tanner llewellyn | Manakin Sabot, VA United States | 08/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As far as Phish studio albums go, I guess I place them into 4 chronological categories: the early years (Junta, Lawn Boy, Picture of Nectar), the mid-years (Rift, Hoist, Billy Breathes), the later years (Story of the Ghost, Siket Disc, Farmhouse) and the post hiatus period (Round Room, Undermind). Story of the Ghost may not be the one Phish album I would take with me to a deserted island, but it's definitely the best of the later period and beyond. Granted, most of these songs were enormous live, especially in the summer and fall of '97 when they were brand new and awesome, but Phish somehow managed to contain these songs in the studio in a manner that doesn't seem stale or over-produced. These songs exist in two realms: one as a short concise cohesive studio entity...and in another as monstrous live improvisational jams that have no relation to this album."
A pretty solid effort
jovaldo | 03/12/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album has some of the strongest recordings Phish has ever done, but some of it is pretty mediocre (hence the four star rating instead of five.) Having seen over 20 Phish shows I feel I can say these things objectively. "Ghost" is a fantastic song that shows the band's growing love for 70's funk (although its definately done 90's Phish-style), bassist Mike Gordon really adds the thump to this song. "Birds of a Feather" is an extremely catchy song that will attach itself to you immediately...but not so catchy that'll it'll be tiresome after repeated listening. Guitarist Trey Anastasio has a short, sweet and blistering solo in this song, which works extremely well on album. Not only does it prevent the album from sounding like a concert, but it leaves the songs open for more unique jamming in concert. If they orchestrate a big jam on record, it stifles their creativity at live shows (which is where the real Phish is found anyway!) Another wonderful inclusion is the long-time fan favorite (and once oft-neglected in concert) "Guyute." Other songs like "Fikus," "Meat," and "Shafty" just don't have much direction and pale in comparison to such strong songs like "Water in the Sky" (a country-ish tune with great percussion), "Limb by Limb" (with its anthemic finish), and "Wading in the Velvet Sea, which in my opinion is an amazing song and contains one of Trey's most passionate guitar solos on record. It also shows they can write great slow songs. The album wraps up with the wonderful tune "The Moma Dance," which has a deep groove that really opens up in concert (and is captured nicely on album.) While this album is chock full of trademark Phish silliness, it also displays some more thoughtful songs. It builds on the strong foundation of its predecessor "Billy Breathes" and is a testament that Phish is becoming stronger in the studio. Hopefully this is a taste of greater things to come."
J. MacAyeal | libertyville, illinois United States | 05/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is it. The Phish centerpiece. This CD is the studio CD equal to a live set peak. It was this recording that clarified for me all that Phish was about...much more so that any online reviews or books or phan discussions could ever do. I'm sure I could be argued out of saying this is their greatest recording, but let me say that it truly is a masterpiece. Listen to song samples or find other reviews for song-by-song advice. I'll just say that GHOST, GUYUTE, ROGGEA, MOMA DANCE and LIMB BY LIMB are incredible. They juxtapose and speak to Phish's back cataloge of music as well as referring to their own former selves as if they walk side by side with who they were and who they will become. They even refer to their next CD (JIBBOO). THis CD is a hub, musically, personally, and spiritually for the band.
But to at least be fair, since anyone reading this might want to actually get a specific idea...think of Story of the Ghost as a tale of how the band experiences their creative soul and artistic muse through music and how it gets lost in the shuffle of life and how it is one's hope to "find" it again (GHOST). It goes on to describe how the everyday realities and oppressive people and elements of life (BIRDS, MEAT) will alter and bury their own search for meaning, even going so far as to describe a state of artistic mute and/or hell (FIKUS, SHAFTY) from childhood (GUYUTE) through the present (ROGGAE)and the process of separating from these unwanted elements (LIMB BY LIMB)to finding you OWN reasons (BRIAN AND ROBERT) and inspiration (WATER IN THE SKY)to a resolve of confession to their audience (VELVET SEA) to a tandem final awareness that audience loves them even if they don't understand them (MOMA DANCE..moment ends...get it?) The GHOST theme...the muse itself and the hidden meaning in all their songs of loss and redemption, returns at the end to remind us that the entire CD is about this and how PHISH blend the influences of music, personalities and audience into a mix but never lose sight of their own ideas...hopefully passing them to us who listen. END OF SESSION...listen carefully...each phrase in that coda song reflects on a song on the CD as a bittersweet recap.
I could seriously talk for a solid year on these guys. I'll shut up. Suffice to say this CD is my conceptual favorite."
Just give it a chance..
spiral_mind | Pennsylvania | 02/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you regard Junta as the pinnacle of all things Phish, save your money and don't buy this album. If you liked Billy Breathes, give it a listen. The same Phish sound is still here: the melodies that glide along in a groove, the lyrics that range between listenable and inane, the upbeat hummable tunes, the mix of styles and influences from rock to funk ("Moma Dance," "Ghost") to reggae ("Limb By Limb") to bluegrass ("Water in the Sky") to soft rock bordering on ambient ("Brian & Robert," "Velvet Sea"). The songs are simpler than we're used to from Phish; I think this is the main problem most people have. "Guyute" aside, each song uses a straight-ahead verse/chorus tune instead of twisting and turning all over the place a la "You Enjoy Myself." The tone is more relaxed than usual, more suited to late night listening than a sunny afternoon outdoors. Phish albums usually seem to have a couple weak tracks, and this is no exception - check "Shafty," "Meat" and "Fikus" - but the rest is definitely worth a listen."
The Must Have Phish Album
S. Manuele | 10/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are already a Phish fan, Story of the Ghost is a necessary album to add to the collection. If you have never heard of Phish before, Story of the Ghost is a worthy buy for any music collection. The album features exactly what the title says, a story of the ghost. Each song leads into one another musically and lyrically. Some feel that the album isn't as successful as other Phish albums, but I disagree. The album may be a little different than most, but it tells a great story. Some songs are shorter than others, but some points in the story are stressed more than others. Phish is known for their funky flare in music, and Story of the Ghost is exactly that. Some people state that some songs on the album are better than others, but singling out one song eliminates the entire flow of the album. The album starts out with Ghost, with somewhat of a ghost story feeling. The next song, Birds of a Feather, brings up day to day issues of social relationships with a funky guitar flare. Next follows, Meat, which brings back the topic of ghosts in a different context. Guyute follows, telling the story of Guyute the pig ending with a long jam. Guyute is a great song to see in concert due to the room for improvisation during the jam portion of the song. Song number four is Fikus explaining a dream, shortly, but sweetly. Next is Shafty which brings us back to the ghost story explaining the situation of hell. The following song is Limb by Limb, which is a popular song amongst most. After that comes Frankie's Song, which pokes at the 1980's saying of "Frankie says relax," but in a more serious matter. Brian and Robert comes next, one of my personal favorites, which gives a song to those who may be a little different than most. Following is Water in the Sky, which picks up the pace. Song number 11 is Roggae, which encourages the idea that everyone has there own purpose in life. Wading in the Velvet Sea follows, which is yet another amazing song to hear in concert. It takes more of a serious tone, helping to conclude the album, another one of my personal favorites. The album continues on a light note with The Moma Dance, which confuses the words, "the moment ends" with, "the moma dance." The album ends with what is called End of Session, which basically just concludes the entire story and jam. If you want to truly enjoy this album for what it is, put aside a few hours and listen to it all the way through. Enjoy the entirety of the album; listen to the story. Phish is a clever band, and would only name the album Story of the Ghost if there really was a story to be told. "