Best tunes of 1990: #3 Ride “Vapour trail”

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“Vapour trail”, the number three song on this Best of 1990 list, marks the second appearance here by Ride, the other being “Chelsea girl” at number seventeen. In that other post, I espoused my love for the band and blathered on about their importance and their influence on other bands that followed.

Many fans might disagree with my rating “Vapour trail” higher than “Chelsea girl”, perhaps preferring the the earlier and more raw sound of the latter, but I stand by my choice. It is easily their most recognizable and popular tune for a reason. And even Andy Bell, who wrote this particular track, has been quoted as saying that this is the song of which he is most proud from that era. It closes (the original track list of) their debut album, “Nowhere” with a bang and an exclamation point. The funky drums that won’t quit and that string coda leads the listener reluctantly away from such an explosive mess of noise and begs for a click on the repeat button.

There has been lots of conjecture over the use of effects to create that sweet guitar line that pulls the whole song together but Bell has been adamant that it came about naturally. They achieved it by twinning twelve string Rickenbackers and you can almost picture Bell looking at Mark Gardener with a nod and a smile, free and easy, embodying the whole mood of the song. It’s eyes closed on the dance floor, not quite dancing but shuffling, and not a care in the world, except for the fear that the song might end. Unfortunately, it does but the ecstasy stays, fading slowly, that beautiful, shimmering C-sharp minor–B–A–E chord progression reverbering in your eardrums.

What’s that you say? You want to hear it again?

You’re welcome.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 1990 list, click here.

5 replies on “Best tunes of 1990: #3 Ride “Vapour trail””

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