I think it’s safe to say by now that “Ghost” does not rank among fan favorites in just about any category (obscurities, singles, live versions, etc.). In fact, the amount of rancor it receives from a majority fans probably equates with that of “Evacuation” and “Sweet Lew”. But what makes this all surprising is that there isn’t an obvious reason for its disfavored status. It’s not in any way bizarre or experimental, goofy (besides the atrocious line “I never knew soap made you taller”), or otherwise an anomaly in the catalog. In fact, “Ghost” is one of the most straight-forward rockers on Riot Act. So why the hate?  I don’t have an answer to this, as I don’t have much actual vitriol for the song, but I have theories. Lyrically, it might come across to some as a lesser relative of “Sleight of Hand”, describing a state of mind numbed by mass culture and the bland nature of modern life. And musically? Well, perhaps the biggest flaw of “Ghost” is that it doesn’t distinguish itself in any way, no special quality to recommend it other than it’s fairly uptempo.


~ by Michael on July 8, 2007.

6 Responses to “Ghost”

  1. C13 – “Well, perhaps the biggest flaw of “Ghost” is that it doesn’t distinguish itself in any way, no special quality to recommend it other than it’s fairly uptempo.”

    Agreed. There isn’t anything screaming out to my senses in this one. In fact my senses have gone AWOL..AWOL..AWOL. (inside joke) But despite that, ‘Ghost’ is still one of the more listenable songs on Riot Act.

  2. Riot Act is such a perplexing album. So many fans really dislike it and consider the whole thing complete crap. For me it has some of the most interesting and unusual songs that they have ever done. Along with songs like GHOST. Although I find that GET RIGHT, while not a strong stand-alone song, fits well where it is positioned, I can’t really make the same case for GHOST. I agree with you and Believe You Me that it is at least not objectionable.

    That said, it’s always fun when someone turns up who says that this is one of their favorite Pearl Jam songs and tells us why.

  3. I think “Ghost” and “Get Right” are probably two of the most forgettable Pearl Jam tracks to date. HOWEVER, I still kinda enjoy both of them. Neither song distinguishes itself, even on an album (I think) as subpar as “Riot Act.” So I don’t know if the fans dislike this song as much as they’re just oblivious to it. But both songs are poppy enough for me to listen to in the car. I guess that’s a compliment.

    The best thing I can say about “Ghost” (and “Get Right”) is that it’s really fun to crank up the amp and crunch away at this song on the guitar. Other than that….boy, it’s a pretty forgettable tune.

  4. I’m a sucker for Ament songs, so i have to give him some recognition. They should try to fit this in live more often, its simple, upbeat, and short. Perfect for mid/ early set song!

  5. I think NoCoder’s got it. I don’t think Ghost will ever be in my top 50 (or, hell, 100) PJ songs. But I never skip it and almost always crank the volume up when it comes on.

    As much as a sucker as I am for lyrics (and I actually chuckle at the “soap” line), sometimes songs just crunch so much that you can’t help bobbing your head along with the beat.

  6. You’re so right SoJ.

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