This morning, I saw a flurry of activity on my Twitter feed as fans around the world celebrated the 30th anniversary of the release of Ride’s debut album, Nowhere. I browsed the #NowhereAt30 hashtag over breakfast, reading story after story of how this album has touched so many lives. One repeating theme I saw was how much this album connected with folks in their youth; how it hit people like a thunderbolt in those impressionable, lonely, confusing, tender teenage years.
A quote I read long ago expressed something along the lines of: There’s nothing more irrevocably gone from the world than a child who has grown into adulthood. There isn’t even a gravestone to physically show that the child we used to be had ever existed.
On a physical level, this is true. We are constantly shedding our old cells to make room for new growth. There isn’t a single hair on my head that I share in common with my teenage self. There isn’t anything physical that ties the person I am today to the person I was so long ago. But existence is more than what can be perceived by sight and touch, and I feel that our former selves exist on a different plane than the one we’re living in now. Sounds, tastes, and smells can catapult us backward in time to remind us of the people we were.
Some might call this simple nostalgia, but I think it’s a little deeper than that. To me, nostalgia is wanting to live in the past because you are wishing to escape the present. Celebrating this album, in my view, is a bit of that – wanting to enjoy reliving a time in our lives where our blood and emotions felt closer to the surface, wanting to remember who we used to be before life took us in unexpected directions – but it’s also a way for us to visit a figurative grave marker for the people we used to be, to have physical proof that at one time, the people we used to be existed on this earth.
There is nothing quite so intoxicating as the feeling of being truly seen and understood in a world where you feel like you don’t belong. For a particular group of people, this album provided that in spades. I think it’s one reason that this record has been one I’ve carried close to my heart for all these years when so many others have fallen away. In a world where I felt invisible most of the time, this music felt like evidence that I was a corporeal being; that I truly do exist because I am seen and understood, even if it’s by people I’d never met.
Nowhere is, first and foremost, a work of art that is a sonic snapshot of its creators at a very specific moment in time. But upon its release to the world, it grew in meaning as it embedded itself into the lives of thousands of people, and 30 years later, it is a beautiful portal that allows us to access parts of ourselves that we thought long gone. The record itself is something we can see and touch, but the power of the music isn’t encased in its physical form. It’s everywhere. It’s nowhere.