Ride first formed in 1988 when Andy Bell and Mark Gardener who had been at school together, were at college. It was there that they met the other two members Laurence Colbert and Steve Queralt. In 1990, they recorded three eps’, having been signed to Creation Records. They became to be regarded as part of the shoegazing movement along with bands such as My Bloody Valentine and Lush. Their first full-length album Nowhere was released later that year. They followed this up with Going Blank Again in 1992.
When they released their third album in 1994 titled Carnival of Light, it marked a change of sound for Ride. Released at the height of the Britpop craze, they abandoned their ambient sound in favour a more sixties-influenced psychedelic sound. This did not prove to be wise move, as the record was met with poor critical reception and the band themselves later disowned it.
By the time of the recording of their fourth album Tarantula that saw the light of day in 1996, the band were starting to fall apart. It was largely due to musical differences, particularly between Bell and Gardener. It got to a point where severe personal tensions within the band left them unable to carry on and they announced their disbandment in March 1996. The fourth album was met with even worse response than Carnival and was pulled from being on sale after only one week.
After the breakup, Bell landed himself with a lucrative gig when he was asked to join Britpop stars Oasis, who he remained with until their breakup in 2009. Other members also pursued several other projects with varying levels of success. In 2001, all members agreed to be filmed for a documentary about Sonic Youth for the British television network Channel 4, during which they all took part in an improvised jam. However, they had no intention of having an official reunion until 2013.
In 2014, it was announced that Ride were officially back together. After playing a number of concerts over the next couple of years, in 2017 they announced that they were to release their first album of original material in twenty-one years. Titled Weather Diaries, it was met with critical acclaim and commercial success. They followed this up with This is Not A Safe Place in 2019.
# 10 – Let’s Get Lost
This first track is taken from the band’s third album released in 1994 titled Carnival of Light. As previously stated, this album saw the band move from their shoegazing sound into more psychedelic rock. The album marked the beginning of the band’s decline, with a poor reception and the band themselves later regretting the direction that they had taken with it. However, this track is a standout on an otherwise lacklustre album, showing the band performing a great piece of sixties-style space rock.
# 9 – Sight of You
This is a cover of a song by the band Pale Saints that the band did not record for an album and was only done as part of a radio session for British DJ John Peel. It was featured on a compilation of sessions that the band did for the BBC titled Waves that was released in 2003. As a live cover, it is done very well. It would have probably sounded good if they ever did decide to record it in the studio.
# 8 – OX4Marc
This next track is the closer of the band’s second album Going Blank Again released in 1992. This album was a success, peaking at number five on the UK album charts. With this record, the band were clearly going for a bigger sound than that of their debut. The album was met with surprising critical acclaim. British music paper NME stated in their review that they were not expecting much from it, but it restored their faith in the band.
# 7 – Kaleidoscope
This track is taken from the band’s 1990 debut Nowhere, which is often considered to be their best and one of the best in the shoegaze genre. The album was produced by Marc Waterman who was unable to mix the album’s tracks due to having a mental breakdown. To this day, the record receives much acclaim, often appearing in all-time greatest album lists.
# 6 – Vapour Trail
At the surprisingly low number of six on this list is the closing track from Nowhere which was released as a single. It is the band’s most famous song and considered to be a classic of the era. The riff is one of the most unique and distinctive ever produced, being very emotive and melancholy. Despite being well received critically upon its release, it failed to chart. It was most notably mentioned years later in the novel Perks of being a Wallflower as part of a mixtape made by the main character.
# 5 – Grasshopper
This is the title track of an ep that the band released in 1992. It is by far one of Ride’s most adventurous numbers, being an eleven-minute instrumental. While on paper, this may not sound like the kind of thing that you might not have the attention span for, it is pleasant surprise as it features much variation, making the track not seem its actual length.
# 4 – Taste
This cut is a track that originally appeared on their Fall ep but was later added to later CD editions of Nowhere. It is an example of Ride at their poppiest, having a particular Stone Roses vibe about it. Despite this, it is still a powerful sounding track, particularly with the drums which are played with a furious energy. It is a track that got the band some of their early commercial exposure, with the video being played on Top of the Pops in the UK.
# 3 – Dreams Burn Down
This track, like the previous entry is also taken from Fall and later included on reissues of Nowhere. However, unlike that track which shows the band’s mellower side this is one of their pieces of pure shoegaze and shows their heavier side. Fitting somewhere in between Dream Pop and Post Rock, its spacey riff is a fantastic accompaniment to the care-free style of the vocals. It is a piece of music that is extreme whilst at the same time contains some wonderful sounding melodies.
# 2 – How Does it Feel to Feel?
At the surprising spot of number two is a track from the much-maligned Carnival album. Here is a track that very much foreshadows Bell’s later time in Oasis, as the song is very reminiscent of that band, who it should be noted released their debut album the same year. The song is actually a cover of a band called The Creation. It is a track that has very little resemblance to the band’ earlier shoegaze sound. However, it is still a great piece of straightforward rock n roll. The fact that it at least shows that the band were unafraid to experiment is what warrants it high spot on this list.
# 1 – Leave Them All Behind
At the top spot is the opening number from Going Blank Again which was also the record’s lead single. Although the single version is eight minutes long, the album version is over half that length, clocking at over seventeen minutes. Many would agree that this song is Ride at their absolute peak. With such a long opening number they were letting people know that they were doing something ground-breaking.