My Ride's Here
First Appeared at The Music Box, July 2002, Volume 9, #7
Written by John Metzger
Warren Zevon is one of Americaís finer songwriters. Unfortunately, he frequently doesnít get the credit he is due. As good as he is, he too often supplements otherwise stellar albums with a handful of inferior songs, thereby watering down his effectiveness. Itís no wonder then, that his greatest hits affair A Quiet Normal Life has largely been regarded as his best outing. All that changed, however, with his reflective Lifeíll Kill Ya, a terrific set that tackled troubled relationships and the onset of middle age with his usual wit intact.
Zevonís latest effort My Rideís Here isnít quite as good as its predecessor, but itís still an intriguing affair that beats most of his output from the past twenty years. It doesnít help, however, that the two inferior tracks ó the metallically bland duo of Sacrificial Lambs and Basket Case ó serve as the albumís introduction. Taken out on their own and out of context, both of these songs really arenít all that bad. Itís just that, musically speaking, neither of them seems to quite fit in with the rest of the disc.
On the remaining eight tracks of My Rideís Here, Zevon takes a softer, more reflective stance, burying insights into his own life amidst the usual cast of bizarre characters. Lord Byronís Luggage and Macgillycuddyís Reeks are given Celtic-lilts as he opines on the difficulties in finding love and keeping it. He expresses a fear of commitment beneath the eerie swirl of Youíre a Whole Different Person When Youíre Scared ó a song co-written with Hunter S. Thompson. And on the concluding My Rideís Here with its upbeat Byrds-ian chime, Zevon leaves life and love behind.
However, the gem of the album ó and the one to which most longtime fans will gravitate ó is Hit Somebody! (The Hockey Song), the story of a Canadian-farm-boy-turned-hockey-goon whose dream is to score a goal. With help from David Letterman, Paul Schaffer, and sportswriter Mitch Albom, Zevon weaves a tale thatís the perfect blend of humor and sadness that flawlessly captures the bittersweet nature of love and life. Indeed, that seems to be the overarching theme of My Rideís Here, which helps pull all the songs ó including Sacrificial Lambs and Basket Case ó together.
My Ride's Here is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2002 The Music Box