10 Best Ride Songs
They might have been partially inspired to form after seeing a Smiths gig, but the early work of Ride usually had more in common with My Bloody Valentine‘s shoegaze atmospherics than it did with Morrissey and Marr’s jangly pop. After signing with the highly influential Creation Records label in 1989, the foursome from Oxford, England, got busy, releasing a slew of EPs, and in late 1990, they dropped ‘Nowhere,’ their influential debut. Ride would eventually step further away from the loud/soft dynamics of their early material and call it a day in 1996, and while their output got spottier toward the end, there are nevertheless fine moments sprinkled throughout their discography. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 Best Ride Songs to help you navigate through the band’s catalog.
‘Like a Daydream’
With a driving rhythm and a verse that wouldn’t have sounded out of a place on a Byrds album, ‘Like a Daydream’ is a perfect slice of summer guitar-pop. Ride would explore a bigger, more layered sound on their later material, but ‘Like a Daydream’ proves that the quartet could dish out the catchy stuff just as effectively as any of the bands that would become synonymous with the Britpop movement a few years later.
‘Sight of You’
Featured on a compilation of BBC radio sessions called ‘Waves,’ Ride’s take on Pale Saints’ ‘Sight of You’ is one of the prettiest moments in the band’s discography. You should also check out Ride’s version of Dead Can Dance’s ‘Severance’ which is also included on the ‘Waves’ collection.
Not too far removed from what Ocean Colour Scene has been doing throughout their career, ‘Moonlight Medicine’ finds Ride going in a rootsier direction with shades of the Small Faces and Americana in the mix. The album ‘Moonlight Medicine’ appears on – 1994’s ‘Carnival of Light’ – showed us that Ride were better off keeping their sound planted in the shoegaze thing, but this track is just too good to keep off our Best Ride Songs list.
On ‘Kaleidoscope’ shimmery guitars crash along to a chaotic drum rhythm, anchored by a tasty harmonized vocal melody. Clocking in at three minutes and one second, ‘Kaleidoscope’ finds Ride keeping things short and sweet, leaving you clamoring for more in the process.
‘Black Nite Crash’
Kicking off their otherwise forgettable ‘Tarantula’ album, ‘Black Nite Crash’ has a strut and swagger to it that is closer to what Primal Scream did on their ‘Give Out But Don’t Give Up’ LP a couple of years before than the My Bloody Valentine-isms of Ride’s early work.
It’s not often an instrumental track is included on one of our lists, but there was no way we could keep ‘Grasshopper’ off this one. Including various dynamic shifts, Ride keep you intrigued, making the song feel much shorter than its nearly 11-minute length.
A delicately strummed acoustic guitar starts off and sets a reflective mood on ‘Chrome Waves,’ the next entry on our Best Ride Songs list. A wash of ethereal keyboards also runs through the verse sections and is capped off by a background vocal track that perfectly complements the song’s dream-like melodies.
‘Dreams Burn Down’
Ride let their shoegaze flag fly all over ‘Dreams Burn Down,’ which also appears on the ‘Nowhere’ album. While the verses float along to a lazy beat, the song has moments where it splits open with shards of distorted guitars. Modern shoegaze bands like Airiel and Astrobrite would lovingly borrow some of the same stylistic moves years later. It’s a fitting way to cap off our Best Ride Songs list.
Featuring an irresistible jangly main guitar riff, ‘Vapour Trail’ closes out Ride’s excellent ‘Nowhere’ album and was also released as a single. The track is considered a classic in shoegaze circles, and to achieve its distinct sound, the group used two Rickenbacker guitars. “People seem to be quite interested with the guitar sound on this record, if there are fades or effects, but there’s not; it’s just two 12-strings,” Ride’s Andy Bell once said.
‘Leave Them All Behind’
With an intro that brings to mind Pink Floyd’s 1967 psychedelic opus ‘Astronomy Domine,’ ‘Leave Them All Behind’ is a stunner. Also featuring a fat “wall of sound” production style, this track is undoubtedly Ride’s most epic.