Someone’s Ghost, Yeah You’re Haunted, But Only By…

Jeff VanderMeer • November 16th, 2010 @ 1:27 pm • Music Reviews

I had a hard time getting into The National’s High Violet CD at first, but I can’t get it out of my head now, and can’t stop listening to it. “Anyone’s Ghost” is the one that gets to me the most, I think.

“Didn’t want to be your ghost/didn’t want to be anyone’s ghost.”

Keeps intertwining with the Giant Sand song that contains the lines “Yeah, this place is haunted/but only by a ghost.”

Keeps intersecting with Shearwater’s “On the Death of the Waters” for no reason I can figure out and being contaminated by Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs”: “Sometimes I can’t believe it/I’m moving past that feeling again.” But that whole CD is one long haunting, with ghosts that don’t know they’re ghosts.

What songs haunt you?

22 Responses to “Someone’s Ghost, Yeah You’re Haunted, But Only By…”

  1. Alexander K. says:

    “The Wild Kindness” by the Silver Jews (from American Water) comes to mind strongest. Especially the line “Some power that hardly looked like power/said I’m perfect in an empty room.” Hasn’t really left me alone since I heard it three years ago.

  2. Larry says:

    Bob Dylan’s “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” is haunting for me, with his “Visions of Johanna” a close second.

  3. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    American Water is an awesome awesome CD.

  4. Ennis Drake says:

    “Play Crack the Sky” by Brand New.

    “Your tongue is a rudder.
    It steers the whole ship.
    Sends your words past your lips or keeps them safe behind your teeth.
    But the wrong words will strand you.
    Come off course while you sleep.
    Sweep your boat out to sea or dashed to bits on the reef.
    The vessel groans the ocean pressures its frame.
    To the port I see the lighthouse through the sleet and rain.
    And I wish for one more day to give my love and repay debts.
    But the morning finds our bodies washed up thirty miles west.
    They say that the captain stays fast with the ship through still and storm.
    But this ain’t the Dakota, and the water’s cold.
    We won’t have to fight for long.
    This is the end.”

  5. PhilRM says:

    “Sanskrit” by Isidore (Steve Kilbey and Jeffrey Cain). Garbage’s “Happy Home”.

  6. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Whoa–Ennis. That’s great. And beautiful.

    Sucks to be a writer. Music is so much more immediate.

  7. Ennis Drake says:

    It is, isn’t it? Give it a listen, it will definitely stick with you. As for me, I’m searching for the Silver Jews . . .

  8. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    I will, definitely! Yeah, check out the Silver Jews. Also, man, that Arcade Fire album…really sticks with you.

  9. Grant Stone says:

    Pretty much any Chris Whitley CD will take me to a special place in my imagination that I’m convinced is a completely separate place of the multiverse – it’s mostly a vast, empty desert. I’ll live there someday.

    When at last I was left for dead
    the dissident sister took me in
    underground at the edge of time
    desire alone forgoes the crime

    “New Lost World” (from Hotel Vast Horizon)

  10. Caleb Wilson says:

    I like the lyrics/delivery on High Violet of the line: “I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees.”

  11. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Caleb–I was thinking of that line! And there’s a line about eating brains.

    Grant–love love Christ W.

  12. Ennis Drake says:

    Okay, man, Arcade Fire is rocking my world. You might like The Black Keys (not as lovely on lyrics, but musically will make your knees shake) . . .

    \m/

  13. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Oh, I’ve got four Black Keys’ CDs!

  14. James says:

    I’m sensing a lot of love for indie rock and very little for Darconville’s Cat. Alexander Theroux would not be surprised.

  15. GB Steve says:

    Someday something’s coming
    From way out beyond the stars
    To kill us while we stand here
    And store our brains in mason jars
    – Lovecraft in Brooklyn by The Mountain Goats

    Perhaps it would help if I didn’t have it as my ringtone.

  16. Paul Smith says:

    Neko! Deep Red Bells, South Tacoma Way, Furnace Room Lullaby, At Last, A Widow’s Toast, Behind The House and Polar Nettles especially.

    Also, pretty all the songs of the Iron & Wine/Calexico’s In the Reins (hell, pretty much every song Sam Beam has written).

  17. Adam Mills says:

    I’ve been listening to Fleet Foxes a lot lately. There’s two songs of theirs that have been haunting me in particular, “Blue Ridge Mountains” and “White Winter Hymnal.” “Blue Ridge Mountains” is one of those songs that’s begging me to write a story to accompany it, given the overall melancholy tone, the setting of a frozen forest, and an implied story between two brothers involving “green-eyed lookalikes.”

    As for “White Winter Hymnal,” I’ll just include the lyrics:

    I was following the pack
    All swallowed in their coats
    With scarves of red tied around their throats
    To keep their little heads
    From falling in the snow
    And I turned around and there you go
    And Michael you would fall
    And turn the white snow red as strawberries
    In the summertime

    I think that one might be begging me to write a story for it too, come to think of it.

  18. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Thanks, Adam. I was just prepping bear gun stuff for the lambshead cabinet, oddly enough.

  19. Adam Mills says:

    Awesome! How has that been coming along, by the way?

  20. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    It’s almost done. Ann and I are turning it in today. Will blog about it later today.

  21. conschobhar says:

    Lately, “At My Heels” by Twin Shadow:

    I’m in the belly of a canyon,
    I can’t come up with any reason
    Why a ghost is following me,
    Why a ghost is following me.

    I’m got some feed for the longing,
    I’ve got the pillow for the bad dreams,
    The apparition dancing with me,
    Stepping down all over my feet.

  22. Dan says:

    For me, lately, its been “Too Much” off of “The Age of Adz” by Sufjan Stevens and “Mistaken for Strangers” off of The National’s last album, particularly the line fragment “the un-magnificent lives of adults”

    I’d like to take the opportunity to say that while I’ve read your blog for about a year and a half now, I just got around to reading City of Saints and Madmen and Finch in the last couple of months, though I’ve had copies for a while. The former is probably one of my very favorite books now, and I wanted to say so.

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