Holly Humberstone is racking up a pretty strong collection of emo-pop: ‘Falling Asleep at the Wheel’, ‘Drop Dead’, ‘Buzz Kill’, and now the piano ballad ‘Haunted House’.
Trading the indie rock background and big poppy hooks for stark emotion and wistful whispery vocals, ‘Haunted House’ possibly signals a new direction for Humberstone. Or maybe Humberstone is just good at producing more than one kind of song. That would be cool.
Last years Falling Asleep at the Wheel saw Humberstone stepping out of Lewis Capaldi’s shadow as his accompanying act on tour (just a side note: the idea that Capaldi, 24, can already be a mentor to a younger artist like Humberstone, 21, makes me anxious about my own accomplishments up to this point).
‘Haunted House’ is a stark, intimate affair, with Humberstone’s voice trembling with delicacy and uncertainty, even as it swirls around the piano accompaniment wonderfully. The major-minor chord switch is a pop music cliche, but it still works in instances like this. Really, the song is a single verse followed by a chorus and then nothing, in and out in two minutes. Humberstone, then, also gets points for efficiency.
No matter how good the song is, though, it still has to compete with Jumpin’ Gene Simmons’ ‘Haunted House‘ for the title of “best song with the name ‘Haunted House'”, and frankly that’s impossible to do because Simmons’ ‘Haunted House’ is the cheesiest, silliest, most egregiously amazing dance crazy single ever. Simmons’ ‘Haunted House’ isn’t named after a dance, and the singer is not the infamous KISS bassist either, but rather the song describes the dance moves that the ghosts and ghouls of a possessed property would do if one should move in. It’s ridiculously early ’60s, in all its pure Mystery Science Theater 3000-esque so-bad-its-good glory. Anyway, that’s my favourite ‘Haunted House’, but Humberstone’s is pretty good too, I guess.
Check out the video for ‘Haunted House’ down, below.