by Erin Crosbie
Not a lot has been written about Tumblr’s effect on music. The blogging platform is famous for being a safe haven for teens, a hotbed of social justice activity, and home to...well, lots and lots of pornography. And that’s how Tumblr likes it,
But Tumblr has also created musical communities centered around less conventional musical artists, and In Love With A Ghost is one of these. A Paris-based artist, In Love With A Ghost creates quirky, intriguing chillwave music with strong musical flourishes.
Healing, their most recent release, is a continuation of the musical themes that they’d explored in earlier releases. Gender and gender identity appear in a song with the fantastic title “am i a girl? am i a boy? do i really care? i'm hungry anyway”, before leading into the album’s rich, gorgeous closer “Healing”.
Healing straddles the line between quirky and cutesy quite well, never quite becoming insufferably twee. In fact, the album’s main achievement is taking instrumental genres like chillwave and downtempo that have a reputation for being, well, chilly, and making them warm and emotional. The song’s titles perfectly match their titles -- “i was feeling down then i found a nice witch and now we're best friends” takes you through the sentence musically, with later track “i know it's not easy but you're not alone anymore” building further on the preceding tracks’ warmth, with a gentle naivete.
The album is a low-key concept album, telling the story of a budding friendship between two characters: “azerty” and “qwerty”. These names are in reference to the commonly used keyboards -- AZERTY in France, and QWERTY in English-speaking countries. qwerty is a witch who azerty befriends, and from here they develop a special emotional bond. At one point, qwerty enchants a house which they have to fight (in a surprisingly groovy song that sounds like a fight song from a JRPG). The album ends with the two as perhaps more than friends? Perhaps not.
Since Healing is a collection of instrumentals, the concept is sussed out through the unusually descriptive album titles and the musical sense. The album seems to hint as past trauma, that can be healed through friendship. It’s a lovely message, and the music’s warmth and humanity drives this point home.
Rating: **** / *****