This year, we decided to go somewhere we had never been for fireworks. We left plenty of time to get lost, and that’s what happened. When it looked like we might not find the fireworks in time, my wife and I consoled ourselves by remembering how much we used to enjoy getting in the car and just going for a ride. Rising gas prices have mostly kept us from doing this lately, so it was nice to get back to it, even if by accident. In the end, we did find the fireworks in time, but just riding was nice too. There was no time pressure, just the pleasure of doing something purely for the enjoyment of it. And it was a beautiful evening for it.
Joni Mitchell: Night Ride Home
For me, Joni Mitchell perfectly captures this feeling in Night Ride Home. There is no simpler or more powerful expression of love than the desire to share a beautiful night with someone.
Jerry Harrison: Rev It Up
Jerry Harrison expresses the excitement of this experience. Where Mitchell travels down gravel back roads, moving slowly, Harrison finds an open highway, and takes it at full speed. The windows are down, the music is cranked, and it is a joy to be alive.
Jackson Browne: The Naked Ride Home
Mitchell and Harrison take the notion of a ride literally. But a ride can also be a metaphor in a song. For Jackson Browne, the ride takes him to the end of a journey. He challenges his lady to a cruel dare, in a relationship that is almost over. She accepts, giving him one last thrill perhaps. But, by the time she gets home, she is his no longer. The song is written as a memory, as Browne’s protagonist realizes what he has lost.
Big Bill Broonzy: Ridin‘ on Down
There are no deep meanings in my last selection. Big Bill Broonzy used a ride on the back of a mule to string together a series of whimsical anecdotes. When you move this slowly down the road, who knows what strange things you might see that you would never have noticed at higher speeds.