The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Apr 4, 2021.

  1. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident

    Location:
    Manhattan
    Labour of Love

    I seem to recall loathing this song. It’s asking a lot of a teenager to get up off the couch to lift the needle and put it back down on the next track. I’d sit through a presidential address rather than get up to change the channel, but this song turned me into a man (boy) of action, it triggered me. I mean, this is textbook filler, and filler should know it’s place, keep it’s head down. This song begged for attention, right from the top, with Dave’s sub-Hendrix sabre rattling ‘Here Comes the Bride.’ A lyric that speaks like the guy who thinks he’s the life of the party when he’s actually sending everyone he meets scrambling to find their coats. Track three was the worst conceivable position, meaning I couldn’t easily avoid this song. I had gone with friends to see Steve Martin in The Man With Two Brains, which was released one week prior to State of Confusion, so they share a bunk bed in my memory. But it seems now that I am of two minds regarding this ‘Labour of Love.’ (still dislike the movie, though) The song hasn’t changed, have I? I can press a button and the song disappears, yet I won’t. Have I gotten lazier, or just more accepting for what it is? In my final analysis, had I been filling out the line-up card, I’d have sat this one, moved up ‘Come Dancing’ to third, and started ‘Long Distance’, maybe at the end of Side One. And you don’t have to be Buck Showalter to see the wisdom in that.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2022
  2. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Definite Maybe

    Firstly I really love Mark's write up concerning computers, bureaucracy, call centers and automation as it boy can I relate to all of that!

    Not quite sure what to say about this though after 4 listens it has grown on me....slightly.
    It gets better after the opening which is a good sign as Ray's first syllables reminded me of Bobcat Goldthwaite whom is not renound in a musical :cop: academy type of circle!
    However the lead vocals improve there's a story to tell backing vocals are neat and there's a nice urgency despite the snare I don't care for.
    So in future will I revisit this?
    It's a Definite Maybe!
     
  3. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    I like to hear 'Labour Of Love' as a prequel to the They Might Be Giants song 'Someone Keeps Moving My Chair' from 1990 which also stars a 'Mr Horrible' being tormented in a more abstractly described way: I'm sure this is a complete coincidence and I really doubt that TMBG (despite their tendency to make obscure references in their lyrics) had this Kinks song from 7 years earlier in mind when they wrote this but that's how I choose to hear it. 'Chair' could describe Mr Horrible's frustrating work life and 'Labour Of Love' his home life haha.

    Chuck Berry again seems like a strong influence on this one, in the tune of the chorus anyway: the lilt of it reminds me of 'You Never Can Tell' a song which of course tells the tale of a carefree marriage that defies public expectations: so pretty far removed from the one described in 'Labour Of Love' but what both songs also share is a kind of wry amused observational detachment that Berry uses to significantly better effect: his song charms whereas this Kinks track is kind of repugnant, only in part by design: ok it describes a banal , suffocating situation but unlike say the similarly themed 'Yo Yo' it doesn't uncover a layer of depth behind that but instead sticks a bow on it and pats in on the back with a 'that's life' shrug: it's got about the depth of The Lockhorns or a 'you don't have to me mad to work here' workplace poster.

     
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  4. fspringer

    fspringer Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    Labour of Love: This was mindblowing to hear the first time, Dave's Hendrix tribute at the start, followed by an *ss-kicking song with smart lyrics. I didn't recognize at the time (because I hated country music) how country the chorus was, a bit like Hank Thompson's "The Wild Side of Life." (Maybe he drew inspiration from Rod Stewart's cover.) It's a missed opportunity that a band like The Georgia Satellites wouldn't have covered a Kinks song like this.

    I always got the feeling he was singing about Chrissie Hynde with the boy/girl songs on this and the next album, although he's named other sources for a few of the songs. When you look at the time line of when they met and parted, they were in the midst of their relationship, having a kid in 1983 ... she marries Jim Kerr in 1984! It sounded like a wild ride for a few years.
     
  5. CheshireCat

    CheshireCat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cheshire
    State Of Confusion
    I've never fully warmed to this one, but it's a competent opening track, and despite being a rocking tune, lacks something of GTPWTW opening track, which is much better. It's noticeably a different production 'tone' to this album already. I like Ray's disaster songs, and the video is a highlight, and the song works well with it.
    Definite Maybe
    It improves once you move past the first verse. Better than I remember it from previous plays through the album. 'Computer says NO', well ahead of its time. In 1983 I was in my final year at primary school, and just as we were getting ready to leave and go to 'big' school, the 'computer' arrived. We never got to use it, quite probably none of the teachers knew what to do with it. Anyway, it was wheeled into 'top class' where we were and were shown it, on a huge trolley with a big TV on the shelf above. I don't think it was ever switched on...
    Labour Of Love
    The best bit is Dave (I presume) on the introductory guitar wedding march. After that it plods along with 'shouty Ray', I like the 'two headed transplant line', but it's a song lacking in something. It's OK, but quite possibly filler.
     
