Zevon's penultimate album arrived against the background of his fatal illness but he didn't allow that to consume its direction. Instead, it's an album that namechecks a large cast of characters and is, as usual, rich in lyrical imagination, sometimes biting, sometimes humourously riotous. On this occasion though several songs are co-written while there's an engaging version of a Serge Gainsbourg song.
The bitter "Sacrificial Lambs" opens the album and features some fiery guitar, does "Basket Case", both vintage Zevon. The folk-orientation of "Lord Byron's Luggage" and "Macgillycuddy's Reeks" provide a jarring shift in style and both are impressive, but might have been better placed later in the running order. "You're A Whole Different Person..." is full of menace but is perhaps too long, but "Hit Somebody" is a hilarious satire on ice hockey. "Genius" is wrapped in a lovely arrangement laced with strings and contains an interesting perspective on Einstein, a fine performance. The relative simplicity of the gentle, folky "I Have To Leave" is explained by it being another cover. The title track closes the album with characteristic defiance, a strong melody and another long cast list.
"My Ride's Here" is not the best Zevon album but is nevertheless a bright, imaginative effort. The differing styles make it sound a touch disjointed at times and the input of other writers is untypical but it's still worth the money.
on 17 January 2014
My Ride's Here is a good, but not great album in my opinion. There's some great songs on here ('My Ride's Here', 'Lord Byron's Luggage' to name two), but overall I don't feel it has the consistency of what I consider to be Warren's finest albums; Excitable Boy, Sentimental Hygiene and Life'll Kill Ya.
One of the reasons for this is the odd production values. 'Sacrificial Lambs' with it's fiery guitars and lyrics that seem to castigate all the various forms of organised religion (as does the album's closer 'My Ride's Here') is a great rock song, as is the song that follows it, 'Basket Case'. However both songs are diminished in my opinion by some very odd production choices, namely that Warren's vocals sound like they been put through some sort of electronic auto tune. The result is very jarring. While it is tempting to speculate this was a result of Warren's, illness and it's subsequent effect on his vocals, that would ignore the fact that Warren was diagnosed after this album was completed.
These are followed by two songs that have a more Irish feel to the melodies and Warren's vocals as we are more accustomed to hearing them. 'Lord Byron's Luggage is a fantastic song with more examples of Warren's trademark dark humour: 'Every dog has it's day Jack. I'm still waiting for mine!' and 'MacgillyCuddy's Reeks'.
I'm not really a fan of 'Hit Somebody (The Hockey Song)' which stretches a joke a little too far and 'Laissez Moi Tranquille'is a truly annoying song with it's constant repetition of the one phrase!
The rest of the songs on the album include, 'You're A Whole Different Person When You're Scared' that features some great organ and another fine vocal and lyric. Much the same can be said of 'Genius'. However if you want just one reason to buy this album then it has to be the title track , and the song that closes the album, 'My Ride's Here'.
'My Ride's Here' is an amazing song that seems to be about the last tip of the hat before we all take that final ride into the great beyond. The lyric is absolutely amazing, and if the whole song doesn't leave you with a lump in your throat then I would check your pulse because you may already be dead!
All in all that's five songs that would make it onto any Warren compilation and more than enough justification to buy this album. If the rest of the songs don't scale the same heights that is only because they don't meet the high standards Warren has set in the past.