is Quietly Surrounded" - As with Track 6, there are bits that sound familiar, but the majority of it sounds new to me.

• Track 12 "One Leaky Sewer Faucet" - This quirky piece of music, which was not used in the film, sounds like an outtake from Danny Elfman's Pee-Wee's Big Adventure score.

12. One Leaky Sewer Faucet (30-Second Sample)

• Track 16 "Family Portrait / Finale" - This is, as expected, the music from the final scene in the film. However, from 1:30 to 2:47, instead of the Ray Parker Jr. song cutting in (to play under the main credits), we hear unused piano music that, I assume, was originally meant to play with the credits.

With the Bernstein score album, fans were able to post their own playlists of the ideal sequencing in the comments section of my review. That's going to be hard to do here due to music from different parts of the movie appearing in the same track. The fans would actually have to separate each track into individual pieces and then say, "The first 2:10 of Track 4 should go here, then the part from 2:10-3:06 should go there, and the part from 3:06 to the end goes over there." That's way too much work!

Also, with only 16 tracks and a 45-minute runtime, this album seems a bit on the short side to me.

Track sequencing aside, 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. I found several pieces that I thoroughly enjoyed, aside from what I was already familiar with from hearing in the film.

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

The six-page liner booklet features a cover that matches the Elmer Bernstein album from 2019, with the film's logo on black with a red border. My booklet is slightly miscut, so that the border on the right side gets thinner at the top. I know the side cut is off on all of the pages, but it's most obvious on the cover due to the edge of the border providing a visual indicator of how the alignment should be.

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Pages 1 and 2, and 3 and 4, all feature images from the film that are held together by pink mood slime.

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Page 5 contains the album credits, printed in pink text over a photo of the pink river of slime. Unlike the Elmer Bernstein album, the list of all of the musicians who performed on the album is NOT to be found on the physical product. You are directed to go online for the additional musician credits. Page 6 contains four more images from the movie. Maybe it's just me, but in my copy, the photos look a little pink-ish, especially the shot of the painting. The back cover of the booklet is a photo of the guys, Louis, and the Judge peering out from behind the partition in the courtroom.

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As seen in the front/back image at the top of this article, the back cover shows the Statue of Liberty standing next to the slime-covered museum. The inlay image (what appears under the disc) is the Washington Square Arch ghost. This image, more than any of the others, is a great example of how the print quality is really dark on these photos. I really have to wonder if the team that worked on the artwork simply grabbed frames from the movie instead of using original photographs

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Overall, the lack of a liner essay (like the Bernstein album had) and any real explanation for the way the music is laid out is a real disappointment. While the use of the pink slime is a nice touch, the way the photos are displayed is still very basic and lazy. Also, there are far less pages and photos than in the Bernstein album booklet.

Even the disc artwork is a disappointment. The Bernstein album has a nice "hands in" group shot on the face of the disc, but this disc just recycles the same logo image used on the front cover.

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Despite all of its problems, this is the only release of Randy Edelman's music for Ghostbusters II that we have. So, in lieu of a "perfect" version later on, it is recommended.

Randy Edelman's Ghostbusters II: Original Motion Picture Score is available on Audio CD, Vinyl Record, and Digital MP3. The vinyl disc features a pink slime splatter effect, in a sleeve with an interior collage showcasing the main four Ghostbusters and Dana, along with images from the film that are held together by pink mood slime.

7 comments

Comment from: Zidders Roofurry [Visitor]

This is such a shame. I don’t know why Sony can’t do a better job making sure fans of this movie get a decent release. As soon as it’s on Spotify I’ll do my best to follow your notes and piece together some kind of improved running order but by compiling cues together they’ve really mucked things up.

Aug. 11, 2021 @ 00:42
Comment from: Chrono Score Guy [Visitor]

Just a few updates:

• Track 4 - The second section is from when Dana gives Oscar a bath.

• Track 8 - The first part is Louis asking Janine on a date, Oscar on the roof and then right after the birthday party at the beginning.

