Charlene’s 2011 release Moonchild was a truly remarkable album of singer/songwriter indie/folk music that garnered her more critical acclaim than most artists who released albums that year. To that end, she ranked high on more year end best lists than one could count. That much praise is always a lot to live up to, but if Charlene’s new single “Ghost” is any indication she didn’t feel any pressure at all. On the contrary, “Ghost” finds her blossoming, opening up her voice and proving to have a surprisingly wider range than one would have guessed. And her sound is equally expansive here, “Ghost” having a much more prominent beat than anything on Moonchild. Even the piano here seems bigger and shinier. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the way she gently plays the acoustic guitar and writes biting lyrics, “Ghost” being a mid-tempo tale of a woman scorned. “You don’t feel my pain, you don’t see my sorrow, and the thing that hurts the most, is I’m just a ghost,” she sings, her voice more emotive than ever, ensuring you’ll feel her pain.
The B-side, “Beast,” has a softer, barely audible beat like many of the songs on Moonchild, but her voice is again somehow more grandiose. And it’s the perfect B-side for “Ghost,” being that it’s another biting tale of a woman scorned with brilliant lyrics. “This beast, she was a friend to me, and now is my enemy,” she sings during one of the verses. Later she sings scornfully, “she’s just a mutation, ruined my reputation.”
Charlene’s greatest gift may very well be her ability to tell stories with her songs. Her lyrics are clever and often poetic, but, more than that, they tell stories, and these stories hold you captive from the moment her songs begin until the moment they end. You’ll surely want to devour these two gems in the way you would a good book. And they’re guaranteed to haunt you just as long as anything you’ve ever read.