Upon first listen, “Memory’s A Ghost” by Phantom Phunk sounds like a rapper hanging out with a jam band. However, in publicity photos, Phantom Phunk looks like a group of white hipsters. The lead vocal on the song is very black sounding. Nevertheless, Phantom Phunk is what it is, a Florida trio.
The track begins with a ramshackle acoustic guitar groove, which introduces a lead vocal that’s part hip-hop influenced, part stoner rock. The track is also underpinned with weedy, spacey keyboard work, which recalls MGMT. The vocal arrangement also includes a call and response section. However, this is not the kind of call and response one finds in soul music, nor its antecedent, black gospel. In fact, the response section sounds kind of bored, much like its lead vocal.
The song begins with the couplet, “I remember chilling on a Saturday/It was bittersweet it slipped away.” It’s difficult, though, to get a good grip on exactly what Phantom Phunk is attempting to say with this track. It also includes the line, “We can fly away.” So, are they trying to go back in time to the past, or escape the present into the future? One can’t be entirely sure.
The song’s title doesn’t appear in the lyric. The song name is more of a commentary on the overall lyric, in some respect or other. Perhaps the title refers to the way memories can sometimes haunt us. Like a ghost, these recollections can come around unexpectedly. If this is what the song means, though, to paraphrase the Ghostbusters theme song: They ain’t afraid of no ghosts. They’re just too relaxed, or maybe too stoned, to fear any sort of phantoms.
Sonically, this is a summer-y sort of song. With its mostly acoustic instrumentation and general light feel, the song is happy-go-lucky and peaceful. The song’s overall vibe also leaves it feeling un-haunted. Could it be that the song’s creators are taking this relaxed approach to escape from facing ghosts from the past? Is it the same thing as whistling through the graveyard? Just acting like nothing’s wrong, until nothing is actually wrong. Could be.
A group with a name like Phantom Phunk releasing a song about ghosts is smart because there’s a connection between the band name and the band’s song. Maybe not as obvious as Wang Chung singing, “Everybody Wang Chung tonight,” but there is nevertheless a link.
The band name’s spelling is also noteworthy. Using ‘ph’ for both Phantom, and Phunk, is visually appealing and memorable. The band may get down, get funky with other recordings, but it’s neither funky, nor phunky on this one, though.
Just as Phantom Phunk sings about chilling on a Saturday, this is a good song for Saturday chilling. Cool drinks, cool breezes and a cool track like this one is all you really need for a relaxing, lazy weekend. Hey, even if ghosts try and haunt your Saturday recline, maybe they’ll grab a cold one, feel the gentle breeze and start digging this song. And then, they’ll forget about trying to spook you. You never know; it could happen.