• Track 9 - On another forum there has been discussion about the music after :59 being an alternate when the team pulls up to the museum. Aside from some looping, :59-1:20 matches when the ghostbusters interrupt Dana and Peter’s date.

Aug. 13, 2021 @ 01:04
Comment from: Chrono Score Guy [Visitor]

Here’s the score in film order:
S2 - A Baby Carriage Meets Heavy Traffic (2:01)
S8C - Rooftop Broom Kidnap (2:42-End) [Rename to “No More Parties"]
S14 - Good With Kids (1:23)@
S15 - Enlightenment (1:32)
S9A - The Scoleri Brothers (:00-:59) [Rename to “The Verdict"]
S4A - Order in the Court (:00-:2:09.4)
S13C - Vigo’s Last Stand (2:05.65-End) [Rename to “Carpathian Kitten Loss"]
S4B - Order in the Court (2:09.4-3:05.5) [Rename to “Bath Time"]
S9C - The Scoleri Brothers (1:20-End) [Rename to “Suck in the Guts (Alternate)"]
S4C - Order in the Court (3:05.5-End) [Rename to “She Cleaned"]
S8A - Rooftop Broom Kidnap (:00-:38) [Rename to “Asking Janine Out"]
S11B - A Slime Darkened Doorway (1:16.8-End) [Rename to “Developing Photos"]
S11A - A Slime Darkened Doorway (:00-1:16.8) [Rename to “River of Slime"]
S9B - The Scoleri Brothers (:59-1:20) [Rename to “No Reservations"]
S8B - Rooftop Broom Kidnap (:38-2:42) [Rename to “Rooftop"]
S7 - In Liberty’s Shadow (3:48)
S13B - Vigo’s Last Stand (1:15.9-2:05.65) [Rename to “Janosz is Hosed"]
S5 - He’s Got Carpathian Eyes (2:34)
S13A - Vigo’s Last Stand (:00-1:15.9)
S16 - Family Portrait (:00-1:29.86)
S1 - A Few Friends Save Manhattan (2:01)

Unused/Newly Composed Tracks:
S12 - One Leaky Sewer Faucet (1:13)
S3 - Venkman’s 6th Ave. Strut (3:06)
S6 - The Sensitive Side of Dana (4:08)
S10 - Oscar is Quietly Surrounded (4:23)
S16 - Finale (1:29.86-End)

Aug. 13, 2021 @ 11:19
Comment from: NSGhostbusters (Noah) [Visitor]

I was so excited for this release,but to have it come out like this is really sad. Guess I’m sticking to my bootlegs. - Noah

Aug. 13, 2021 @ 19:38
Comment from: JR [Visitor]

Personally, I’m extremely grateful for this release. After three decades of atrocious bootleg quality, one can finally enjoy Edelman’s efforts in stunning richness. The fact that the cues aren’t in sequence with the narrative of the film is common in soundtrack albums, as the composers and their producing teams are trying to sequence an album that makes for a listening experience that flows well musically. A score as it is written for a film doesn’t always achieve this on it’s own. For this reason, and to fit as much wonderful music in as possible, the albums are edited into a series of ’suites’ you might say. I have no doubt that film music aficionados will go gaga for this release! For anyone wishing to run the story in their heads while listening along…go watch the film. -JR

Aug. 14, 2021 @ 13:31
Comment from: PEDRO FERREIRA [Visitor]

This is the first OST for the movie so I assume somewhere down the line we’ll get a two disc release from some company like Intrada with linear notes.

There is obviously room for improvement.

Aug. 17, 2021 @ 16:17
Comment from: Stefano Pavone [Visitor]  

Thank goodness for an official release, and thank Chrono Score Guy for the correct order. I’ve taken the liberty of doing so on my PC. I actually like some of the previously unheard cues, and the jewel in the crown has finally been obtained. :)

Aug. 19, 2021 @ 15:35

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