(The year 2020 marks my 50th birthday. Leading up to the day (22nd November), I’m planning on writing a blog entry for each year, picking a song or an album from then that I love, talking a bit about why, and giving it some context in my life)
Making a comeback must be so difficult. I can’t imagine how stressful it must be wondering if your audience is still out there, whether they are still interested in your music or in seeing you in the flesh. The fear that you might end up bottom of the bill in a windy tent at a Rewind Festival, rather than stepping proudly onto a Glastonbury stage.
I guess it all depends on your legacy and the quality of your music, and that’s why the reunion of Ride was met with such enthusiasm. They have come back in their own right, with no sense of novelty. And very little nostalgia, with fans as interested in their new music as in their back catalogue.
And what a back catalogue. Tarantula aside, the never failed to excite me during the nineties, with a brace of fantastic EP’s and equally thrilling albums. The best in my mind is Going Blank Again, released in 1992. It demonstrates their skills not only at making delicious, overwhelming noise, but a deft hand at pop song construction. This is evidenced in the two singles. Leave Them All Behind is the shoegaze equivalent of Stairway to Heaven, slowing building to a magnificent cacophony of squalling guitars and thunderous drums. This contrasts nicely with Twisterella, a magical pop song that deserves more praise.
I was thrilled to hear that their return was not about returning to past glories, but about making new music. This has also been the best thing about the reformed Slowdive – in fact, when I saw them live two years ago, it was the new songs I was most interested to hear. I thought Weather Diaries was terrific, an excellent collection of songs that perform the rare trick of sounding fresh, yet at the same time sounding like Ride.
My favourite song is Cali. I love the optimistic, summer like feel of the track, with the little guitar flourishes and loose beat. There is also an insanely wonderful bit towards the end where there is a double tap on the snare that leads into the joyous second half of the song, where the band let rip and fly, playing with the melody of the song and taking it to new levels.
I have such a fondness for the bands of my youth who are not just still around, but taking care to preserve their legacy and expand their catalogue. I also adored last years This Is Not A Safe Place, and hope for more to come in this new decade.