The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    As a complement to my previous commentary, I'd like to say that the video did make me appreciate the song better. Which brings to further remarks. One is, this relationship between music and video is really an enigma. As I watched Return to Waterloo, one of the songs that struck me was Ladder of Success (sadly left off the album). I found the associated scene irresistible. Yesterday I listened to the actual soundtrack on youtube (not the album, that I could not find), and the song sounded all thin and unfinished. Conversely (but pointing the same phenomenon), songs like Going Solo or Sold me Out got much better in my appreciation when I saw them in the film context. This is weird because I always hated most video clips, which tend to bring the worst out of the songs, when they don't utterly spoil them. The Kinks and the people who filmed them must have been really good at this video/music marriage thing.

    Which leads me to the 2nd remark: how come these guys who have such terrible taste as far as cover art is concerned are so good with the moving image? I realise now that the lousy, or at least unequal graphic non-identity that the band was afflicted with all those years carried with it an image of amateurishness that probably hurt them a lot in my and the public's perception of their work (the point has been raised far upthread). I was soooo surprised to discover these videos, this Return to Waterloo movie, and Ray's film apparitions, as they look so professional and hip!
  2. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    If they were worth a fortune, they would never leave their bedrooms.
  3. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Today i watched my DVD of Return To Waterloo for the first time in over a decade.

    I won't get too nitty gritty as we are not up to it yet but make some brief general comments.

    Ray briefly appears as a busker at a train station so this loosely reprises the video idea of Do It Again.

    As another Avid has remarked upthread I too still fail to fully comprehend the ending.

    There was some conjecture a page or two ago about whether it was Ray or others singing his songs in this film so i will just say happily :) that he does sing them, however there are also persons that are not Raymond Douglas Davies that also sing. :o
  4. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Word Of Mouth.

    stereo mix, recorded Aug-Sep 1984 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    I've been trying to get a message to you,
    But the operator can't put me through,
    Because the vandals went and wrecked all the telephones.
    And all my enemies are spreading bad news,
    You won't call me, that's why I'm calling you,
    To put you straight about the rumors they're spreading about me back home.

    I should have known, sooner or later,
    You'd get the news, sooner or later,
    The word of mouth will get right back to you.

    Somehow we lost communication,
    My only chance in my situation,
    Is that the word of mouth gets my message through.

    The word of mouth,
    The word of mouth,
    But who are they to say the things they do?

    The word of mouth says that I've gone insane,
    That wine and women have affected my brain.
    Well who's the big mouth spreading the news again?
    The word of mouth says I'm round the bend,
    It's all over, this is the end.
    Exaggeration sure gets the better of people who send[?].

    The word of mouth,
    The word of mouth,
    But who are they to say the things they do?

    The word of mouth said I should be put in my place.
    The word is out I'm in disgrace -- a waste of space.
    But if they say it, say it to my face.

    People talking, trying to dig up the dirt,
    There are so many lies around.
    They spread their gossip and the rumors around this town.

    Word of mouth, face to face,
    My word of mouth has stated my case,
    And I'm saying I'm coming back home to you.

    You should have know sooner or later,
    You'd get the news sooner or later,
    The word of mouth will get right back to you.

    The word of mouth,
    Shut your mouth,
    Shut your face!

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Davray Music, Ltd.

    So apparently there is a certain amount of controversy about the opening.... I guess if someone is really really looking to, we could say it is similar to Start Me Up, but I really don't hear it as being similar enough to be worth the oxygen really.
    If we were to get to bothered about staccato, distorted guitars as intros we lose half the rock era lol

    Lyrically this is about gossip and communication, and how it has deteriorated substantially over the years.... It has been really interesting to me that in the "age of communication", the majority have just forgotten how to communicate.... Text is a pet peeve of mine.... It can be handy, but so many folks communicating via text end up in fights and disagreements because they read into each others texts instead of just taking the words at face value.... Even on the forum it often happens that folks read inflection into typed words that just aren't there... I've done it myself, and in the end communication has become a nightmare.

    Anyway, the rumours are that this guy (Ray?) has lost his mind and is lost in wine and women... it speaks to the idea that folks that like to spread information they know little about, like to exaggerate and twist the truth for a better story.... In reality it could well be talking about the modern media we find ourselves with now.... We are all in a situation where we are lied to so much, that nobody can actually be confident that the information they have is even true... and the deeper we look, the more likely it is that the information we have is actually wrong, twisted or just straight up manipulated into a deep fantasy.

    The lyric here makes me wonder if someone was specifically talking crap about Ray, or if the magazines of the day, or perhaps a specific one had been talking smack about Ray or Dave, and this was the reaction... or if indeed, as often happens, the phrase "word of mouth" got in Ray's head, and this is where he went with it.

    "Shut your face" ... always a favourite... how widely used was this phrase? Around my way, as a kid, it was incredibly common.

    Anyway, I reckon it is a good lyric within its context, but not necessarily among Ray's finest or anything like that.

