While the internet remains so clickably divided along lines of hyperbole over the quality of the new Ghostbusters movie, there is one reasonable statement on which we can all agree: The new Ghostbusters theme song is concentrated awfulness, the aural equivalent of a psycho-reactive mood slime undulating through the city sewers, feeding off our collective negativity, then converting it into hot-pink garbage that seeps into your pores and makes you irrationally hostile.
A collaboration between Fall Out Boy, Missy Elliott, executive decision, and spite, “Ghostbusters (I’m Not Afraid)” updates Ray Parker Jr.’s theme for the grammatically pedantic, yet otherwise undiscerning kids of 2005, and the invective it’s received has been as intense as any other conversation about this damn movie. But in the song’s case, accusations of tarnishing a classic work of art about the thrills of starting a ghost-vacuuming business with your friends are perhaps more justified. After all, no one even bothered to talk to Parker first.
In an interview with Inside Edition, Parker says he wishes that someone involved with the remake has asked aloud whether, under such unusual circumstances, there was someone they should call, and furthermore, who that someone might be, and whether that someone shouldn’t be Ray Parker Jr. “I wish they had called me to maybe work with some of the younger guys and help them get a direction,” Parker says, elucidating just one of many situations in which a call should have been made and to whom.
Still, displaying the sort of artistic bonhomie long synonymous with the man who once paid an undisclosed settlement to Huey Lewis, Parker wasn’t so overly protective of his work that he couldn’t graciously sidestep condemning this copy he can’t exactly sue over.
“Interesting,” he shrugged of the song, adding, “I’m not going to say it’s good or bad. I’m just going to say, well, maybe I’m an old guy now, and I like it the old way.” It’s a fair, diplomatic response that perhaps the film’s loudest detractors could take a lesson from as well, acknowledging that the passage of time and shifting sensibilities inevitably leaves one fiercely aware of their own aging and subsequent marginalization, which spurs them to rage fecklessly against the dying of the light by lashing out melodramatically against anything they perceive as a threat to the cherished cultural artifacts they believe comprise the identity they feel is slowly being eroded from them.
But of course, Parker’s wrong, and everyone knows the new “Ghostbusters” is literally the sound of your inner child puking up its organs until it dies.