The Second British Invasion Music Series — The Brit Box, Disc 2, Track 1, “Vapour Trail,” by Ride

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Ride are an English band formed in Oxford in 1988. The band consists of Andy Bell (vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica,) Mark Gardener (vocals, guitar,) Laurence “Loz” Colbert (drums,) and Steve Queralt (bass.) The band were initially part of the “shoegazing*” scene that emerged in England during the early 1990s.

Nowhere is Ride’s debut album, released on October 15, 1990. All writing credits were equally credited to all band members. The album had 8 tracks and “Vapour Trail” was the final track on it; the CD had 3 bonus tracks. “Vapour Trail” was later released as a single in the United States in early 1991. The song features a distinctive swirling guitar riff, a strong, fill-based drum beat, and a coda that includes a string quartet.

In 2001, the band briefly reunited for a one-off performance for a television show. Ride announced their second reunion in November 2014. In November 2015, the band released a special 25th anniversary edition of Nowhere across two separate formats: a CD/DVD set, and a colored-vinyl double LP.

They achieved their biggest commercial success with their 1992 single “Leave Them All Behind“, which reached No. 9 on the UK Singles Chart.

AllMusic has cited Nowhere as one of the greatest albums of the shoegaze genre. Nowhere was ranked at number 74 on Pitchfork’s 2003 list of the top 100 albums of the 1990s, and at number 277 on Spin’s 2015 list of “The 300 Best Albums of the Past 30 Years”. It is also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. The track “Vapour Trail” was named the 145th best song of the 1990s by Pitchfork in 2010, and the 81st best song of the 1990s by NME in 2012.

Following the break-up of the band in 1996, members moved on to various other projects, most notably Bell who became the bassist for Oasis. The band has had a total of 6 studio albums, with the last two in 2017 and 2019. The band is still active with the original lineup. Not only that they are about to begin a 30th Anniversary tour! Learn more at their website.

After the first listen, I realized the lyrics end halfway through. Listening to the song a few times, my assessment is that there isn’t anything to dislike about it; yet nor is there anything in particular to like about it. It’s kind of pleasantly blah, and that’s ok.

First you look so strong then you fade away
The sun will blind my eyes, I love you anyway
Thirsty for your smile, I watch you for a while
You are a vapour trail in a deep blue sky

La-la-la-la ah, la-la-la-la ah, la-la-la-la ah, la-la-la

Tremble with a sigh, glitter in your eye
You seem to come and go, I never seem to know
And all my time is yours as much as mine
We never have enough time to show our love

La-la-la-la ah, la-la-la-la ah, la-la-la-la ah, la-la-la

Andy Bell,
Mark Stephen Gardener,
Stephen Paul Queralt,
Laurence John Colbert

*Shoegaze (originally termed shoegazing and sometimes conflated with “dream pop”) is a subgenre of indie and alternative rock characterized by its ethereal mixture of obscured vocals, guitar distortion and effects, feedback, and overwhelming volume. It emerged in Ireland and the United Kingdom in the late 1980s among neo-psychedelic groups who stood motionless during live performances in a detached, non-confrontational state. The name comes from the heavy use of effects pedals, as the performers were often looking down at their pedals during concerts.


12 Comments Add yours

  1. Barbara S says:

    btw – did you know that some villages where these phone boxes still exist now put libraries in them or sell eggs with an honesty box? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Barbara, no I didn’t, but it is a pleasant thing to know they are still around and still being used. I can’t remember the last time I saw a real phone booth around here…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    I never heard of the shoegaze scene, genre, or whatever it is. I like the music but the singer has that eighties monotone type voice going on…other than that I liked it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Did you listen to the other song I linked in there? I liked that one a little more. Yes that monotone didn’t do a thing for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

        No I didn’t…I thought it was the one for some reason.
        That is better…a little more direct…and do I ever like where they recorded in…love those lights.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like that tune, Lisa. Like Max, I have to admit that other than the name I don’t know anything about the “shoegaze” genre.

    In any case, I kind of find it mind-boggling how many genres there are I’ve yet to explore. You’d think that after 40-plus years of listening to music, you’ve heard it all or at least most of it. But nope, at least in my case I certainly can’t make that claim.

    I’m only reacting to the music here. In general, I don’t pay much attention to lyrics. That other tune you called out, “Leave Them All Behind,” sounds pretty good as well.

    It’s nice to hear the band is still around and in their original line-up. That’s certainly something you don’t see often. And if you’re a stickler and say, ‘well, given their break-up, the group has really “only” played together for 16 years rather than 30 years,’ that’s still a long time for a line-up to hold.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      All good points, Christian. I’ve only heard a fraction of all of the music out there. I like what I’m learning along the way with this series.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. memadtwo says:

    I agree with your assessment. Pleasant enough, but it won’t stick with me. Although I do like that rhythm change with the jangly guitar. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Kerfe, I think you are enjoying this series as much as I am. I’ve got my 3rd year of Women Music March coming up in a few weeks also 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. memadtwo says:

        Excellent! Looking forward to it.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Dave says:

    Never even heard of them! But after one listen, I think you got it – ‘pleasantly blah”. By no means bad at all, but not very distinctive and everything they seem to do (on this song anyway) others did better back then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      This is the first one new to you so far 🙂


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