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Ella Henderson: Ghost Meaning


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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. Yukiyulia
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    Oct 24th 2014 report

    Some important clues I like to point out.

    Firstly, the young man and the old man are the same person. They have the same facial features and similar beards. The directors of this video did clearly found 2 look-alike actors to portray that they are the same person.

    Secondly, the younger version wasn't just running away from the police. He was actually following the voices from the "ghost". This was evident as he was covering his head and ears in frustration many times during the run.

    Thirdly, Ella is the ghost here, she led the younger version to the motel room. Her motive may be to lead him to confront his older-self. This was evident as Ella was seen during the police cars chased. She then disappeared in the next scene. Ella also featured many scenes in the motel which the younger man eventually turns up.

    My conclusion is that the young man and his girlfriend which he loves deeply were having a wonder vacation near a river. The video did show they were on rowing on a boat. I suspect, there was an accident and the lady drown to death. The young man was shown to be in distraught after that.

    The flashbacks did not indicate any signs of violence from the young man so I do not believe he killed her. He later went to jail probably because he could not get over her death and resort to crime or drugs leading to his incarceration.

    In prison, the voices keeping ringing his head and drives him crazy to the point that he had to break out of prison to confront it.

    The older man was shown releasing the lady to the river and letting her float away. He also tore her picture from mirror. I put this as him finally getting over her at an old age.

    The younger version confront his older self at the end of the video. I believe the ghost which is his girlfriend wanted him to get over her quickly. Hence she directed him to see his older-self whom was living in a motel all alone filled with sadness. She wanted him to move on with his life earlier and not until when he is old and miserable.

  2. anonymous
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    Oct 18th 2014 report

    Here are my two cents. Ella narrates the story and the old guy and the young guy are the same person at different time periods. The young man has a mental disorder (probably split personality or something of the like) and kills his girlfriend. Running away from prison makes him relive the memories with her and the murder. As police is chasing him (possibly a metaphor for his guilty conscience) he realizes/remembers what he has done and faces his demons (by meeting the old man). He possibly spends some time in prison and already as an old man 'goes to the river to pray' and 'gives up the ghost' by letting the dead girl's body float in the river and ripping apart her picture. To me there are two ghosts- the ghost of the young man is his darker side (represented by the old man) and he is trying to set himself free which he does by meeting him at the end. The ghost of the old man is the dead woman he loved which he is able to let go of after many years (represented by her dead body sinking in the water and him destroying her picture).

  3. anonymous
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    Oct 13th 2014 report

    The music video should not be taken literally as the song is not about a murder. It concerns an abusive (or at least manipulative) relationship that escalates into a horrific event (or series of events) that the singer cannot forget and continues to haunt them.

    Let's walk through the analysis of the lyrics.

    The singer is in love and blind to the fault's of the other. Hence why the friends recognize the danger but not him or her:

    "My friends had you figured out
    Yeah, they saw what's inside of you
    You tried hiding another you
    But your evil was coming through"

    In contrast, the singer does not recognize the danger being the "bright light" risking being blotted out by the shade and having their spirit shake i.e. emotionally suffocated.

    It appears it was a long ordeal for the singer to realise they were being badly treated, "I had to go through hell to prove I'm not insane", and likely only realised to a particularly bad event in their life, "Had to meet the devil just to know his name".

    Throughout the rest of the song, this terrible incident reverberates and the singer cannot escape it, being scarred. Hence the chorus and rest of the song.

    I'm not a huge fan of the video but if I had to take a stab: the younger man is running from a past relationship (not literally the police) and the older man is someone that has been through the same process but learnt to at least somewhat (though not completely) let the memories go e.g. as per the woman falling into the lake and the taking down one of the pictures. I think the confrontation at the end is perhaps a recognition of what letting go is i.e. no longer being hunted in the river but still having the memories and not being completely recovered.

    Ultimately I'm confident in my interpretation of the lyrics but not so much the music video!

  4. anonymous
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    Oct 12th 2014 report

    Henderson told Radio.com that she and Tedder wrote the song in just twenty minutes, describing it as a "soulful song with a twist." She added: "It's about this someone or something that just has a hold over you, tormenting you, you're trying to run away from it, but you just can't. And I think a lot of people can relate in so many different ways."

  5. anonymous
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    Oct 4th 2014 report

    aye.. i thought the song is about the girl falling in love with the wrong guy. all her friends managed to tell hes no good for her but yet she chose not to believe them. Then she realised hes not good for her yet she loves him very much. Wanting to give up the ghost that keeps haunting hurts. the video is just a metaphor to show how the person trying to escape from the ghost with love, confusion and yet fears. hope im interpreting the song right.

  6. anonymous
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    Sep 22nd 2014 report

    I think its complicated. Ella's character has been truamatized.by the death of the deadhead girl. She ran away, (I had to got through hell to prove I wasn't insane) and Josh hutcherson is looking for her. The older man is the redheads boyfriends dad, and he, like Ella, has been mentally truamatized (perhaps by offspring or spouse death) and is trying to keep his son to himself, thus killing the one who is pulling him away. Ella is somehow related or very close to her, and goes to the river, as it is her place of death. The ghost of her is haunting Ella and the river, and Ella is saying to it go to heaven and give up the ghost. (Give up the ghost) ella is also worried that the killer will come after her, giving her nightmares of demons.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  7. anonymous
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    Sep 13th 2014 report

    I think it's about domestic abuse!

