The Rides, ‘Don’t Want Lies’ – Song Review
'Don't Want Lies,' the debut single from the Stephen Stills-led group the Rides is best viewed through a blues lens as opposed to a rock lens. Kenny Wayne Shepherd's guitar dominates a four-and-a-half-minute long slow-jam, and it would be even better if he soloed from start to finish.
The blues has never been a genre that leaned heavily on elaborate lyrical pursuits. The best songs feature simple riffs, simple concepts and deeply profound, emotional performances from a charismatic frontman. Stills isn't that band leader on this song, a much more vulnerable track than the previously previewed 'Word Game.' Vocally he shows sincerity, but little range, commitment to melody or concerns of phrasing. At times he's struggling to stay in tune.
"I got good days and bad days / I sometimes wonder how I make it through the week / I wake up in the shadows of my dream / Wonder what it is I seek," he sings to open the song.
"I'm not trying to be elusive / But you don't want lies," Stills adds to close each chorus. Here a small choir of harmony singers joins him to smooth out his rough delivery. It's an immense improvement.
Sonically 'Don't Want Lies' has a retro-rock, blues vibe that is fresh and captivating. It's a song you could see yourself grooving along to, especially when Shepherd begins to do his thing after the second chorus. His guitar is such a cut above the rest of the soundtrack it's as if he's playing with school-children. There's more emotion in every pull from his six-string than there is during any of Stills' flat vocals.
"What's the shape of my future as my life goes whistling by / The love of my woman and the time with my beautiful child," Stills sings during a third verse that leads to more soloing.
On 'Word Game,' Stills' voice was aided by a more robust arrangement. The driving rock-blues tune helps carry him, where as the more sparse landscape that supports 'Don't Want Lies' only exposes him.
Hear 'Don't Want Lies' by the Rides