17 Songs About Ghosts (That Aren't Actually Scary At All)

Halsey, "Ghost"
Courtesy Photo

Halsey, "Ghost"

Ghosts are typically thought of as scary (especially around Halloween time), but there are plenty of artists who have named their songs after the paranormal that really offer no spook whatsoever. Most of these 17 tracks use the term "ghost" in a metaphorical sense, which is likely the primary reason that none of them provide a soundtrack for a Halloween party -- despite their ghoulish names. (If you need a Halloween soundtrack, try this!)

That's not to discredit any of these artists for the ghost-related songs they created. They're all catchy in their own way, and a few of them do have a bit of an eerie melody. So if you're looking to extend your Halloween playlist with some not-so-creepy numbers, take a look at these tunes.

Ella Henderson, “Ghost”

Likely the most familiar of the countless songs simply titled "Ghost" (there were plenty more we could've included), Henderson's poppy track about a former lover still haunting her memory is as anthemic as it is poignant -- just not frightening.

A$AP Rocky, “Holy Ghost”

The Harlem-raised rapper focuses this track more around the first word in the song's title than the second. An intense song lyrically (i.e. "'Cause church is the new club and wine is the new bub/ And lies is the new drugs/ My sister the next stripper, my brother the next victim"), "Holy Ghost" discusses a higher power, not supernatural.

Halsey, “Ghost”

Here's one of the prime examples of using "ghost" as a metaphor, specifically in reference to a past relationship. Similar to that of Henderson's song of the same name, Halsey sings about someone she knows isn't good for her but continues to "haunt" her anyway. Then again, those who can relate may find Halsey's track spooky.

B.o.B., “Ghost in the Machine”

While the title of this song may trigger a Ghostbusters-type visual, it's actually nothing close. The hip-hop star went on more of a singing route with this track, offering deep lyrics about a lost soul: "There's nothing worse than feeling like a ghost." Not scary, per se, but a rather haunting thought.

Katy Perry, “Ghost”

There seems to be something about the songs with the one-word title of "Ghost" -- so far all of those on this list stand for the same thing: An ex who still "haunts" the person singing. Perry's Prism track has the most ghostly references (and quite the killer metaphor, "I see through you now"), but it's still more heart-tugging than bone-chilling.

Red Hot Chili Peppers, “American Ghost Dance”

The Chili Peppers' ode to the traditional American Indian spirit dance makes for one of the funkier tunes of the bunch. Their song about spirits may not be referring to the spooky kind of ghosts, but the groovy beat does kind of make you want to toss a sheet over your head and boo(gie).

Passion Pit, “Cry Like a Ghost”

Passion Pit's contribution to the Halloween-esque song titles is perhaps the least ghostly of them all, as the word "ghost" isn't even mentioned in the song. But the video is relatively trippy...

Annie Lennox, “Ghosts in My Machine”

If there's one thing somewhat gruesome that these songs all have in common (other than the word "ghost," of course), it's pain. Lennox's "ghost" reference comes from her crying, bleeding, dying and simply hurting too much, yet the lyrics to "Ghosts in My Machine" are a hell of a lot more depressing than the song's rock beat.

Parachute, “Ghost”

What's funny about this song is that the lyrics are probably the most ghost-like of them all -- but you'd never guess that from the melody. It's once again a song called "Ghost" involving a relationship metaphor, however the tables have turned this time and it's the singer who's doing the haunting rather than the singer's ex.

Blink-182, “Ghost on the Dance Floor”

Although Blink-182's song follows the same pattern as Perry's, Henderson's and Halsey's, this song actually involves a lover who passed away. The beat is classic upbeat Blink, but the lyrics are certainly grave.

Jake Owen, “Ghosts”

One of the most -- if not the most -- somber "ghost"-named tunes, Owen's song is probably the least likely to make it on a Halloween playlist. But before you totally write it off, appreciate Owen's songwriting for what it's worth: He captured the heartbreaking tale of an alcoholic overcoming his struggles in poetic fashion.

Deadmau5, “Ghosts 'n' Stuff”

Between the scream-like sounds of Rob Swire's voice on the song's chorus and the fairly creepy video (that literally features a person dressed like a sheet ghost), deadmau5' "Ghosts 'n' Stuff" is the song you'd be most likely to hear at a costume party or even a haunted house. But there's no actual mention of ghosts in the lyrics, and the words are deeper than the flippant video insinuates.

Kid Cudi, “Ghost”

This song's lyrics are already pretty dark, but with Kid Cudi recently checking himself into rehab for depression and suicidal urges, it brings on a new meaning. "I'm most confused about the world I live in/ To think that I'm lonely, well I probably am/ One thing that still gets me/ When did I become a ghost?" Cudi sings on the track, making his "Ghost" a bit unnerving -- in a more serious sense.

Mumford & Sons, “Ghosts That We Knew”

Another subdued track, Mumford & Sons sing of a similar struggle with overcoming demons. But rather than letting the ghosts tear them down, the group progressively takes the song to an uplifting level both lyrically and instrumentally, ultimately ending with "And the ghosts that we knew will flicker from view/ And we'll live a long life."

Madonna, “Ghosttown”

The idea of a ghost town can be spooky, but the Queen of Pop's take on it turned the tale of a deserted place into a love story. "When there's no one, no one else around/ We'll be two souls in a ghost town" -- yeah, definitely more sappy than scary.

American Authors, “Ghost”

American Authors have a way of making you want to clap and sing along to every one of their tunes. Telling the story of a man who is stuck "living with all these ghosts," the Brooklyn-based band still managed to do that with "Ghost" despite the eerie song title.

Death Cab for Cutie, “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive”

The toe-tapping melody and contrite lyrics of this Death Cab For Cutie ditty make for yet another ghost-related song with a deeper meaning than a narrative about a specter. Regardless of the word "ghosts" in this song's title, though, Death Cab may have created a more haunting tune with "I Will Possess Your Heart."


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