    I like the rhythm of the opening guitar, but not so much the tone... It is a really thin, wispy kind of sound.... more like a distortion pedal or something rather than a driven amp ... I don't know... I don't hate it, but it doesn't grab me ...

    In fact.... I don't dislike the song, but it isn't really a great track... It is serviceable...
    Although the lyric works pretty well, and I like the way Ray delivers the lyric.... musically it is a bit .... it's just there ... it doesn't sound great, and it isn't particularly musically engaging.

    It's a decent album track.... but it is the second song on the album, and the title track, so it doesn't leave a good early impression, to me.

  5. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    What a strange phrase, "word of mouth".

    I agree with the Leader here, this song is not very interesting musically.

    I believe the riff is really similar to Start Me Up's. And I don't even like Start Me Up that much either to begin with.
  6. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    "Word Of Mouth"

    I'd never noticed any similarity to "Start Me Up" before - obviously I'm aware of that track but it's not something that ever popped into my head while listening to "Word Of Mouth".

    This is probably my least favourite track on the album, a fairly basic grinding hard rocker. We get a bit of variation in the "people talking tryin' to dig up the dirt" section, but not enough to pull it round for me. I get the impression that Ray is writing from personal experience here - I would imagine that there were some stories going round in the wake of his relationship with Chrissie. It's OK, but no more, and thankfully it's the only track of its type on this album.
  7. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    An average album track. Thankfully, it's one of the few tracks featuring shouty Ray on this album.
  8. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    "Word Of Mouth" - musically, this is a bit monotonous. It sounds like a guitar riff driven song where the riff was never quite finished. Sort of "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" without the chord changes! I must admit I also heard the "Start Me Up" riff in there like @ARL . I suppose the term "word of mouth" is a pretty interesting expression in the English language so here, Ray builds a song around that expression. But I am not sure Ray particularly develops the lyric very much. The one thing that caught my attention was the line "Word of mouth, face to face" which combines two somewhat related turns of phrase that also happen to be Kinks album titles. It is an ok track I guess but not particularly memorable to me.
  9. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    The song is clearly on the generic side of Kinks rockers but ok, not too shouty, nice Dave high harmonies, good bridge, amusing “shut your mouth/shut your face” send off.

    About Start Me up, I've got two hypothesis:
    1/ They did this intro because the mouth lyrics made them think of the Stones logo, so they figured they should send them a friendly guitar nod.
    2/ They did it to cover their tracks so that no one would ever think of calling them out on the fact that they were actually blatantly nicking the Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting riff all through the chorus section.
    Nice try, guys, but the Thread was listening!
  10. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Or maybe the multiple lips on the cover made them think of the Stones logo!

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    "Word of Mouth": A half decent rocker, nothing great, but it has enough hooky juice to get my interest. I really never noticed the similarity to "Start Me Up" until now. I always thought that the lyrics were about his relationship w/Chrissie Hynde and how the media portrayed it. Has noticed that the second line has dated the song? I mean that there's no longer any phone booth or box for vandals to vandalize.

    Avid The late man, the phrase "Word of Mouth" is actually a popular English language phrase. It usually means that the reputation of a person, service or store is made by people talking among each other instead of artificially, such as hype. An example would be "The word of mouth among people I know is that Fortuleo's French Restaurant is very good despite the fact that the owner dresses like Ghengis Khan and talks like John Wayne". This ends my Sunrise Semester on common phrases of the English language.
  12. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I had never even though about the phrase Word Of Mouth being odd lol

    It's just always been there.

    The most common usage I know of is normally in those poll type situations
    How Did You Hear About Our Company?
    1 Google
    2 Newspaper
    3 Television
    4 Word Of Mouth
    5 ....

    Etc etc.
    It essentially just means that someone physically told you something.
    Dictionary definition - Oral Communication
  13. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Word Of Mouth:
    The second song in a row that starts out as if it were 1972, this time with the opening chords to The Raspberries ‘Go All The Way.’

    A rough and tumble song, I hear the ‘Start Me Up’ riff that I know will be referenced…but I don’t think it’s overt as it doesn’t do the stop and start thing that the Stones’ song does. This Kinks song is more of a Pete Townshend windmill strut.

    Ray’s vocal is street tough, nothing weak or plaintive here. “Well, who’s the big mouth spreading the news again.” This is an easy song for most everyone to identify with and I think we’re off to a great start. 2 for 2 for me.
  14. pantofis

    pantofis Forum Resident

    Berlin, Germany
    Word Of Mouth

    Second track and even though superficially the elements are the same, this is a huge letdown. The music sounds tired and workmanlike. Everything that was delivered with ease on the opener sounds strained here. Sharing the title with a later Mike & Mechanics hit doesn't help either.
  15. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident

    Word of Mouth

    A rather opaque commentary on the pervasiveness of gossip and rumor. Yes, this downside to Ray’s elevated public profile was more than he could abide. He’s not one to ‘play the game’ and doesn’t want games played at his expense.

