Two Ghosts

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"Two Ghosts"
Single by Harry Styles
from the album Harry Styles
Released7 August 2017 (2017-08-07)
FormatDigital download
Recorded2016
Studio
GenreFolk rock
Length3:49
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Harry Styles singles chronology
"Sign of the Times"
(2017)
"Two Ghosts"
(2017)
"Kiwi"
(2017)

"Two Ghosts" is a song recorded by English singer and songwriter Harry Styles for his self-titled debut studio album. The song was written by Styles, John Ryan, Julian Bunetta, Mitch Rowland and Tyler Johnson and its production was handled by Jeff Bhasker, Alex Salibian and Johnson. It was released as the second single from the album to US adult contemporary radio by Columbia Records on 7 August 2017, and to pop radio the next day.

Composition[edit]

"Two Ghosts" is a country-influenced folk rock ballad.[1][2] Performed on slide guitar, the track leans toward country folk.[3] Lyrically, it is about a relationship that did not last and the singer trying to reclaim his sense of humanity after its end, according to critics.[4][5] An editor from Entertainment Weekly interpreted the song as a "mournful acoustic autopsy of love lost."[1] Written in the key of E major and set in a common time signature, it has a relatively slow tempo of 70 beats per minute.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Leonie Cooper of NME opined the "subtle" song offers up a "country-indebted Laurel Canyon sound."[7] In Pitchfork, Jamieson Cox considered Styles "makes a convincing alt-country troubadour" on the song.[8] Anjali Raguraman of The Straits Times thought the "sombre, country-tinged" track lyrically borrows from Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here".[9] In the Los Angeles Times, Mikael Wood commented that the song has "the slow-rolling swagger of The Rolling Stones' "Tumbling Dice."[4] In Consequence of Sound, David Sackllah noted the slide guitar "could fit on Ryan Adams' Gold."[10] Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot wrote "forlorn references drop to the Allman Brothers' "Melissa" on the song."[11] Annie Zaleski of The A.V. Club wrote it "acutely captures the discomfiting, empty feeling of realizing that the spark is gone."[12]

Kitty Empire of The Guardian said it "packs some good writing."[13] Allan Raible in ABC News found the song influenced by George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass."[5] Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone thought the "lovelorn" song "could pass for vintage Bread.[14] Eve Barlow of Variety believed "it's very easy to imagine an extended hyper emotional scene from The Notebook in the background" while listening to the "tragic, mystifying tale."[3] In a similar way, David Dunn of The National thought its "plaintive" hooks and "easy-going" strum helps the song fits in a "teary" scene of Grey's Anatomy.[15] BBC Music reporter Mark Savage noted references to Taylor Swift's "Style" in the storied lyrics;[16] Pitchfork's Cox stated the song "only succeeds because it leans" on these references.[8] In an interview with Nick Grimshaw on BBC Radio 1, Styles said in response to whether the song was about Swift: "I think it's pretty self-explanatory."[17]

Billboard's critics' list placed it seventh on "Every One Direction Solo Single, Ranked" in May 2017, stating "a plaintive strummer in the mold of Beck at his most contemplative or Ryan Adams at his most hungover, "Two Ghosts" is largely underplayed and undeniably effective [...] Not as grand or as riotous as some of Harry Styles' more obvious highlights, but sweetly winning all the same."[18]

Live performances[edit]

On 17 May 2017, Styles performed "Two Ghosts" on The Late Late Show with James Corden, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. In Rolling Stone, Elias Leight opined the singer demonstrated "impressive" vocal range, contorting his voice into a "bruising" rasp and a "light, angsty" falsetto moments later.[19] On 9 June, Styles performed the song from the rooftop of London venue Central Hall Westminster on The Late Late Show.[2]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2017) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[20] 5
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[21] 91
Ireland (IRMA)[22] 66
Mexico Ingles Airplay (Billboard)[23] 9
Portugal (AFP)[24] 94
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[25] 77
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[26] 71
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[27] 86
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[28] 58
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[29] 18
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[30] 32
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[31] 34

