Ghost’s IMPERA: the worst best album


   Four years. Four long, dreadful, insatiable years. That’s how long ago Ghost’s fourth studio album, Prequelle came out. Sure, there were some great tracks on it, but it seemed more like a demo for something bigger. People were happy with it, but we were all thinking, “Okay Forge, when’s the next BIG “Ghost” album coming?” “In four years!” says Forge, slapping our greasy foreheads with a comically oversized kayak oar. In all fairness, a single called “Hunter’s Moon” came out in 2021 alongside the Halloween Kills movie, but that movie blew and the song was weirdly cheery. I scoffed and took an arbitrary leave. (I actually didn’t, because I’m a sucker for this band, but the dramatic effect is necessary). Then, in January, they released a single from their new album IMPERA, and my joy was restored.

   I don’t even know where to begin with this one. When that single, “Call Me Little Sunshine” came out, I gave it a listen and absolutely hated it. I thought it was one of the worst songs they’ve ever produced. The chorus wasn’t catchy like they usually are, the song seemed dumbed down in general and it was sounding like Ghost was losing its originality… Then, I listened to it a second time and absolutely loved it. That’s the main gripe I have with Ghost; you can’t determine if it’s a good song until you hammer it into your brain. It’s not just me that thinks this, because there are plenty of Ghost fans who go through this, and have had the exact scenario happen to them upon the release of this song. So, whatever, that’s one song. Then, they released another song from the album called “Twenties” which was just a ride. As an immediate contradiction, it was actually one of the first Ghost songs I’ve listened to where I could determine that this was a pretty good song right away. It was so funky and weird. It was symphonic and role-call-y; all things we’ve never seen them do. This was a surprise because despite how different it was, the quality was there and the song turned out fantastic. 

   The actual album came out in March to my own critical acclaim. After one measly listen-through, I already determined that this was one of the greatest albums I’ve ever listened to. I had ALSO determined that on top of that, it was a Crock-pot full of dog crap. So, what’s the deal?

   This album does a lot of things right. I’m going to get it out of the water… I have every song on this album in my main playlist. All of them are my favorites but my all-time favorite from the album is “Respite on the Spitalfields.”. I love how ear-wormy it is. It starts off pretty mellow and then explodes with a choir and great lyrical delivery by Forge. It’s full length spans almost seven minutes, and is very worthy of it, because it ends up feeling like a two-minute song. Other honorable mentions would be songs like  “Kaisarion,” “Griftwood,” “Spillways,” andWatcher in the Sky.” I cannot describe them in a way other than that they scratch my brain in the right ways. It’s almost as if this album was MADE for me! 

   The album contains twelve tracks, with three of them being an intro and two others being interludes. A full listen will set you back forty-six minutes, but I’d say it’s well worth the listen… if you’re willing to keep up with the mindless verbal barfing they call lyrics.

My assortment of Ghost memorabilia, to show how much I hate them.

   This is where I turn to criticism; I hate this album as much as I love it because of how meaningless all of the lyrics are. I think the reason why I love it so much is because I do not pay attention to the lyrics of songs. The way I determine if a song is good is if it sounds semi-decent. I like all kinds of music and if it sounds good, I love it, no matter what it is. The reach of my playlist is so weird because it can go from hard, skin-ripping techno to a calm, acoustic medley. Anyways, paying attention to lyrics was my biggest mistake when listening to   IMPERA. Nothing makes sense and it doesn’t feel like they exist for a reason; it seems like the songs were made to fill a deadline. Nothing sticks, and I still do not understand the meaning behind most of the lyrics. I know that “Twenties” is about a rise in power and the corrupted government officials/Donald Trump, but that’s the only one I could really pinpoint. The best comparison I can give to this is when you’re up to present in front of a class and you were not prepared in the slightest, so you wing it and somehow you breeze through. I don’t know how they weaseled past the quality check, but they did, and I am mad. I don’t count as a fan of this album, because I’m a neanderthal, and consume anything related to this band no matter what. 

   I love this album! I think this is a great step up from their previous works, and it is clear they want to take steps in the right direction for their musical footprint. Ghost is always good at doing things that other bands are afraid to do and executes that pretty flawlessly. They do things well where others fall short, such as their presentation and their cute, little idea where every album has its own theme. For example, Infestissumam was about the general idea of cultism. Opus Eponymous was about Satanism. (Executed poorly.) Prequelle was about the plague and living in the Salem witch trials. Meliora was about humanism and counterculture. IMPERA is about… Imperialism. I think It’s a pretty cool touch. I feel like every time I listen to one of these albums, I’m setting foot in THAT time period.

   I’d say overall, I like IMPERA more than I dislike it, but I also don’t think it’s good that I dislike it either. Usually, at the end of an album, I would recommend a listen to it, but I’m not too sure about this one… maybe listen to it and give it a try. If you don’t like it during the first listen, I don’t think you should waste any more time.