Monday, 18 July 2016

Ghost Music

To mark the release of the new Ghostbusters movie I thought I'd compile a music video playlist of ghost songs. Now I am not one who believes in the paranormal or the supernatural, but funnily enough I do believe in the possible existence of what might be termed as ghosts; when a person dies in sudden, stressful circumstances, it is possible they leave a searing energy trace and that is what we pick up and regard as a ghostly presence. Having said that, I'm not that interested so as to go on a ghost hunt or anything like that. I'll just stick to my own ghost sonatas presented her. Enjoy!

1) "Ghost In My House" - R.Dean Taylor
I know nothing about R.Dean Taylor and only came to this song when the Fall covered it, but since I've got a Fall ghost song later I thought I'd check out the original. The ghost of a relationship, yeah that works for me.

2) "The Ghost Of Tom Joad" - Bruce Springsteen
Marc, I'm beginning to worry about you. All your life you've fulminated about Bruce Springsteen. Ever since you grew up in Wembley and came home past the stadium where Bruce was playing a week of concerts to 80,000 folk and you were appalled (and let's be honest sniggering too) at so many British souls wearing a 'Born in the USA' t-shirt. And yes you know Bruce meant the song ironically, not as a patriot rally call at all but a searing indictment of the American Dream, but still all those Brits in stars and stripes left a distaste that has stayed with you. But now Bruce makes his second appearance in one of these playlists. Are you mellowing with age? Has your music tastes changed. Has Britian formally become the 51st State of America (see Chilcot Report)...? No, I still hate him, but well, just, you know... Besides my kids did Steinbeck for their GCSE English Lit and I didn't object to that for being 'American'... Cognitive dissonance I guess.

3) Her Ghost In The Fog" - Cradle Of Filth
It also has to be said this is the first time Heavy Mentallists Cradle Of Filth have appeared in one of these playlists. This ghost theme seems to have got you spooked...

4) "The Ghost With A Hammer In His Hand" - Tools You Can Trust
Ah now that's better, one of my actual you know like favourites... 319 views, 2 comments, 1 of them mine, the other from the singer's son, what the hell is going on here? There is no justice.... Actually Tools You Can Trust were always an odd blend of industrial noise percussion and bass, with surf guitar as here. I liked them though. Sniff.

5) "Ghost On The Highway" - Gun Club
A lover is killed and the ghost wanders the highways and byways of the US. Great swamp rock blues from the Gun Club as is to be expected.

6) "Ghosts Of Ladbroke Grove" - Killing Joke
I have a soft spot for Ladbroke Grove having lived there for a few years and worked there for 15 years. The original Killing Joke song was nothing special, but this dub version is outstanding and has some of the heaviest dub bass you'll ever here. The sentiment is correct I think, in that the area was the run down part of the Royal Borough Of Kensington & Chelsea and lots of creative art and music emerged from it as it played host to a lot of squats which also doubled up for rehearsal and performance spaces as they were free. The Clash and Hawkwind both came from the area. Punk could legitimately be said to have been started there as punk and reggae influenced on another through being in close physical proximity. Dubstep, a uniquely London music genre also had a strong footing in this part of West London. But now the London property boom being what it is, there are no more squats and houses and flats probably go for a million pounds or so (forgive me I haven't checked the property papers, it's all too galling) and the area trades off its artistic past with very little new work being produced. Sad really.

7) "Ghost Town" - The Specials
Now this really does sound ethereal and ectoplasmic and yet it was absolutely rooted in the reality of 1980s post-riot Britain. Ghosts are about presence, something that just won't fade away and die but clings on for dear life, well death maybe. But a ghost town of course is the exact opposite of that, a total absence and this song captures the sensation so wonderfully.

8)  "Spectre Vs Rector" - The Fall
As unlistenable as presumably a full-blown exorcism might sound. Actually the Fall have a brilliant song about ghostly sensations in old buildings, but as it's called "City Hobgoblins" I didn't think I could include it in a playlist devoted to ghosts. I don't want the paranormal genre fiction police on my back for such a crime...

9) "Ghost Ride" - Suicide
In what has been a dreadful few months for rock and roll in terms of deaths (has the relatively recent art form suddenly reached an age where its key players are of such an age that they do all die off?), this weekend we learned of another fatality. Alan Vega rest in peace. A singer and his compadre at a keyboard, flying right in the teeth of punk and new wave, these guys were truly pioneers.

10) "Ghosts" - The Jam
Paul Weller's lyrical prowess to the fore here. Still backing singers and a horn section, we fans knew it was the beginning of the end for this particular power trio.

11) "The Ghost In You" - Psychedelic Furs
I was never a great fan of the Furs, though I did like "Pretty In Pink", but then that did have more of edge than this saccharine number.

12) "Ghost on The Dancefloor" - Blink 182
I never understood why people regard Blink 182 as punk. They are rockers no less than Bruce Springsteen or US. They probably do Pete Townsend arm revolutions but as I'm not a fan I haven't any video evidence to back that up.

13) "Cherché La Ghost" - Ghostface Killah
When you're a rap singer and your name is Ghostface Killah, chances are at some point you'll be doing a song tooting your own horn and name-checking yourself. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you-

14) "Ghost of A Chance" - Rush
I used to quite like a couple of Rush's early albums, but then I discovered they were heavily influenced by the writings of Ayn Rand (there's even a track called "Anthem"). Then I didn't like them any more. Still don't. But I see from videos like this that they certainly didn't get any better musically or lyrically even when they abandoned their Rand fixation.

15) "Little Ghost" - "White Stripes / "Casper The Friendly Ghost" - Daniel Johnston
Prefer Daniel Johnston's for twee mania music but there you go. Daniel Johnston however isn't playing at it

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