  6. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    Labour of Love

    Good lyric, even if not up to Ray's best standard.
    Solid riffs delivered by an appropriately aggressive guitar.
    And I, for one, generally like shouty Ray.

    But in the end, this song grates on me as often as not. Labour of Love never made it onto a mixtape back in the day and isn't on a playlist now.
     
  7. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Labour Of Love

    Listening to Ron Sexsmith's acoustic verses I am reminded of Bob Dylan's meter and melodic repose on either of (I think?) Tears Of Rage or I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine but I didn't get that from Ray.
    Oddly enough I hear a little Clash feel in one particular chord change early on after Dave's opening guitar rave of a wedding Experience that's not reached its 51st!
    The two headed transplant has me thinking of cojoined Siamese twins which are unfortunately no longer linked that way at the hip!
     
  8. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    Labour of Love

    Ray's "We Can Work It Out", and it sounds... different.
     
  9. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    "Labour of Love": A rather nondescript tune w/it's only virtues being Dave's Hendrix like rendition of "Here Comes The Bridge" and some of the lyrics.Otherwise, not a patch on what is coming up.
     
  10. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Location:
    Maplewood, NJ
    Definite Maybe
    Definitely Kwirky. Solid lyrics, and I have been thinking since yesterday who else could make a lyric like this work so well:
    "Surely there must be a way to open all the doors, and wade through all the petty bureaucratic little laws." The piano hits are great. That intro does seem very Prince Lets Go Crazy, and beats that by a year. It also seems very You Wreck Me by Tom Petty, and beats that one by 11 years!

    I gotta say though, there are a lot of melodic hooks and twists and turns that it took several listens to fully grasp all that this song was doing. Yes, the "round and round" melodic sections are great. The backing vocals are great. Dave harmonizing on "they don't want to know" and "what can I do?" This is a Definite Grower.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2022
  11. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    After listening to Ron Sexsmith's version (thanks Avid Fortuleo!), the song does seem a bit better, but it's still lacking in melody.

    Speaking of two headed transplants, this is what's on my mind whenever I think of them:

     
  12. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Miami Beach FL
    Labor of love:

    I have avoided reading anybody else’s posts on the song prior to writing this. My initial reaction to this song, which I had never heard before, was negative. Surprisingly, I wasn’t picking up on the connection between Dave’s intro solo and the topic of the song, and as a result, I wasn’t initially impressed. The song seemed heavy-handed and clunky for a Kinks song.

    Multiple listens, as well as reading the lyrics, have changed my initial viewpoint. As usual, you can count on Ray to tackle a tough topic. Exiting a honeymoon period, which is typically filled with sex, wine and roses, is nowhere near as exciting a topic to cover in a song as would be covering the honeymoon period itself. That said, Ray does a good job of making it both humorous and realistic while pointing out that it is possible still to have a good outcome. Dave’s intro solo, which I have come to realize is the typical wedding song, kind of shredded up, turns out to be very fitting. Catchy chorus too!

    Overall, I’ve come to like this song although I am guessing it will be one of my least favorite on the album.
     
  13. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Location:
    Maplewood, NJ
    Labour of Love

    Not a huge fan of this one musically. It seems very generic kinda like Low Budget (the song) or Money Talks. The intro, I say, is less Jimi Hendrix and more something like Nigel Tufnel would do for Spinal Tap. It comes across as a joke, and perhaps it was meant that way, but I'm not feeling it. The verse melody seems pretty... predictable and cliché.

    Lyrically it is pretty Kinkish, but I think the "Mr. and Mrs. Horrible" is a lyric that really dumbs it down. Couldn't he make up some actual names and Suzy and Johnny? It seems too generic and I don't connect to this couple that is being described here. Ray even has to squeeze "Horrible" into that line, like it doesn't even fit.

    As far as the "two headed transplant", I am picturing Mr. Black adjusting his Artificial Man machine to combine Flash and a floozy to be more efficient and lower their carbon footprint for the village's Preservation.
     
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  14. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    I've ever seen that film, although I am familiar with the 90s song by lo-fi legend Weird Paul Petrosky it inspired: (Choice lyric: 'this thing has two heads: it don't need two beds, just two pillows!')

     
  15. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Btw, I think 'Definite Maybe' might be in the lead in the 'song most improved by having to re-consider it for this thread' stakes for me so far. I always just dismissed it as an inspiration free Yardbirds rip. Now I see it has much more to offer than that.
     
