Veruca Salt Ghost Notes

Maybe you can never go home again. But if you could, Ghost Notes would be the soundtrack.

For some reason I’ve avoided writing about Ghost Notes since it came out last summer. I’m not sure why—I really like this album. I also love Veruca Salt. They make the short list of my all-time favorite bands. The only thing I can think of is that I was trying to keep this album for myself. It’s like reliving a memory—something you’d only share with someone who understands what you’ve been through. Or maybe it’s because Nina and Louise harmonizing again feels like a freshly washed blanket out of a warm dryer and I just want to curl up and daydream while I listen. It’s been my sanctuary, invitation only.

Ghost Notes is vibrant, powerful, and packed with refined adult angst; it’s also extremely familiar. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s my favorite quality of the album. It’s everything I miss about Veruca Salt and how I’ve romanticized the idea of what it would be like to recapture teenage love. Reality will never be as good as the fantasy, but in Veruca Salt’s case they’ve managed to rediscovered the magic they had from their first two albums, and in doing so brought me right back into my high school bedroom. Maybe you can never go home again, but if you could this would be the soundtrack. Older, more mature, and all of the childish insecurities buried deep beneath an exterior of defiance and collared shirts.

Not that Veruca Salt was ever the youthful exuberance of pop rock, the band leaning more on cerebral advances and driving guitars, but this album is a living will of their progression as musicians and songwriters. They’ve become masters of their craft, something only time and experience can develop—a kick to the nuts of the double-edged tragedy that is rock n’ roll’s youthful expiration date. Eddie Vedder keeps doing it, Beck—even though Jack White and Billy Joe Armstrong will never see another Teen Choice Award—nostalgia aside—the craftsmanship of their music has dramatically improved with their age.

Veruca Salt can be kept in the same company, but it’s their familiar dynamic, harmony, and energy that makes Ghost Notes one of my favorite records over the last year—not it’s ability. This record gives you the same feeling you get when you meet up with a friend you haven’t seen in years. It’s effortless—you just pick right back up where you left off. Sure, there’s new stories to tell, the haircuts are different, but there’s still that natural balance and flow without a moment of awkwardness.

Veruca Salt - Press Photo

Having rocked out to the band’s entire catalog over the years—including b-sides, bootlegs, and solo careers—I know all about the novella that is Veruca Salt. The explosive breakup, the questionable relationships, the piercing lyrics, and suspicious release dates—all of which may have me reading into (and appreciating) this album more than I should. It was such a welcomed surprise when it was announced, and to be honest I never thought it would actually make it to the release date. But it did. A testament to all of us experimenting with adulthood.

I always envisioned that grownups had it figured out; when you reached a certain age you were blessed with knowledge, confidence, authority, and sound decision making skills. I know we get better at it, but I mostly feel like my teenage self trying to do all of the things that adults are supposed to be doing. Acting the way they’re supposed to act. While I don’t feel this album is pretending to be anything that it isn’t, if you listen close, you can still hear the young women who wrote "Celebrate You" and "Wolf." The heart and soul is the same, the skin just got a little thicker and metaphors more profound. Ghost Notes is new music that I can identify with—adult relationships and heartbreak, resentment, reminiscing, tempered excitement, freedom, and self-reliance—all told through familiar voices that sung me through the teenage equivalent.

Ghost Notes is a throwback to the way music used to be enjoyed—the overarching quality and build of the entire album being more important than a forgettable single. You put the record on and listen to it as a whole, it’s power and mystique diminished by iPhone shuffle—a nod back to the days when you put a physical disc in a player and were rewarded for your effort.

I'm happy for Veruca Salt. They’ve mended fences, bottled chemistry, and persevered. If you were ever a fan of the band, buy the album. Don’t even question it. If you’re just discovering them—welcome to the rabbit hole. You’ve just made a new best friend.

Pick Up Your Copy

  • Prime
  • Kindle
  • Paperback
  • Hardcover
  • Buy
SW Hammond
Your signed copies of Stevie Pearl are in the mail. A big thank you to the nearly 3,000 people who entered the giveaway over on Goodreads!...
SW Hammond
Enter to win a signed copy before the release! With the help of Goodreads , I'm giving away 20 signed copies of Stevie Pearl ahead of the...
SW Hammond
Reserve your copy now! As we move toward the release of Stevie Pearl, more milestones come and go. Officially getting the novel on Amazon is...
SW Hammond
There has never been a better time — there has never been more opportunity than right now — for people to do the right thing. If we do the...
SW Hammond
Should you ever find yourself in a position of influence, you’ll be required to pay the toll of compliance. I am part of the first...
SW Hammond
No matter your political stance, newspapers are organizations of sensationalism, partisanship, editorial opinion, and payola. Journalists...
SW Hammond
Sarah Saturday's dreamy-reflective bedroom pop rock project captivates and compels with earnest songwriting. Sarah Saturday might be my...
SW Hammond
Maybe you can never go home again. But if you could, Ghost Notes would be the soundtrack. For some reason I’ve avoided writing about Ghost...
SW Hammond
Guilty Pleasure? Embarrassed??? Hardly. As much as I love music, and devoted a significant amount of my life to it, I can still be pretty...
SW Hammond
I recently contributed to the following question: what are some of the best books for beginners of philosophy? This is kind of loaded...
SW Hammond
The answers I’ve arrived at could have never been told to me—as I cannot tell them to you—they were achieved through realization by...
SW Hammond
On every measurable scale, no matter which side you are sympathetic toward, The Shortest War In History adds to the long list of Unjust wars...
SW Hammond
I was finally able to extract a bunch of data from an old hard drive. I was sure it contained old writings, school projects and music but...
SW Hammond
As I’ve become older, out of my twenties for a couple of years, I’ve found myself settling into a pattern of reveling in solitude. When I...
SW Hammond
I used to pour my guts out. Seems the only way I ever understood my feelings were to read them. The collection within these pages used to...


Enter your email below and never miss news and new releases from SW Hammond.