From the Stereo to Your Screen: Bobby Brown and Ghostbusters II

“On Our Own” by Bobby Brown from Ghostbusters II

 

 

The video for Bobby Brown’s “On Our Own” is a textbook case of how music videos from films sometimes use the slimmest of connections in order to sell a movie. Watching the video, it seems like the director shot two different ideas for the song — one for the song before it was attached to the film, and the other afterward — and then stitched them together as best he could.

Visually, it’s a far cry from Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters,” from the first film, which featured all four Ghostbusters, and not just in clips. At one point, all of them are dancing in lockstep behind Mr. Parker, as they walk through Times Square. Even if you look past the lyrics to the song itself, which are as thematically related as you can get, when you watch the video, you can tell that Parker’s video was intended to be a tie-in with the film from the very start.

bobby brown - ray parker

The best part of “On Our Own” is that the opening rap is as danceable a summation of the film as one could possibly ask for. It seems pretty tacked-on, as well, but it at least has some tangential relation to Ghostbusters II. Does the rest of the song have much to do with the film? Not so much.

Same with the rest of the video, which basically uses Rick Moranis as the sole performer from the film, along with a bunch of randomly-inserted clips from the film, most of which play opposite Bobby Brown on huge screens set into the side of buildings.

bobby brown - screen

Basically, it looks like Bobby Brown shot a standard video on a soundstage somewhere, then the song got picked up as the theme song for Ghostbusters II, meaning that the budgest jumped up something crazy. Evidently, it was enough to be able to get such NYC randos as Saturday Night Live alum Jane Curtin and model Iman to make brief appearances, but not enough to have Bobby Brown ever interact with any of them.

Even at that, they basically give up on the premise of famous people watching Bobby on screens for the last minute and a half of the video, sticking with a static shot of one of said screens while he dances and sings.

All that said, I’d still rather this came on the radio than the theme to the first movie. It might only be related because of some money which turned it into product placement, but I’ll take New Jack Swing over Ray Parker’s Huey Lewis ripoff any day.

Nick Spacek

Nick Spacek

Nick Spacek writes about films scores in his monthly OST column for Starburst Magazine (http://www.starburstmagazine.com), and can be found talking about movie soundtracks via the From & Inspired By podcast (http:///www.fromandinspiredby.com). He was once a punk, but realized you can't be hardcore and use the word "adorable" as often as he does.
Nick Spacek
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