What does Ghost mean?

Ella Henderson: Ghost Meaning

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Album cover for Ghost album cover

Song Released: 2014

Ghost Lyrics

I keep going to the river to pray
'Cause I need something that can wash all the pain
And at most
I'm sleeping all these demons away
But your ghost, the ghost of you
It keeps me awake

My friends had you figured out
Yeah they saw what's...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Aug 24th 2014 !⃝

    I feel I can relate to the lyrics with my ex boyfriend. Friends and family knew another side to him and kept throwing warnings to me that I pretty much ignored, but he charmed me under the right conditions (bad timing on my part, which he took advantage of). Though we broke up, he gets under my skin and keeps me thinking about him which is something I don't necessarily dislike because I fell for him but then it's as if I'm holding on to "false hope", like a ghost keeping me awake. So I want to give up that ghost, but he keeps haunting me with sly contact WHEN HE WANTS! It burns so I want to wash it all away!
    Anyone else relate?


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Jul 24th 2014 !⃝

    I'm not too sure about the actual meaning of the song but I can give my interpretation of the fabulous music video. Ella is not part of the narrative of the video, she is only performing the song. I believe the narrative follows the story of a man who was wrongly accused and imprisoned for murdering his girlfriend. This man escapes prison and goes to track down his girlfriends murderer. That's pretty much it... :)


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Feb 20th 2015 !⃝

    I think that it is a metaphor that holding onto the past can cause you to become a prisoner to yourself. Escaping the pain and facing the reality that a memory of a love a lost causes a person to feel isolated from the world...finally the realization of facing your inner demons can release you from your prison. The crucifix on the wall could represent him trying to fill a void by finding religon, which if you see that a high percentage of prisoners find religion,..him removing the picture shows him letting her go..

  4. anonymous
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    Mar 17th 2019 !⃝

    Ghost song is about a girl or guy who was "ghosted" by the other person. They have to accept that it's not the end of the world. It happens for a reason and they have to get over it fast or else it will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

    If one is "ghosted" by the opposite sex or same gender, don't hold a grudge, it only means they want to disappear like a ghost, like when you watch a horror or thriller movie, or "casper" the friendly ghost, you'll never know when the ghost appears but when it relates to being "ghosted" you'll know when you are being "ghosted' by the other person. They fade like the wind.

  5. anonymous
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    Mar 17th 2019 !⃝

    I think it’s about a relationship ending suddenly and without closure. You know when someone “ghosts” someone else and the person left has to get over the loss on their own. She has to “give up the ghost” and stop trying to figure out what happened and why he left her. It’s an all too common scenario.

  6. anonymous
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    Feb 8th 2019 !⃝

    I think that the people who's reviews have been rated down to one star are correct. Yes, their approach was rude, but they are right.

  7. anonymous
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    Nov 24th 2018 !⃝

    Ella actually did an interview and explained the meaning of the song. It is actually far broader than any of these explanations. She said the song is a metaphor for a person trying to accomplish or overcome something but they are having a hard time but cannot shake the need. She did co-write the song and she said that she had essentially written an entire album, but still didn't feel like she had written her hit single and it was eating at her... that's how Ghost was born.

  8. anonymous
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    May 23rd 2017 !⃝

    So many people are reviewing the video and not the lyrics. The artist said exactly what the song is about yet people are creating interpretations based on the video. This is just one simple example of how our society has learned to ignore truth and create elaborate fictions instead. It shows our habit of interpreting a visual to meet personal needs/desires rather than accepting the reality stated by the artist. Each individual interpretation should begin by saying what the artist stated that the song lyrics are actually about--which is that the song is about how someone/something has a hold on you and torments you so even when you try to run away, you can't. After stating the facts provided by the artist, each person may then offer their own interpretation based on their personal experience and relationship to the song or video. Until we re-learn to state the actual fact before offering our opinions, we will never be able to reclaim fact from opinion and our social divides will continue to grow. Creative, personal interpretations are valuable but must not be presented as if factual and people must also learn to distinguish the video presentation from the printed lyrics/words. Fabulous song, fabulous lyric meaning according to the artist, and fascinating interpretations presented by listeners.

  9. anonymous
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    Jul 27th 2016 !⃝

    Different guys!!! Young one was blamed for something he didn't do and the older guy did it!!! Ella is the ghost which leads the police to the location.

  10. anonymous
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    Jul 5th 2016 !⃝

    You are all ignoring the fact that it is just a stupid music video and the lyrics are the real thing you should be discussing.

  11. anonymous
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    Feb 6th 2016 !⃝

    I just like her voice and the song.

  12. anonymous
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    Jan 31st 2016 !⃝

    Seriously? You people are THAT dim-witted??
    It's scary how utterly stupid grown people are.
    This song and video are about love-bombing by a sociopath(the young man and older are the same. The young one is the "nice" guy trying to get her hooked on him. The older guy is the reality, the sociopath, in the young guy).
    Please put two and two together and stop your crippling stupidity.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  13. PixieStyx
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    Jan 30th 2016 !⃝

    Read all reviews. Feel I lived this song. All reviews apply. ALL OF THEM. One damn good song, video and artist.

