Community-driven media: Log in or Visit
0 |

The Meaning of Band of Horses’ “Is There a Ghost”

As the opening track to Band of Horses’ sophomore album Cease to Begin (2007), “Is There a Ghost” introduces an album from a group that had something to prove. Their previous album, 2006’s Everything All The Time, was a smash hit mostly thanks to the success of “The Funeral.”

Hearing “Is There a Ghost,” music critics everywhere could breathe a sigh of relief that Band of Horses were not going to be a one hit wonder band.

Written by frontman Ben Bridwell, the song captures the biggest strength of Band of Horses to this day, which is their ability to toe the line between rock music and folk rock sensibilities, creating music that is difficult to place in one genre.

“Is There a Ghost” Lyrics Meaning

“Is There a Ghost” is minimalistic from a lyrical standpoint, repeating just three distinct lines throughout song, as the musical intensity builds and breaks throughout.

Acccording to a 2010 interview with NME, the central idea driving “Is There a Ghost” is paranoia:

I suffer from paranoia really badly. And the thing that inspires me most is, once I get into that horrible isolated area, I think I’m being watched. I’ve written songs that are based specifically on that feeling. “Is There A Ghost” was based on an ice-maker in my house that was freaking me out.

Ben Bridwell on the meaning of “Is There a Ghost,” 2010.

Let’s take each of the phrases he uses in the lyrics and examine them.

“I could sleep”

Repeated four times with urgency at the start of the song, the idea is almost that Ben Bridwell is trying to convince himself that he can indeed sleep, despite being up all night once again.

“When I lived alone”

He recalls living alone. This lends itself to the paranoia that he described above.

“Is there a ghost in my house?”

As Bridwell explained, the ice machine would freak him out at night, and he would be straight convinced that there was a ghost in his house.

One thing that’s interesting to note is that Ben Bridwell is from our hometown of Charleston, SC, a place that is known for having many haunted houses. Band of Horses relocated from Seattle to Charleston in 2007, prior to the recording of Cease to Begin.

So, one might estimate that Bridwell got paranoid about a possible ghost in his house in Charleston, SC. For the lowcountry residents that might be reading, that certainly checks out.

Watch the video for “Is There a Ghost” by Band of Horses below.

Band of Horses – “Is There a Ghost” (Music Video)