Ray Davies: Other People's Lives

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by peterC, Feb 10, 2006.

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  1. peterC

    peterC Aussie Addict Thread Starter

    Location:
    sydney
    Kinks fans prepare yourselves for a very pleasant surprise!

    I was expecting the worst. After all, 10 years in the making suggests some kind of writer's block or perhaps disinterest.

    This album is very very nice. Now I won't go overboard but for me it is the equal of the best of the mid to late 70s albums and better than everything that followed. At 60 minutes I would say there are the ingredients of a classic 40 minute album here.

    Basically it's a guitar, bass and drums album with only a few keyboard parts (all played by Ray) and some horns here and there. The backing vocals which I think are mostly Ray are really good and as with the best of the Kinks material add so much to the songs.

    The weaker tracks suffer from what has bothered me about a lot of Ray's material over the last 25 years or so: lack of memorable melodies. But I guess I'm spoilt by the tunes Ray wrote in the 60s and it's probably unfair and unrealistic to expect anything up to that standard again.

    Mastered by Bob Ludwig. Unfortunately it's somewhat harsh and loud, particularly on the rockier tracks, but nothing out of the ordinary for a modern recording.

    Anyway fans, get this album as soon as you can (in stock at CD Wow with free shipping). It's a good one!
     
  2. antonkk

    antonkk Senior Member

    Location:
    moscow
    Well, I, personaly, have HIGH expectations for this one! Hope it was worth the wait...
     
  3. Reader

    Reader Senior Member

    Location:
    e.s.t. tenn.
    Is this out already? I was looking for it yesterday and was told that it wouldn't be available until Feb 21.
     
  4. peterC

    peterC Aussie Addict Thread Starter

    Location:
    sydney
    In Europe, yes.
     
  5. peterC

    peterC Aussie Addict Thread Starter

    Location:
    sydney
    I can't stop playing this album!

    Forum Kinks fans are in for a real treat. By the way, the second half of the album is where it really takes off and it gets better and better with every play.

    For those pining for the "old" Kinks sound you are going to love "Is There Life After Breakfast". Just give it a crappier production and a little Nicky Hopkins harpsichord and it could be off Something Else!

    (Am I imagining it or are Kinks threads outnumbering Beatles threads of late!)
     
  6. Davey

    Davey NP: Bianca Scout ~ Pattern Damage (2024 LP)

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    Vinyl release in a couple weeks too.
     
  7. Pug

    Pug The Prodigal Snob Returns!

    Location:
    Near Music Direct
    That's great news! :thumbsup:
     
  8. Stateless

    Stateless New Member

    Location:
    USA
    He was on Underground Garage last night. Great story teller. Unfortunately I fell asleep. It's on at 10pm here.

    Dave 64, I see you said this in the closed thread. You can listen to the entire show here at Little Steven's website. It should start right up. If not, hit play on the jukebox.

    http://linux.littlesteven.com/nebuplayer/203/06jukebox.html

    The new album sounds really solid. Picked it up today. I really like the production.
     
  9. Dave D

    Dave D Done!

    Location:
    Milton, Canada
    Thanks!
     
  10. peterC

    peterC Aussie Addict Thread Starter

    Location:
    sydney
    The media reviews (see links on Dave Emlen's website) are mixed. That's fair enough but what I find annoying are the reviews that pan the album based on comparisons with the classic 60s singles and albums. Come on guys, have you heard any Kinks albums from the 80s or 90s? I doubt it and if you had you would be quite thrilled with the new album. Lets face it, who other than Kinks fans would be reading these reviews anyway and what use is a review that doesn't take into account the whole of the artist's output.

    There is no doubt that this album doesn't approach the quality of the 60s material but what knowledgeable Kinks fan would expect it to?!

    As I said at the outset, I was expecting the worst and what I got is the best "Kinks" album in about 30 years. I'm happy!
     
  11. Pug

    Pug The Prodigal Snob Returns!

    Location:
    Near Music Direct
    Rolling Stone gave the album a decent review in the new issue. I think they gave it 3.5 stars.
     
  12. Mike Dow

    Mike Dow I kind of like the music

    Location:
    Bangor, Maine
    I listened to the album yesterday and I am very happy with it. This one is obviously about the "songs" and Ray has come up with some wonderful songs that grab you from the first listen. At the moment, my faves are the title song, "Other People's Lives", "All She Wrote", "The Tourist" (hilarious classic Ray send-up) and "Stand Up Comic". I noticed in Ray's liner notes that the rhythm tracks were recorded in analogue on two inch tape and then transferred to Pro Tools for the rest of the instruments and voices. From the notes, you get the impression that Ray wanted some form of analogue in the chain. The mastering (Bob Ludwig) is too compressed for my taste but at this point, I am just grateful that Ray has given us another wonderful collection of songs. I am guessing that Ray wanted the songs to have this sound as he mentioned in the notes that he had yet to hear the mastered album. (Just a hunch but I'm also guessing that Ray visited Gateway when Bob (Robert in the notes) mastered the disc).

    Still...when listening yesterday, I couldn't help but think about how wonderful it would be if Ray had handed these songs off to Steve for some proper mastering. He obviously likes Bob's work... and, often, so do I. This time...not so much.
     
  13. Mike Dow

    Mike Dow I kind of like the music

    Location:
    Bangor, Maine
    In my opinion, a few of these songs would not have been out of place on a late 60's, early 70's Kinks album. This album is (again IMO) Ray's best collection of songs since "Give The People What They Want" in 1981.
     