  14. PixieStyx
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    Jan 30th 2016 !⃝

    She was in love with him. He was a psychopath. She was a codependent Addict, Borderline Personality. She reached the Discard stage and couldn't figure out why he dumped her in the river. So she keeps going back to the river hoping she can retrieve the Idolization stage that entrapped her in the first place. Ultimately, as an old decrepid man, he ends up beaten by life's beauty, thus the tattooed body, (an effort to prove he is actually human and real). But he has never known love. Just sex, drugs and alcohol. She continues to "go back to that fairy tail river to pray" for the magic that was "them" in the Idolization Stage. Such a rush, such a high! Nope. Futile. He never loved her. She weeps for the image of love he used to deceive her. At least she's still praying. He's an empty shell looking for something that will never be satisfied. She still waits for his ghost to return. The ghost of a lover that never really was anyway, because she was just his Supply, while he was everything to her. He's a GHOST.

  15. anonymous
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    Dec 3rd 2015 !⃝

    Alrighty, this is going to sick for some of you reading this, but this is the ACTUAL meaning of the song. I know this from experience.

    The writer of this song (don't know if ella is the writer or just the singer) is constantly haunted by demons. Not cute little Casper ghosts, but ghosts that touch her and torment her during the night. She goes to the river to pray, thinking that she'll be able to get rid of her past sins (the ones that opened her for demon possession or haunting in the first place, like sex or drinking or drugs just like the bars or dim motel rooms that video seems to put her) but it doesnt work because she's not getting rid of them the right way. We'll get to that.

    Her friends had tried to help her, telling her not to become involved with the man, the drugs, knowing that within them is hiding the devil who's operating it all.

    This isn't about the sad fate of two lovers. It's talking about an actual "evil" that "was coming through" the eyes of the man she was with, who was also possessed.

    "These eyes sitting on the wall
    They watch every move I make
    Bright light living in the shade
    Your cold heart makes my spirit shake"

    Her home is full of demons who constantly watch her. They tell her to do horrible things, aka cold hearted, and they threaten to hurt her or ACTUALLY do hurt her if she doesn't obey. She is the "bright light" that is "living in the shade", because her potencial is so much more than what she's become. She's a daughter of god, but her light is dimming. She's in pain, emotionally, physivally, and spiritually.

    "Each time that I think you're gone, I turn around and you're creeping in. And I let you under my skin. Guess I love living in the sin"

    That's pretty self explanatory, but I'll break it down. Another one of the reasons her prayers aren't working is because she doesn't completely want to be free. She's in pain from her past and wants to be free but she enjoys, in small part, the feeling of demons inside her. She wants them gone, but at the same time she loves "living in the sin". She needs to "give up the ghosts" and become clean again. Truth is though, that if she only knew what happiness and true love was, she would "give up the ghost" in an instant and never look back.

    "Oh you never told me True love was gonna hurt
    True pain I don't deserve Truth is that I never learn" Satan has a very deceptive way of making us believe that good is bad and bad is good. The writer or ella was told, perhaps, that these demons love her, that they want to be with her, or that they'll make her more powerful. But it's a lie. True love doesn't act that way. She knows that inside, but she doesn't apply it to her life. She doesn't learn.

    The commandments of God act as a shield against the power of the adversary. Many people look at them as barriers from "having fun" or "living life" when really EVERY.SINGLE.ONE is for YOUR happiness and progression. And if you choose the contrary; you are in his power.

  16. anonymous
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    Nov 6th 2015 !⃝

    Two ways to look at it:

    The old guy and the young guy are the same person. The tattoos he got later in his life as he got older.

    As a young man he met this girl and she died. Either he killed her or he was blamed for her death. The 'Ghost' of her 'keeps him awake'. He's in pain from losing her, even as an older man, and he's not able to let her go despite wanting to "Give up the Ghost, no more haunting baby". He keeps pictures of her on his vanity. He went to jail for her death, and he's unable to escape that pain and guilt of her death. He breaks free in the end to confront the man who he'll be in the future if he can't let go.

    The second interpretation is simpler. The young man and the girl were in love, the older man stalked her and then killed her one day (keeping track of her with pictures on his mirror). The young man was blamed and was jailed. But he escapes and finds the man who did kill her, with the police chasing him in the background.

    Either one works .

  17. IKnow
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    May 7th 2015 !⃝

    Are all of you that dull and dumb?
    The only person who insightful enough to hit this on the nail was Anonymous whom posted on January 10th.
    The video is clearly about being in a relationship with sociopath, the love bombing, the discard and cheating.
    These types of relationships take an almost supernatural hold on a person and make it impossible to break free.
    The video is about the read-headed actress who HAD a relationship with the psychopath, the bearded, older man.
    She fell hard for him. He didn't care--he played her and cheated on her (look at the pics of all the other women on the motel mirror). She can't let go, she's fallen, she's haunted by his memory.
    The nw boyfriend loves her dearly and knows and understands that she has to go and take a break to pray and try to break free.
    But sociopath won't literally or figueratively let go. He follows her to the river where she's trying to shake free.
    He follows and she lets him in--she'll never learn, can't learn. She's hooked.
    This time, he finishes the job--sociopths always do, if you give them another chance.
    How many of you have had to run to the river? And you still can't tell what this video is about? God...

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  18. anonymous
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    May 3rd 2015 !⃝

    This song would make a great anti-smoking message. "Give up the ghost," refers to the addiction of cigarettes, that keeps haunting you no matter How hard you try to quit..It's always on your mind. It is fighting that demon called temptation that brings about the pain. The cigarettes will keep burning even if you don't initiate the release of it's toxic smoke.

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