Ghostbusters: Afterlife might not have been in the same league as the originals, but after the disappointment of Paul Feig’s well-intentioned but ultimately disastrous female-driven reboot, Ghostbusters: Afterlife came as a major relief to fans of the franchise. Accompanying the film was a soundtrack comprising of composer Rob Simonsen’s score, together with a selection of songs that feature throughout the movie. Here’s how we rank all the songs from the Ghostbusters: Afterlife soundtrack.
11. Haunted House – Mckenna Grace
Mckenna Grace didn’t just star in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, she contributed one of the songs to its soundtrack. Listen out for Haunted House as it plays across the closing credits. Despite the title, Grace didn’t actually write the song for the film, but wrote it as she was going through a tough time during the COVID pandemic. According to her, listeners “could take it as a breakup song, but it could also be about a friend or a family member or any kind of relationship that’s ended.”
10. Wait A Minute Girl – The Newday
If you’re in the mood for some sweet ’70s soul, the gorgeous Wait A Minute Girl from The Newday should do the job nicely.
9. Foolish Try – Kelly’s Lot
California-based band Kelly’s Lot blend contemporary folk with roots rock on this lovely gem from the Ghostbusters; Afterlife soundtrack.
8. The Clapping Song – Shirley Ellis
Written by Lincoln Chase, arranged by Charles Callello, and recorded by Shirley Ellis, The Clapping Song features lyrics from Little Rubber Dolly, instructions on how to play a clapping game, and a showstopping performance from Ellis that took the song to number 8 in the US and number 6 in the UK. Since its release in 1965, it’s sold over a million copies worldwide. It’s also been covered by a small army of other artists, including Belle Stars, Pia Zadora, Lil’ Kim, Icona Pop, and Aaron Carter.
7. Baby It’s You – The Shirelles
Burt Bacharach has always known how to make a hit record, and in 1961, he pulled a belter out of the bag with Baby It’s You. Produced by Luther Dixon, the song became a major hit on both the pop chart and the R&B chart, peaking at number three on the US R&B chart and number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. Numerous artists covered it in the following years, including Smith, who took it to number 5 in the US in 1969, and the Beatles, who made it a regular part of their live act from 1961 to 1963 before recording it for their debut album, Please Please Me. In 1994, a live version of the song was recorded from the band’s sessions at the BBC. It reached number 7 in the UK and number 67 in the US.
6. All Your Love (I Miss Loving) – Otis Rush
The blues standard All Your Love (I Miss Loving) has been recorded by multiple artists over the years, but it’s still Otis Rush’s 1958 original that’s widely regarded as the definitive version. It’s served as an inspiration for dozens of songs, including Black Magic Woman by Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac and Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ by Bob Dylan. In 2010, Rush’s version was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame.
5. Muddy Water – The Delmore Brothers
Without country music pioneers The Delamore Brothers, the American popular music landscape, and particularly the country music scene, would be a very different thing. Their impact is hard to overstate, as evidenced by Bob Dylan’s comment, “I think they’ve influenced every harmony I’ve ever tried to sing.” Their discography is as huge as their legacy is impressive, but the sublime Muddy Water from the Ghostbusters: Afterlife soundtrack is as good a place as any to start.
4. Boredom – Buzzcocks
If any song set the template for punk rock in the ’70s, it was Boredom. First recorded for the Buzzcocks’ 1977 EP Spiral Scratch, it’s one of the very few songs from the band to feature original singer Howard Devato, who by that point was already bored of punk (a movement most of the world was still blithely unaware off) and quit the band shortly after recording Spiral Scratch to start the post-punk band Magazine.
3. On the Road Again – Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson earned a major hit in 1980 when On the Road Again from his soundtrack album Honeysuckle topped the US country charts and reached number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also snapped up the Grammy Award for Best Country Song and earned a nomination for Best Original Song at the 53rd Academy Awards. It’s since been selected by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
2. Can You Get to That – Funkadelic
Funkadelic’s third studio album, Maggot Brain, might be best known for its sprawling, 10-minute long title track, but it takes more than one song for an album to be voted one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The entire thing is a funky, soulful delight – or, as Dave Segal of Pitchfork describes it, “a monument of psychedelic funk” and “a defining document of Black rock music in the early ’70s.” The acid-tinged freak-out of Can You Get to That is every bit as phenomenal as the rest of the album.
1. Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr
What would a Ghostbusters film (or soundtrack) be without this nugget of ’80s nostalgia from Ray Parker Jr? First released in June 1984, the song spent three weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. In 2008, it re-entered the charts at number 49, and in November 2021, it put in an appearance at number 38.