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Mexico (AMPROFON)[32] Gold 30,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
United States 7 August 2017 Hot adult contemporary Columbia [33]
8 August 2017 Contemporary hit radio [34]
United Kingdom 1 September 2017 [35]
Italy 8 September 2017 Sony [36]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Greenblatt, Leah (12 May 2017). "Harry Styles pays tribute to his musical heroes on solo debut: EW review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b Reed, Ryan (9 June 2017). "Watch Harry Styles Perform 'Two Ghosts' From London Rooftop on 'Corden'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b Barlow, Eve (12 May 2017). "Harry Styles' Solo Album: A Track-by-Track Breakdown". Variety. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  4. ^ a b Wood, Mikael. "Review: Harry Styles is a young classic rocker on his dad-baiting solo debut". LA Times. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  5. ^ a b Raible, Allan (18 May 2017). "Harry Styles, Paramore, Zac Brown Band and more music reviews". ABC News. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Harry Styles "Two Ghosts" Sheet Music". Musicnotes. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  7. ^ Cooper, Leonie. "Harry Styles-'Harry Styles' review". NME. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  8. ^ a b Cox, Jamieson (16 May 2017). "Harry Styles: Harry Styles Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  9. ^ Raguraman, Anjali (17 May 2017). "Soft rock with an edge". The Straits Times. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  10. ^ Sackllah, David (17 May 2017). "Harry Styles – Harry Styles". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  11. ^ Kot, Greg (14 May 2017). "Harry's solo style derivative, lacking One Direction hook power". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  12. ^ Zaleski, Annie (15 May 2017). "Harry Styles takes a bold step forward by leaning on the past in his solo debut". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  13. ^ Empire, Kitty (14 May 2017). "Harry Styles: Harry Styles review – a diverting new direction". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  14. ^ Sheffield, Rob. "Review: Harry Styles Is a True Rock Star on Superb Solo Debut". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  15. ^ Dunn, David (15 May 2017). "Album review: Harry Styles finds his voice on his self-titled album". The National. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  16. ^ Savage, Mark (12 May 2017). "Is Harry Styles' album worth the wait?". BBC. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  17. ^ Weatherby, Taylor (12 May 2017). "Harry Styles on Whether 'Two Ghosts' Is About Taylor Swift: 'It's Pretty Self-Explanatory". Billboard. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  18. ^ Unterberger, Andrew (25 May 2017). "Every One Direction Solo Single, Ranked Critic's List". Billboard. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  19. ^ Leight, Elias (18 May 2017). "See Harry Styles Perform Aching New Song 'Two Ghosts' on 'Corden'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  20. ^ "Ultratop.be – Harry Styles – Two Ghosts" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  21. ^ "Harry Styles Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  22. ^ "IRMA - Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  23. ^ "Mexico Ingles Airplay". Billboard.
  24. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Harry Styles – Two Ghosts". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  25. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  26. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201735 into search. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  27. ^ "SK - Singles Digital - Top 100" (in Slovak). IFPI Czech Republic. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  28. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  29. ^ "Harry Styles Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  30. ^ "Harry Styles Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  31. ^ "Harry Styles Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  32. ^ "Certificados Musicales Amprofon (in Spanish)". Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  33. ^ "Hot/Modern/AC Future Releases". All Access Music Group. 25 July 2017. Archived from the original on 7 August 2017. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  34. ^ "Top 40/M Future Releases". All Access Music Group. 11 July 2017. Archived from the original on 7 August 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  35. ^ "BBC – Radio 1 Playlist: Friday, 1th September". BBC. Archived from the original on 3 September 2017. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  36. ^ "Harry Styles - Two Ghosts RadioDate". Radio Airplay. Retrieved 4 September 2017.

External links[edit]