  8. anonymous
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    Sep 5th 2014 report

    I think that Ghost is about a man who was arrested escaping from the police. At the start you see a man running through the woods, with police chasing him. Later you see that he is wearing an orange jumpsuit. This suggests that he was running away from prison. I think that police arrested the younger man when he killed his girlfriend (drowning obviously), and he is going to confront his future self. Firstly let me say, yes it may first appear they are two different people (age and tattoo problem) but after he escaped from prison, he got tattoos and then aged.People do that! People can age and appearance can change with age! So the idea that they’re the same person is not far off! Ella is singing from the perspective of the ex girlfriend. She survived, and then moved on but the boyfriend went on to harm someone else. When Ella sings about how she had to go through hell, to prove she's not insane, she's talking about how she had to go through so much to prove, this actually happened and that he did domestically assault, Ella’s character in this video. This suggests that the police didn’t believe her at the time and her ex boyfriend went on to another woman. To say that Ella was domestically assaulted would be laying down some big accusations that I’m not willing to make so I’m just going say that whatever perspective this song is written from, it sounds like that of someone who was domestically assaulted, survived and went on to fear the offender because the police did not believe them. When she sings about the ghost that keeps her awake, the fact that the person who caused her so much pain (the person who assaulted her), is still out there, it haunts her because of what she now knows he’s capable of. When she sings about going to the river to pray, she’s praying because she knows it could have been her, and she wants to wash out the pain of the memories. Another reason I think that this is what the video is about is because Ella sings about how her friends had you figured out, but she saw another side and that eventually his evil was coming through, she left him. Around 2:03 - 2:06 (in the video), she talks about how someone said ‘true love is gonna hurt’, ‘true friends that’ll never learn’, I think these are things that her ex would have been saying to her, stuff he was telling her and she believed. When Ella’s singing about give up the ghost, her characters talking about how she needs to move on and move past this.

    I think it’s either that or the girl that died, her boyfriend was arrested for murdering her when really he didn't and at the end of the clip, after escaping prison he’s decided he’s going to confront the man who really killed his girlfriend, a serial murderer (look at the mirror), there a bunch of different photographs. The man escaping from prison knew who killed his girlfriend and escaped so that he could find the real killer. The song would then be written from the innocent man’s point of view. When Ella sings ‘give up the ghost it’s actually the man trying to convince himself to give up his quest of finding his girlfriend’s real killer but he decides to go anyway. When Ella’s singing about I had to go through hell to prove I wasn't insane, it’s the younger man, stating that he had to go through hell to prove he was innocent but in the end it didn't work out. He was dying inside knowing that the girl he loved was murdered and her killer is still out there (I sleep all these all demons away, washout the pain). When Ella sings the ghost of you keeps me awake, the ghost of the girl he loved keeps him awake.

  9. anonymous
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    Sep 5th 2014 report

    Okay, honesty, there are very different point of views, but I think this is how it goes:

    Ella has a boyfriend, the younger man and they share special moments etc. on the boats and yeah. The older man is jealous of her ex (I'm pretty sure it is) and he killed her and dumped her body while the police thought Ella's current boyfriend killed her which he didn't. At the end the younger man meets the older man.

  10. anonymous
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    Aug 29th 2014 report

    The old man and the young man are not the same person!!! Old man has lots of tattoos what younger did not have! Not even after he breaks free from prison. The old guy is a serial killer, because there is pictures of DIFFERENT girls in the mirror! And as they say that serial killers often keep pictures to remember what they did so in the video he is not obsessing over his ex! Young guy maybe did something to end up in prison but he breaks free to kill the serial killer that killed his girlfriend.

  11. anonymous
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    Aug 27th 2014 report

    I agree with post August 24th 2014, 21:06. Perfect interpretation. Dramatic holding ons of what isn't really there.

  12. anonymous
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    Aug 24th 2014 report

    Continued from below...i also think he kills her in the end cos wen she finally realised he was evil she left him. He wanted control back so he killed her. Maybe young guy is fake personality n the tattooed guy is real evil him. The pics on the wall is him obsessed. Video confuses it a bit but if u listen then watch video it's straight forward really. Everyone has different perceptions tho

  13. anonymous
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    Aug 24th 2014 report

    I think it's about someone who was with a personality disordered man n cause u don't know these people are disordered till it's quite a bit into the relationship. That's why it's says all her friends had him figured out n u tried ur best in another u n I saw the evil coming thru. Another u is the fake person a he puts on at start to get the girl then his evil finally shows. The ghost of u means she is tormented by what he did to her e.g. abusive. N give up the haunting means stop stalking me

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  14. anonymous
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    Aug 23rd 2014 report

    Here's what a lot of people think:
    A girl is trying to drown herself in a river/lake but her dead boyfriend's spirit keeps her from doing it.

    This seems legit but nobody knows the meaning except Ella and her co-writers.

  15. anonymous
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    Aug 20th 2014 report

    Nobody gets killed, that's just a metaphor. The old man and the young man are the same person, clearly the old man cannot deal with the fact that she's gone, the young man is running from his past/demons, i.e. metaphorically defined as the police. When he breaks into the room, he's confronting his future/past.

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