Ride’s Andy Bell: 5 Albums That Changed My Life

Ride’s Andy Bell: 5 Albums That Changed My Life

The recently reunited Ride is out with a new album, This is Not a Safe Place.  To celebrate, the band’s Andy Bell shared five albums that changed his life.

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The Cure, Seventeen Seconds 

Seventeen Seconds is my favorite Cure album. It wasn’t the first one I heard; I bought Japanese Whispers and then The Head on the Door, both on cassette tape, and used to listen to them while I did my newspaper delivery round at the age of about 15 in Oxford.

But then I went back and started getting into the earlier Cure records. With the people I knew, Pornography and Faith were both really big, but I gravitated toward Seventeen Seconds because it was less heavy, more minimal. Like most of their albums, it has its own unique sound. My favorite track off the album is ‘Play for Today,’ and I was absolutely buzzing when we played with them in Greece last week and they played this and ‘A Forest’ together in the setlist.

Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes

A real teenage classic, very American rock album. I don’t know much about the band but I loved ‘Blister in the Sun’ and ended up getting the album taped off someone. I was into this at the same time as the Cure stuff and I just used to play it all the time.

If I ever hear a song from this album randomly, I can just start joining in with all the lyrics; it’s imprinted on my brain. I remember thinking that a song like ‘Add It Up’ was really sophisticated and kind of had a whole story to it, which definitely influenced my own songwriting. It’s full of great songs, and there’s an incredible song at the end of the album ‘Good Feeling’ that is kind of like a great ballad Lou Reed never wrote.

Rain Parade, Explosions in the Glass Palace

Again, a similar time in my life; I was listening to a few American psychedelic bands. There was a band called Long Ryders who did a track called ‘Looking for Lewis and Clark’ that I played, learned, used to sit and sing although I had no idea what the lyrics were. I was pretty much singing nonsense, although the song did get me into Tim Hardin!

Anyway, they were one of a few bands [that were important to me], like Opal, Screaming Trees and Rain Parade, but Rain Parade was the one that changed me. This album was like an explosion in my mind. I don’t know what program it was, but I saw them perform ‘No Easy Way Down’ on TV, a filmed concert, and it was like, ‘Here is something I can fully get behind.’

It’s a slow, sludgy, drone rock anthem; the guitarist is doing the Kevin Shields tremolo thing with the guitar, but in 1985. It’s just incredible, and I have to say would have been pretty influential on the early Ride sound for sure.

My Bloody Valentine, Isn’t Anything

This came out a month after Ride formed. They were such an important band for us. In fact, I’ve just checked and we formed in between the release of the two EP’s You Made Me Realise and Feed Me With Your Kiss, which were both massively influential on Ride.

But the album was a step forward even from the EPs. It had a sound all of its own. The touch was lighter, more hip-hop influenced, the arrangements were less like jams and more like studio constructions, the songs were short and concise; there’s just so much going on with this album that shows how they were grasping the moment that they were having as a band.

In particular, Colm O Ciosoig really stands out as being really important to the album. His drumming throughout is incredible, and his song, ‘(When You Wake) You’re Still in a Dream,’ is my favorite song on the record.

Mr. Fingers, Amnesia

This is a record I discovered long after the fact, but it’s become one of my favorite albums of all time. I love it even more because it comes from that magical late ‘80s period when there was so much amazing music being made. It’s like other records I’ve chosen because it has its own sound that permeates every track on the record.

A while back, I treated myself to an original pressing of this. It was one of the few times in my life I have actually bought one of the albums that hang on the wall of a record store rather than in the racks! It was expensive at the time, I think around £30, but when I think about how many rounds of drinks I bought that cost more than that, it feels like money well spent.

This is Larry Heard, the bedroom genius; it’s such a distilled version of his talents. And as such, I found it really inspirational when I started to want to make my own electronic music. I record under the name GLOK and Mr. Fingers is one of my main influences. My favorites are ‘Can You Feel It’ and ‘Washing Machine,’ but it’s all excellent.

(Photo credit: Steve Gullick)

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