Tuesday, 15 April 2014

So I'll ride like the wind . . . ride like the wind

Christopher Cross released an album in 1979 which had a couple of hits that I can't go past when I reminisce about the 80s.  I love him for so many reasons but my top three are: 1) his voice is distinctive - I hear it and I can tell it's him (it's every music producer's dream to find distinctive voices), 2) his songs make me happy and make me dance around in my room - or at least make me lip sync to them in the privacy of my room and 3) I can listen to it on repeat or swipe my iPad to the left and play it repeatedly.  The song Ride like the wind has backing vocals by Michael McDonald - another AMAZING 80s singer that I looove (future posts about this guy fo' sho').

I really like this song because as a songwriter I think about how elements of music are used to put a song together.  The song opens with a wind effect and piano providing a melody with the drums driving the rhythm before the synthesiser rises from underneath to play the syncopated chordal echo.
The string accompaniment gives it some extra oomph in the texture department, especially with the sweeping glissandos that add to that wind effect.  The synthesiser picks up on some drone-like notes in the verses which are copied by the string accompaniment.  The layering of the texture doesn't stop either, especially when the horns join in (I'm quite partial to the trumpet, having played it in high school.  Oh hey, I'll tell you a quick story - one time someone was talking about me to a friend, and they said that I like to blow my own trumpet and she didn't know how to respond to that. I told her she should've said - well Manu does like blowing her own trumpet - that's one of the instruments she knows how to play LOL - and back to the blog post..)

Ride like the wind has vocal ad libs that let you sing along because for some songs, it's all about the groove rather than the lyrics and being in the moment of the melody.  As it is a song on the cusp of the 80s (released in 1979) it has a cool signature lead guitar solo and it almost seems like the guitarist is trying to make his fingers ride like the wind on his fretboard.

Lived nine lives
Gunned down ten

The tenacity it takes to stick to your guns and scraping by in situations by the skin of your teeth, all of that living by the seat of your pants, it makes for an interesting life.

It is the night
My body's weak
I'm on the run
No time to sleep
I've got to ride
Ride like the wind
To be free again

The lyrics of the song speak to me about having the stamina, the desire to hold fast to your goals so that you achieve your dream.  Even though physically you may be drained, fatigued, fed up, about to give up - but sometimes you need to hang in there to meet those goals, because only you can do what you need to do - to achieve that dream.  I mean gee, we've heard it all before often enough - good things are never easy to come by, it takes hard work and determination to achieve something worth having.  Everyone has their own border of Mexico that they need to get to.  To me Mexico represents the freedom that Cross is talking about.  Whatever makes you happy or gives you the freedom or the peace that this world can't give you and only you can achieve - for yourself - ride like the wind . . . ride like the wind.