Rise Against earned a special place in my heart years ago by crafting great rock songs that have a meaning. Their lyrics are usually charged with a political hue; however, they write other tunes that are just fun rock songs. While The Ghost Note Symphonies, Vol. 1 doesn’t offer any new material every song shines, since the band completely changed them to forge an acoustic version.
To put it broadly, The Ghost Note Symphonies, Vol. 1 is an acoustic album. This doesn’t mean the band just swapped out their electric guitars for acoustic ones. The songs have been reworked to accommodate a different style. Other instruments were even added, providing more depth to the already great tracks. For example, at times, one can hear a series of orchestra instruments offering up haunting notes.
I think the song selection on this record is interesting. The album features songs from the band’s entire collection, which makes it more appealing to new fans. Also, the songs on The Ghost Note aren’t all radio singles. Some, like “Savoir” are highly popular tunes. However, there are slightly more obscure tunes littered across the record.
The band transformed a few of their brilliant punk rock songs into restrained ballads. Notably, “The Violence” and the Rise Against classic “Savoir” received this treatment. Both versions of these tracks are wonderful. Out of these two, “The Violence” takes the cake, for me. However, this song has remained one of my favorites since it was released.
On the other hand, some songs seem like natural choices to be reworked into an acoustic track. “Far From Perfect” and “Wait For Me” fit into this category. “Audience of One” was another obvious choice to include on The Ghost Notes. I am probably biased, but I enjoyed “Audience of One” the most, out of these three. Appeal to Reason was the album that introduced me to Rise Against.
“Faint Resemblance” is a short track imbued with a cheery ukulele. This song was reworked in a singer-song writer style, only the guitar was traded out for a ukulele. The entire package is intriguing, especially with Tim Mccllrath’s vocals soaring above the chords.
In The End
The Ghost Note Symphonies, Vol. 1 is a great acoustic record. While it doesn’t offer anything new, it offers totally new interpretations of ten Rise Against songs. Some are classics, such as “Savoir” and “Audience of One”. However, all songs on this record aren’t radio hits that everyone knows. I feel this is one of the strengths of the album. It helps diversify the band’s discography. Rise Against reworked the songs, rather than simply play them with softer tones. Even though some of the songs on this record are well known and loved, The Ghost Note showcases these alluring tunes in a much different light.