Ghost Story

Album: Denim & Rhinestones (2022)
Charted: 61
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Songfacts®:

  • "Ghost Story" finds Carrie Underwood knowing she's better off than her ex-lover after he broke up with her. While she's out with her friends enjoying the single life, he's sitting at home haunted by her memory. "The song is hauntingly beautiful, has a really wide range and amazing melody and just tells this really cool, cinematic story of how this guy is never going to be able to let go of the girl he let go of because she's just always going to be haunting him," said Underwood. "He's going to see her everywhere. He's gonna want her back but she's moved on – sorry man."
  • Dating back to 2005's "Before He Cheats," Carrie Underwood has always been partial to a dramatic revenge song, and this haunting tune is another one that fits snugly into her catalog.

    "I feel like everything that I've done, even at the most out of character, is still a small part of me," Underwood told Kelleigh Bannen from Today's Country with Kelleigh Bannen. "It's fun to be able to kind of tap into that. And to some extent, I guess you do kind of have to be a bit of an actress to like go there, but that's what's so fun about it."

    Other Underwood songs that tell a tale of revenge include "Undo It," "Two Black Cadillacs," "Blown Away," "Dirty Laundry," and "Church Bells."
  • Hillary Lindsey, Josh Kear and the song's producer, David Garcia, wrote "Ghost Story." "It just didn't sound like anything else that's on the radio right now," Underwood said.

    When the country star stepped into the studio to sing their tune, it sealed the deal. "It was just like, ah, this just feels good," she added.
  • When Underwood heard the demo for the first time, she was drawn to the powerful woman at the center of the song's narrative. "It's not like 'Before He Cheats' - that's a different kind of powerful," the country star told Apple Music. "That's somebody that's actively causing some destruction to someone else. This one is more like, 'You made a big mistake. I'm going to be fine. I'm going to get over you, but you're not ever going to get over me and you're going to wake up, you're going to realize it, and it's too late.'"
  • Josh Kear also had a hand in writing "Before He Cheats," "Two Black Cadillacs," and "Blown Away," while Hillary Lindsey co-penned "Dirty Laundry."
  • Underwood performed "Ghost Story" at the Grammy Awards in 2022, where her album of gospel standards, My Savior, won for Best Roots Gospel Album.
  • Filmed at the 1931 movie palace the Los Angeles Theatre, the video finds Underwood portraying a stage performer who has moved on from her previous relationship. Her old flame remains heartbroken and her memory haunts him everywhere he turns and in everything he does.

    Underwood's longtime visual collaborator, director and photographer Randee St. Nicholas, is the man behind the lens. St. Nicholas has shot multiple videos with Underwood throughout her career, including her CMT Award-winning "Blown Away," "Smoke Break," "Cry Pretty," "Drinking Alone," and "Hallelujah." He also did the artwork for many of Underwood's albums, including Blown Away, Storyteller, Cry Pretty, and Denim & Rhinestones.

    "Randee St. Nicholas has an incredible eye and always knows how to film everything in the most unique and beautiful way," said Underwood. "I am very visually oriented and from the first time I heard 'Ghost Story,' I had a vision for how I wanted to bring this song to life in performance and Randee always takes everything to a whole other artistic level beyond my own imagination."
  • "Ghost Story" is the only one of the 12 tracks on Denim & Rhinestones that Underwood didn't have a hand in writing.
  • Carrie Underwood found "Ghost Story" very difficult to sing. "That was the one that by the end of it, I was like, 'Don't we have it?'," she told Apple Music. "And I don't ever do that, because I will sing a song 20 times in the studio, longer than that, however many times I have to sing it. And I feel like I can keep going. And if I don't feel like I have it but the producer over the years has been like, 'I think we got it,' I'm like, 'Nope. Nope. I haven't reached it. I'm not there yet. I feel like I still got some gas in the tank. I want to see what I can do with it.' But 'Ghost Story' was hard. It was the hill to climb, for sure."
  • In the video, Underwood plays an acrobat who continues to haunt her old flame long after their breakup. The male lead in the clip is Craig Geoghan.

    "The music video, if you're gonna usher in a new era, I want to do it big," said the singer. "That one I was like we can kind of go over the top, but that's what we wanted. We wanted it to be beautiful and imaginative, because I feel like the song is, so a lot of really great imagery that's written into the song and we just wanted to kind of bring that to life."

    Underwood said the trapeze shots were pretty tough. "It was a fun day shooting the video, but the trapeze was unexpectedly difficult. It doesn't look difficult, but it's really difficult."
  • At the start of the song, Carrie Underwood faintly whispers the opening four lines from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1858 poem, Haunted Houses.

    All houses wherein men have lived and died
    Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
    The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
    With feet that make no sound upon the floors


    Underwood's recital came about after she'd finished recording vocals for "Ghost Story."

    "She came out of the vocal booth, and we both listened in the control room to make sure everything was feeling good," David Garcia explained to Country Insider. "After listening back, she thought it might be a cool idea to have some 'ghostly' whispers going on in the track that you might hear faintly in the background."

    American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was professor of modern languages at Harvard 1835-54 before retiring from teaching in 1854 to focus on his writing. Among the works he's remembered for are the narrative Evangeline and the metrically haunting The Song of Hiawatha.

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