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“Wait” by ghost singers: Music for a Beautiful, Melancholy Holding Pattern

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The past three years of my life have been defined by waiting. After graduating from college, I had to wait around the house, occupying myself with writing while I heard back from all the jobs I had applied for and didn’t get. I applied for grad programs and waited to hear back from them, too. Then, of course, I had to wait inside with everyone else: for the pandemic to subside, for vaccines to develop, for the world to get its shit together long enough to get those vaccines, for some semblance of normalcy. It came, after a fashion, and soon enough grad school will start. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that I’m still in a holding pattern.

Maybe that’s why I like “Wait” as much as I do. It’s a song by the collective known as ghost singers (all lowercase), a group of musicians from across the globe, from Canada to Brazil to the UK to Australia. As appears to be standard protocol with ghost singers, “Wait” isn’t credited to any singer or musician in particular, so at the moment I can’t quite put a name to the voice. But no matter who’s singing or playing the guitar, the elegant loneliness this song expresses is truly lovely.

“Wait” is quite simple in terms of its instrumentation: just an acoustic guitar and some vocals. This spareness, however, lends it a contemplative, melancholic mood that works beautifully. The vocals ache without boiling over into raw pain, and the guitar rolls and strums without ever building to a climax. It really does feel like a wait, something that exists between one thing and another – and sometimes, if the weight is long enough, it feels like there’s nothing on either side of it.

The particular wait at the heart of “Wait” is one of romantic longing: “I don’t know what I’ll do,” the singer sighs, because “it always comes back to you.” But the song’s bittersweet atmosphere guarantees that it will resonate for anyone who feels like what they want – what they truly want – is always just out of reach, always the day after tomorrow after tomorrow after tomorrow.

A THOUGHTFUL EMAIL,
ONCE A WEEK.

A Spotify Playlist With Good Music.

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