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  16. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    If we go literal, this is the first thing that comes to mind with the "two headed transplant"

    [​IMG]
     
  17. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cape May, NJ
    You made the country music comnection too! I was thinking Hoyt Axton or Mac Davis-that mid-70s country story-song vibe in the lyrics and Ray's singing.
     
  18. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly 1964-73 rock's best decade

    Labour Of Love
    I didn't remember this song at all. Another fairly average mid tempo rocker. Ray has written much better lyrics on a similar theme before. Not a top track, but not horrible.
     
  19. Brian x

    Brian x half-animate bean

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I wish RD had used "two headed monster," which is a much less inelegant metaphor. "Two headed transplant" doesn't even make sense, I mean one head just stays where it was originally, right? Or are two heads being grafted onto a body that didn't have a head in the first place?

    "Marriage is..." can take a lyricist as sharp as RD a lot of places, but why he landed here is a mystery.

    As I'm trying to work out the whole transplant procedure, RD repeats the metaphor, and the melody doesn't go anywhere in particular, and I'm pretty much out.
     
  20. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    Ha ha. This movie is so ridiculous. I once had a t shirt with this movie poster on it! It was an iron-on that I made for myself. I love Ray Milland! He had quite a few doozy’s late in his career.
     
  21. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    “Labour of Love”

    I listened to this song multiple times yesterday and still couldn’t tell you anything about it. This is a strange album in which so many of the songs never dig their hooks in me. Is it a lack of hooks? This song is a labour to listen to. It goes by without leaving any impression, unlike the Ray Milland film!
     
  22. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Miami Beach FL
    i’ve already weighed in on this song, but I think Mark makes a good point here, musically, this is a fairly pedestrian track. Rays lyrics, and the sing alomg chorus, elevate it, but musically there’s not a whole lot going on. There are plenty of bands out there that I like that aren’t really doing anything that’s musically adventurous, but I think we’ve all come to expect so much more from the kinks. Although I’m a big fan of the Arista years, this is arguably one of the downsides to this period, too many songs that sound like straightahead generic rock songs (not that that bothers me, but I could see why it might bother others here).
     
  23. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston TX
    Labour of Love – A clever Hendrix “Here comes the bride” intro and decent lyrics (if less subtle than Ray's best) about the work required to make a relationship last are unfortunately wasted on this generic rocker. I've listened to this several times but now I can't remember anything but the intro; when I see the title, I hear "Mirror of Love." 2/5
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2022
  24. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Back in 1983, I was all about new wave/alternative music. I know the summer of 1983 I saw the Police. A Flock of Seagulls and the Fixx opened - and I was into both bands somewhat. I remember them playing videos on the big screen - saw videos like Bow Wow and the English Beat. All in my wheelhouse. Then I went to college later that year and they had Huey Lewis and the News and Talking Heads visiting at different points. Maybe even the Ramones(that could have been 1984). This was the same college that the Kinks "You Really Got Me" was taped for One for the Road.
     
  25. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Location:
    Florence, SC

    Since this is posted officially today, I'll go ahead and do what I do here in the thread and list where these at-that-point-in-time-previously-unreleased songs/mixes from this 10" record are available (or not) today long after this release briefly saw the light of day in 1983.

    C1 Misty Water (Alternate Stereo Mix) - Now available on the 2018 Village Green Preservation Society Super Deluxe Edition Box Set.
    C2 Pictures In The Sand (Instrumental) (Original Mix) - This mix remains unique to this 10". A remix was released on the 2018 VGPS SDE.
    C3 Spotty Grotty Anna (Mono Mix) - This mix remains unique to this 10".

    D1 Groovy Movies (Alternate Stereo Mix) - Now available on the 2019 Arthur Deluxe Box Set.
    D2 Time Will Tell - (Mono Mix) - latest release is on the 2011 The Kink Kontroversy 2 CD Deluxe Edition.
    D3 Rosemary Rose - (Mono Mix) - Now available on the 2018 VGPS SDE and previously on the older 2004 VGPS 3 CD Deluxe Edition.

    I didn't bring up the Pictures stereo mix the other day as there is a stereo mix on the Big Box albeit a remix, but technically it still qualifies as unique here.

    There is no other mono release of Spotty Grotty, so this record is the only place it was ever officially released. Probably an oversight it was not included on the 2018 VGPS SDE.

    I can do vinyl now, but apologies for the pops and crackles. I didn't use any noise reduction or processing either. This is a straight vinyl rip and it may be a little harsh due to the recording itself.

    Yes, an inconsequential track, but for completeness sake...

    Spotty Grotty Anna (Mono Mix)
     
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