If you find yourself attracted to the brooding tension and alluring darkness that permeates “Ghost,” you’re certainly not alone. In an email, Cuntry singer-songwriter Gabbie Watts confides that the new single is her favorite song among the group’s works, a sparse and haunting murder ballad that succeeds in part by embracing the grisly nature of the genre. “I love it because it’s Southern, gory, nihilistic, and very millennial,” Watts explains. “It also is a narrative, and I love songs that tell stories.”
Indeed, over a backdrop of spectral guitars, rueful strings, and muted percussion, Watts and Noelle Albano (violin, vocals) weave a bleak tale about a woman who’s been cast aside and killed by her lover, a cold knife slipped into her side. The surrounding atmosphere is exceedingly grim and mournful, but rather than allowing death to serve as the climax or resolution of the song, Cuntry subvert the expectations placed on the genre by turning the tables on the murderer. The resulting drama—part ghost story, part gothic revenge fantasy—slips from moments of regret and bitterness, into a storm of cathartic fury. It’s this tangle of emotions, along with a desire to confront and overturn gendered stereotypes, that inspired Watts to write “Ghost.”
“One reason [I was inspired] is that women always be getting killed in the mythos of country music/murder ballads/grovel-y men playing guitars,” Watts says. “So, this is a murder ballad in which the murdered lady comes back to haunt the man and rip his heart out whiles he’s at a dinner party or something. Also, in the song, the creepy dead lady goes between being very consoling and understanding of the man who killed her to very angry and bitter… rightly so. This is something I’ve done a lot where I try to make someone feel better even though they are the one who wronged me. Then, when I become psycho with rage, they’re like, ‘Whoa, calm down, what’s wrong with you?’ Maybe it’s a woman thing. Maybe not. But we try to have very woman-ly perspectives in Cuntry if the name doesn’t give that away.”
Written in celebration of Halloween, “Ghost” is now available for download and streaming through Bandcamp along with Cuntry’s new EP, Fast and Furious, which also releases today.