Siobhán Donaghy - Ghosts (2007)

Ghosts
1 Don't Give It Up
2 So You Say
3 There's a Place
4 Sometimes
5 12 Bar Acid Blues
6 Make It Right
7 Coming Up for Air
8 Goldfish
9 Medevac
10 Halcyon Days
11 Ghosts
12 Man on a Mission (itunes bonus track)

Introduction

Siobhán Donaghy is best known, because she founded the Sugababes together with Mutya Buena and Keisha Buchanan. They only released one album in that particular setup. After that Siobhán left the band and soon started her solo career. She released one album (Revolution in Me) which had a few minor hits. In 2007 she returned with "Ghosts" and while an absolute critics favorite it only sold around 3000 units.

The Sound

3000 sold discs. That's an awful low for an artist that once was part of one of the most successful girlbands around. It's even worse considering how much effort she put into this release.

So what is it about this album that makes it that special? Well for a start: it's quirky. Maybe Siobhán was on drugs, which we all know is the best thing one can do when recording music. The whole album feels out-of-place, airy, ghostly. This is espacially true for the title track, with its backward recorded vocals. That fact in itself is already worth mentioning, but the song sounds totally accessible at the same time. It's one of those songs others would kill for. If you don't care for this album, get it for this track alone.

That doesn't mean that the rest of the album falls short. While sounding a bit more traditional (but still keeping this strange, odd atmosphere), every single song simply is a little gem of its own.

The album kicks off with "Don't Give It Up", a song with a huge Kate Bush feel to it. Trippy drums and layered vocals, in combination with this floating keyboard floor, give a hint, what kind of journey the listener is about to experience.

"So You Say" was released as a single, a good choice, the refrain won't let go off you for a few days.

The album, while twisted, has an overall happy feeling to it, but it's the kind of self-reflected happiness that doesn't try to force itself onto others. It sounds satisfied, like someone who is in peace with oneself.

Be it the Massive Attack influenced "Halcyion Days" or the Ray-of-Light-like "Goldfish", the once-again-kate-bush-influenced "Medevac" or the acoustic-guitar-driven "12 Bar Acid Blues", Donaghy makes sure the listener is pleased through out the whole album.

But it was not rewarded. 3000 sold units are not enough for an artist who wants to live from the music. And because she was pretty sure she wouldn't be able to top this album, she went on musical hiatus. Too bad, but she was probably right about that statement.

There is a minor flaw with this album: Once again itunes stepped in and reserved an exclusive bonus track, which you cannot find legally anymore. "Man on a Mission" is well worth owning, but sadly one is forced to rip it off of youtube. And while we are at it: There are quite some B-sides on the singles from this album. Every one of them is great.

Maybe not quite as great as this album though, which is a definite 10.

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