Sound Bites: The Ride (Amanda Palmer)

March 02, 2019

Amanda Fucking Palmer.

This is how fans adorably refer to this woman. First stumbled on her on TED Talk The Art of Asking, I was deeply moved that I knew I needed to know more about this person. And my interest peaked as I learned that she is the wife of Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite authors of all time. I tried to listen to some of her music, but back then I felt that her craft didn't appeal to me.

Not until now.


You listen to a lot of songs on a daily basis, and there would be those exceptional times that a song would stop you from your tracks, pull you into the melody and change your soul in a matter of minutes. That's exactly what Amanda's song did to me. The Ride, one of the tracks included in her new album There Will Be No Intermission, was one of the featured songs on NPR's All Songs Considered podcast. One of the DJs introduced it as the song he's been waiting all his life to be written. It is a 10-minute long track, which talks about life as a metaphor of a roller coaster ride in an amusement park. After the song I knew something inside me changed. I was moved to tears. Amanda's lyrics made the song feel magical and also sinister at the same time. There were specific lines that gave me comfort and I knew I would take them with me for the rest of my life, and I know most people will, too.

Take a listen, and be changed.


The Ride | Amanda Palmer

Everyone’s too scared to open their eyes up
But everyone’s too scared to close them
Everyone’s frightened they don’t know what’s coming
But everyone’s frightened of knowing

Everyone’s reading the rules of engagement
And everyone’s starting to doubt them
Everyone’s reaching to put on a seatbelt
But this kind of ride comes without them
I want you to think of me sitting and singing beside you
I wish we could meet all the people behind us in line
The climb to the crest is less frightening with someone to clutch you
But isn’t it nice when we’re all afraid at the same time

And it’s just a ride
It’s just a ride
And you’ve got the choice to get off anytime that you like
It’s just a ride
It’s just a ride
The alternative is nothingness
We might as well give it a try

Everyone’s terrified that they’ll be justified by the collapse that will happen
Everyone’s placing their bets just in case
The whole thing’s a profound disappointment
Everyone’s trying to stay on the side where the water's just boiling more slowly
Frogs in a pot, well that’s one thing I’ve got
At least some of the frogs in here know me
I want you to think of me sitting and singing beside you
The chain pulls us up and we know that we’re all gonna dive
The blur and the noise of the screaming can blind and distract you
But isn’t it nice when we all can scream at the same time

And it’s just a ride
It’s just a ride
And you’ve got the choice to get off anytime that you like
It’s just a ride
It’s just a ride
The alternative's nothingness
Might as well give it a try

And as we all go down
And as we all go round
And as we pitch from side to side
Everything is gonna be alright

Everyone’s getting real scared to come out because coming out's going down badly
Feel the city breaking and everybody’s shaking
And I just want someone to hold me
Some are too scared to let go of their children
And some are too scared now to have them
Suicide, homicide, genocide, man, that’s a fuck-ton of sides you can choose from

I want you to think of me sitting and singing beside you
I wish we could meet all the people who got left behind
The ride is so loud it can make you think noone's listening
But isn’t it nice when we all can cry at the same time
And it’s just a ride
It’s just a ride
And you’ve got the choice to get off anytime that you like
It’s just a ride
It’s just a ride
The alternative's nothingness
Might as well give it a try

And as we all go down
And as we all go round
And as we switch from side to side
Everything is gonna be just fine
Everyone you love is gonna die
Hopefully, this song will come remind you

That’s it’s just a ride
It’s just a ride
From the sister you miss
To the father you don’t wanna write
It’s just a ride
It’s just a ride
From the lover you loved to the one that you're frightened to find
It’s just a ride
It’s just a ride
From the baby you lost to the one that you’re growing inside
Come on out darling
And don’t you cry

It's just a ride

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