Almost universally so, concept albums often reach emotional depths and feelings that non-concept albums don’t. Normally speaking, concept albums tell a story. Whether that be Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” story of Lamar’s upbringing or Kid Cudi’s “Man on the Moon: The End of Day”, they’ve told an incredible story in the signature way that only concept albums could.

 

One of the many excellent concept albums in modern music recently celebrated its tenth birthday. Although it’s relatively unknown compared to the excellent works listed above, the emotional impact, not only of the lyrics but also of the themes of home and homesickness in the album, are bound to leave a lasting impression on anyone.

 

With themes of based on the idea of houses retaining stories of what has happened in them, Radical Face’s “Ghosts” tells stories that both inspire the listener to cherish meaningful memories with families while concurrently weakening, if not breaking all throughout, the hearts of it’s listeners.

 

(Flickr)

The most well-known track on “Ghosts” is perhaps “Welcome Home, Son.” Said song became decently popular, appearing most famously in Nikon advertisement. With lyrics that tell of someone’s sweet homecoming but also the heartbreak that one experiences when a loved one leaves such as “You were never supposed to leave/Now my head’s splitting at the seams.”(2), the song pulls at almost anyone’s heartstrings.

 

Along with “Welcome Home, Son,” the accompanying tracks that address those very same themes of “home” having different meanings to different people, but in drastically different ways.

 

“Let The River In”, the third track, tells the story of someone separating themselves from the sins and transgressions of their parents. “And now I’m free to sink my own damn ship, I cut the bridge down from my family tree. To start a fire in the middle/Now the house is just ash this time, sink or swim.”  

 

“Wrapped in Piano Strings”, the sixth track, details a family’s horrifying story of paternal abuse, a failing marriage and worst, the suicide of a child. All told through a relative who’s now deceased given the beautiful lyric of “My ghost just tries to keep you warm/ I’ve seen the end, I’ve lost the war”, the song uses analogies, sensory details, metaphors and references of the paranormal to describe scenes that an unfortunately large group of homes experience.

 

Even with as many references to literal ghosts, hauntings and other supernatural phenomena as “Ghosts” may use, the lyrical value doesn’t depart from realism. With every song telling a separate story of families and the homes they inhabit in an anthology-like sequence, these families experience many different trials and tribulations throughout the songs that act more as chapters.  

 

The final track, appropriately named “Homesick” references the common trope of ghosts haunting inanimate objects in order to send messages to loved ones. “Well, I found a wheel that squeaks and squeals, And left it at your doorstep” the song sings.

 

Then, the song delivers arguably the most heartbreaking line of not just this song, but possibly the entirety of the album.

 

Because I heard you might be broken, too/ And I thought it’d keep you company.

 

There’s a melancholy yet meaningful and realistic feeling throughout every lyric of the entire album. You won’t be listening to “Ghosts” before a night out, but certainly during a deeply emotional moment, such as when writing a letter to a loved one or maybe the eulogy of a dear friend.

 

Do you have any concept albums you’d recommend? Tweet me at @CaptainKasoff to talk about it more.