  14. tspit74

    tspit74 Senior Member

    Location:
    Woodridge, IL, USA
    I just hope it's better than Phobia which I would classify as unlistenable. I'll probably wait for the vinyl.
     
  15. CHARLOOTZ

    CHARLOOTZ New Member

    Location:
    HAUPPAUGE, NY
    I picked this up on Tuesday...I think it's a really strong album, I highly recommend it for Ray/Kinks fans...
     
  16. Joey Self

    Joey Self Red Forman's Sensitivity Guru

    I went to Rhapsody to play it tonight and found it was only available in 30 second snippets. I didn't bother, and I won't buy it until I've heard it, so Ray, if you're out there, you need to loosen the reigns a bit.

    JcS
     
  17. Mike Dow

    Mike Dow I kind of like the music

    Location:
    Bangor, Maine
    This disc received a nice review and a grade of A- from Entertainment Weekly. I'm happily surprised that they are raving about something that I like!
     
  18. stevef

    stevef Senior Member

    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    I went to the Little Steven's Underground Garage site and listened to the entire recent program with Ray Davies. About half of Ray's new CD was played and I have to admit, it grabbed me on first listen. I ran out today to pick up Other People's Lives. I've been playing it all day. Any fan of the Kinks will love this.
    My favorite new CD so far this year!

    _______________
    Steve
     
  19. Dave D

    Dave D Done!

    Location:
    Milton, Canada
    Anyone with Sirius can hear Steven and Ray tonight and tomorrow at 10 pm.

    http://www.sirius.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Sirius/CachedPage&c=Channel&cid=1104779639688
     
  20. Stateless

    Stateless New Member

    Location:
    USA
    You might be right. It's definitely a solid album. I guess since Ray had so much time since the last Kinks album her really had the time to pick his best material. It seems to be selling pretty well too. It's #11 on Amazon.
     
  21. dgstrat

    dgstrat Senior Member

    Location:
    West Islip, NY


    Was he reading bedtime stories? :)
     
  22. Stateless

    Stateless New Member

    Location:
    USA
    I don't know...ask Dave64. It's his quote.
     
  23. Dave D

    Dave D Done!

    Location:
    Milton, Canada
    Actually, that was my quote.
    I listen to it in bed at 10. Doesn't take long to fall asleep with music on. :)
     
  24. Dave D

    Dave D Done!

    Location:
    Milton, Canada
    :D
     
  25. peterC

    peterC Aussie Addict Thread Starter

    Location:
    sydney
    A pretty decent review and 4 stars over at allmusic.com:

    Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
    Most artists don't wait until they're nearly 62 to deliver their first official solo album, but Ray Davies has never been predictable. As a matter of fact, Davies is the quintessential rock contrarian, doggedly following his path, sometimes to the detriment of his own art or career. This obstinate nature extends to the very sound of his solo debut Other People's Lives, a shiny, simmered-in-the-studio album where each song creeps on just a little longer than necessary. This 2006 effort sounds roughly 16 years out of time — sonically, it could comfortably function as the follow-up to 1989's UK Jive — and its slickness may keep some listeners at a distance, particularly if they're craving a stripped-down, back-to-basics comeback along the lines of Dylan's Love and Theft or the Stones' A Bigger Bang. But such a bare-bones effort isn't in Davies's nature — ever since the early '70s, he's kept things clean and glistening on the surface while being prickly underneath. This may not suit the tastes of fans pining for a return to Village Green, but behind that smooth production are a set of songs that reveal that Davies has returned to form as a rich, idiosyncratic pop songwriter.

    As he states in his wonderful liner notes — where he details the recording circumstances for each cut, plus the album at large — Other People's Lives is no concept album, but there are themes that hold it together. Davies tackles mortality and, one of his favorite themes, domesticity, head-on here, and his wit and wry critical eye remain intact. As an album, Other People's Lives may occasionally lag in momentum, but song for song, this is his strongest set of material since Low Budget, but a better comparison may be Misfits. Like that 1978 gem, this record doesn't rock hard and has a distinct writerly bent, as Davies presents a collection of narratives and character sketches that play like short stories. If there's a sense of creeping mortality here, there's also little fear (and there's no rumination over his shooting in New Orleans, either, since all the material was written before that incident). There's humor, irony, earned sentimentality and knowing, careful observations, all wrapped up in meticulously crafted words and music. There are hints of the Kinks — "Is There Life After Breakfast?" lopes along like an outtake from Everybody's in Show-Biz, the absurd "Stand Up Comic" recalls the vaudevillian hard rock of the late '70s — but there's nothing written as a conscious emulation of his past; instead, he's returning to his strengths and finding new wrinkles within his signature style. And if there are no flat-out knockouts here, there's not a bad song here, either, and each tune seems stronger with repeated plays. Most of all, Ray Davies sounds engaged as a writer and musician in a way that he hasn't in years, and that doesn't just make for a strong comeback, but it makes listeners realize what they've all missed since he's been away for 13 years (or perhaps longer, given the disconnect on latter-day Kinks records). Here's hoping that Other People's Lives kicks off a latter-day renaissance for the singer/songwriter, since it's proof that while many try to emulate him, there's no substitute for the crankiest, funniest songwriter in pop.
     
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