Dance Macabre (song)

"Dance Macabre" is a song by Swedish rock band Ghost. It was their second single off of their fourth studio album Prequelle. It topped the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart for two weeks in February 2019.

"Dance Macabre"
Single by Ghost
from the album Prequelle
ReleasedMay 18, 2018 (2018-05-18)
FormatDigital download
LabelLoma Vista
Producer(s)Tom Dalgety
Ghost singles chronology
"Dance Macabre"


"Dance Macabre" is a song from Ghost's fourth studio album, Prequelle. The song was debuted in a live setting, being played live at a surprise live show on May 5, 2018.[5] The studio version was previewed via the bands Instagram story on May 17, a day prior to being officially released.[6] Additionally, a separate version of the song, a disco remix version, was released on August 24, 2018, done by synthwave musician Carpenter Brut.[7] The remix had been requested by Ghost frontman Tobias Forge in April 2018, after Brut had opened for Ghost on tour in 2016.[8]

The song was later released as the second single from Prequelle, after "Rats". A music video was released on October 17, 2018. It was described by Consequence of Sound as "a homage to The Rocky Horror Picture Show."[9] In February 2019, the song topped the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart for two weeks. It was the band's third consecutive song to top the chart, after "Rats" and "Square Hammer".[10][11]

Composition and themes

Musically, the song was noted as having more of a "dance music" vibe than most of their work. Forge noted that when he originally wrote the song, he didn't envision it as a Ghost song, but once he started writing lyrics, he felt he could make it work as part of the album. Forge also shared the track with some "songwriter friends" of his, who encouraged him to use it as a Ghost song.[12] Forge was inspired by the music diversity that Queen would have with their albums, feeling that Ghost could similarly use some diversity.[9] Lyrically, the song is about the Black Plague – a theme across the entire Prequelle album – specifically about how people would literally dance and party until they died to cope with the illness.[13][11]

Europe was in this turmoil in the late 1340s. The plague is extremely fast. It starts off as the worst flu you've ever had and then it just goes worse and then you're dead after three days. So people were lying in the streets — corpses and all the surroundings were just falling apart. All the brothels and pubs were thriving because people started partying literally like there was no tomorrow because they were gonna die. They were just going for it. "Dance Macabre" is capturing that joyous nocturnal sort of life in a disco song.[14]


Metal Injection identified the song as the standout track on Prequelle.[15]


Credits adapted from liner notes.

  • Tobias Forge – vocals (credited as "Cardinal Copia")
  • A Group of Nameless Ghouls – lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, drums


Chart (2019) Peak
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[16] 1


  1. "Every Ghost Song Ranked From Worst to Best". Loudwire. 17 August 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  2. Irizarry, Katy (1 June 2018). "Ghost's Wild 'Prequelle' Mixes Metal, Disco and Saxophones". Loudwire. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  3. Munro, Scott (18 May 2018). "Ghost stream catchy new single Dance Macabre". Metal Hammer. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  4. Erickson, Steve (18 October 2018). "Music Video Director Zev Deans on Denzel Curry's "Clout Cobain," Ghost's "He Is" and More". Studio Daily. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  5. "See Ghost Premiere New 'Prequelle' Songs Live at "Secret" Hollywood Show". Revolver. 5 May 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  6. "Ghost Debut Catchy New Song "Dance Macabre" via Star-Studded Instagram Story". Revolver. 17 May 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  7. "Hear Ghost's New "Dance Macabre" Synthwave Remix by Carpenter Brut". Revolver. 24 August 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  8. "Ghost's "Dance Macabre" becomes a disco track with new Carpenter Brut remix". Consequence of Sound. 24 August 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  9. "Ghost unveil Papa's romantic past in "Dance Macabre" video: Watch". Consequence of Sound. 17 October 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  10. "Ghost Waltzes to Third Mainstream Rock Songs No. 1 With 'Dance Macabre'". Billboard. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  11. "GHOST Scores Third 'Mainstream Rock Songs' No. 1 With 'Dance Macabre'". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. 14 February 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  12. Richard Bienstock. "Ghost Share Surreal "Dance Macabre" Video". Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  13. Cornell, Jeff. "Ghost Reveal Papa Emeritus' Origins in 'Dance Macabre' Video". Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  14. "Ghost Mastermind Tobias Forge Reports From Studio in First "Unmasked" U.S. Interview". Revolver. 2 February 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  15. "Album Review: GHOST Prequelle". Metal Injection. 30 May 2018. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  16. "Ghost Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
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