On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Kristin Hersh featuring Michael Stipe – Your Ghost (1994)
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We’re leaving Australia behind today, dear reader, and making our way back to the US and to Atlanta, Georgia. Kristin Hersh began her music career in her teens with the band Throwing Muses and did not intend to pursue a solo career but that’s exactly what she ended up doing when turning 27. We join her in 1994 with her debut album, Hips and Makers, and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Your Ghost.
This haunting piece sees Hersh singing of a mysterious ghost that she rouses from slumber by dialling their number. Hope they have a decent contract! This sepulchral being seems to have advantages over the narrator and her refrain of “You were driving circles around me” gives the impression this spirit is omniscient or at the very least, more in the know than the protagonist that summoned them from the void. This ghost may be a strange being or a manifestation of a loved one called back by the narrator in their hour of need. The song is ambiguous but the imagery is eerie and haunting.
Your Ghost is a powerful piece owing a lot to Hersh’s vocals but also benefiting from backing vocals from Michael Stipe of R.E.M. who took an active interest in the recording and reluctantly lent his voice to it as well. The song is chilling and perplexing and should have fared better in the charts than it did. Hersh continues her solo career but also fronts another band by the name of 50FootWave. Busy lady indeed.
Favourite songs so far: