I noticed recently that the word “ghost” appears in a shit ton of songs in my Spotify library. So in honor of All Hallow’s Eve I compiled my top eleven songs featuring the word in the title. Not really a Halloween playlist so to speak but… whatever. Here we go gals and ghouls (facepalm):
I included YouTube links below (when I could) and made a Spotify playlist if you wanna play along… ’cause that’s how lame I am. You’re welcome
1. Holy Ghost Gunnin by Dead Feather Moon: Why not start local? This song has a kick-ass ethereal opening and builds a sense of urgency with its rapid drum beats. Justen Berge’s vocals are matched well with the slide guitar sounds and overall somber tone of the song.
2. Ghosts We’re Buried On by The Dudes: Decidedly different, this awesome Canadian band does a lot of what I’d call “party music” – great to dance to and fun themes like partying and hooking up- my kinda Canucks. This one offers their funky signature guitar licks and gritty rock ‘n’ roll vocals. Plus some organs and harmonizing. All around awesome.
3. Is There a Ghost by Band of Horses: Whenever possible I will put Band of Horses on a song list. This fast-paced, short song manages to do a lot with just a few words. Showcasing Ben Bridwell’s awesome falsetto the beginning of the song builds in its pace and fervor after a minute the guitars bust in and tear the mofo apart. Love love love me some BOH, especially the album this came from – Cease to Begin.
4. The Ghost Inside by Broken Bells: This catchy song is one of many bright spots on the one and only album by James Mercer of The Shins and Danger Mouse. Mercer hits some extreme high notes, some haunting harmonies and hand claps round the thing out… Plus the fucking video features Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks- seriously what more could you ask for? Hello, nurse.
5. Your Ghost by Greg Laswell: Laswell did an entire Covers EP which was damn good- each one unique and done in his own way while still managing to pay homage to the originals. This song slays me as it is both morose and beautiful. And comparing the feminine vocals of the original with the deep, sultry Laswell version, each gives an exceptional and haunting quality to the song.
6. Ghost by Ingrid Michaelson: Figured this was a good spot to put Laswell’s lovely lady. Crazy talented and adorable couple – just try to hate them. Michaelson’s tender vocals are sometimes hushed on this one, other times they soar and are filled with emotion. The strings on this one are equally as emotive. *sniff*
7. Two Ghosts by The Spells: Another lovely local gem- the abundance of keys makes me do a happy dance. The vocals are slightly Pinback-esque yet offer their own haunting flavor. Fast-paced drumming keep me toe-tapping through all the songs I’ve heard by The Spells. Totally love it.
8. The Ghost of You Lingers by Spoon: Speaking of pianos and awesome vox…. Spoon has a great way of positioning prominent keys with haunting lyrics interwoven. Good one to zone out on… maybe after some heartbreak punch (red wine+ diet coke). Speaking of booze and broken hearts…
9. Chasing Ghosts with Alcohol by Gomez: Another one of my favorite bands, Gomez will make it onto pretty much any list I make. Ben Ottewell’s vocals quite often give me chills- especially on this soft, delicate song. The melody and vocal harmonies meander for a bit and then there is an explosion of sound. Ends with lovely slide guitar fading away… like a ghost (?) Ok that was lame.
10. Ghost Town by The Specials: Some quintessential ’80s ska… this song is probably the most Halloween-sounding tune on my weird little list. This one is all over the map with horns, deep decadent vocals to start and then the higher tones mixed in along with all kinds of keys it seems.
11. Anyone’s Ghost by The National: Probably my favorite one on the list, this one hits me in the heart strings. I linked a version they recorded in an abandoned castle – seems Halloween-appropriate. Maybe I’ve got the theme wrong, but to me the song is about not wanting to overstay your welcome in a relationship but how you somehow end up in that role anyways… so heart-achingly delicious. Singer Matt Berninger’s voice is fierce and fantastic. The superb use of strings on this song and the sucker punch I get in my gut makes me wish it were three times as long. Thank goodness for the repeat button.
I know there are lots of other great “ghost” tunes I’m missing here. Let me know what your favorites are in the comments below. Maybe I’ll do a follow up list for another creepy holiday- like Christmas.