    Chrissie Hynde on Ray, Rolling Stone, April ‘84. ‘He’s been doing this for twenty years, and he just abhors the music business. Up until he met me, he could get away from it; he just went home and had nothing to with it. Now the poor guy walks into a hotel room in America, turns on MTV, and there I am. I don’t want to start off World War III. Let’s just say we get by in our own inimitable way.’
    A hint of ‘Start Me Up’ in the riffage and telephone vandals that evoke Bobby D. It was sometime in ‘85 that Ray apparently heard (through word of mouth, one wonders?) of Dylan showing interest in writing with Ray, an offer Ray shrugged off. Now, maybe this is another apocryphal tale, but I don’t see how that could ever work as their styles are polar opposites. Ray would be a pointillist, to Dylan’s Jackson ‘Jack the Dripper’ Pollock. If they were comedians, Bob would be Robin Williams, Ray Steven Wright. Oh, one more. As TV comedies, Dylan is The Simpsons, Davies is Taxi. Hey, this is fun, try it!
    If it seems like I’m running out the clock here, for lack of anything to say about the song itself, correctamundo. It’s workmanlike, and it’s not the worst Kinks title track, thanks to some doozies coming up. It was also quite good live, you can see that on the SNL clip; though it was never played on any subsequent tours.

  16. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Florence, SC
    SNL clip you say @pyrrhicvictory?

    Not sure why this song was chosen for SNL performance. This aired on November 17, 1984. The album was released two days later on the 19th on both sides of the Atlantic. Do It Again was released as a single in the US a couple of weeks later, so an obvious choice for a single and a TV performance (bafflingly, Do It Again was not released as a single in the UK until April 1985).
    As pointed out by @ajsmith, Good Day had already been released as a single in the UK three months earlier in August and promptly gone nowhere, so a US release was never on the table, therefore no need to perform it on US TV in Nov.
    At this point outside of Do It Again, I think they had no idea what the later follow up single in early 1985 should be, so they went with the title track of the album. When we get to Living On A Thin Line we’ll see Ray (perhaps intentionally) and Arista completely missed the boat with single choices. A Dave song performed by the band on Saturday Night Live would have never been in the cards either way, of course.

    Saturday Night Live

    Last edited: Jun 15, 2022
  17. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Word Of Mouth

    It's good this track wasn't the opener as then it may be more a Tattoo on the brain for You & me.
    It's not all bad but it is generic and seems like hard work for Ray, maybe the press was his Love Removal Machine? (Well the Kinks are a Kult!)
    Yes we have Word Of Mouth & Face To Face but please note that Ray is also In Disgrace!
    An operator turns up as in 1966 & 1983 & being really pedantic i could imagine another (loose albeit) 1965 Dylan link with the word Vandal & something being made inoperable.
    I don't mind the song but i don't hear anything particularly melodic, memorable or redeeming.
    It would have been a riot though if they followed it up with Hang Fire! :D
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2022
  18. fspringer

    fspringer Forum Resident

    New York City
    Word of Mouth: I don't know. I gladly include this and "Labour of Love" on my Kinks playlist in favor of any number of other post Low Budget era rockers. I think this sounds fantastic: gritty opening riff and it doesn't let up. Maybe not ZZ Top territory, but that band worked this vein to death (in the best way possible). This album starts out so fantastically then tends to falter a bit in the middle (which is where the key Return to Waterloo tracks would have made a huge difference). The theme feels a bit quaint now in that we're all experiencing the same celebrity level of needless tension and diverted attention over ultimately meaningless words and gossip, thanks to the corrosive effects of social media. Back when we just had landline phones and no internet, communication was so much different, and seemingly far more direct. You knew it was trouble when you saw rich people answering the phone in cars on what seemed like a shoebox.
  19. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Oh Lord

    Does anyone knows this ?

    Popular Music and Society

    Apparently you have to get some sort of subscription but I don't have time to explore the matter.

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    I actually have a hard copy of this, Avid The last man, which I got when it first came out in 2006. It's all scholarly articles about the Kinks. Also, I'm currently reading a biography of Ray by one of the authors, Thomas Kitts, which isn't half bad.
  21. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    Word Of Mouth

    I like the song, but it's definitely lower tier Kinks and one of the lesser songs on the album.

    Other than the Ray vocal,, this song sounds to me like it could have been one of the middle cuts on a Dave solo album; which is to say a perfectly acceptable but uninspiring and undisdtinguished straight ahead rocker.

    Given it's status as the title cut and its choice for the SNL appearance, it would seem the group (and/or their management) saw this song as more than most of us do.
  22. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    I enjoyed that live version as Ray seemed to take his time and i picked up on more humour and nuance in the song from both he and the band also.
    Ok so Kink self sabotage again, who's willing to bet they would have cracked the top 40 if they had played Do It Again on SNL?
  23. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    Word of Mouth (the song): Fine, I hear the Stones rip. ....a little. So what, its a good riff, its not really that similar (I am not a guitarist, so I may be wrong), and honestly, who cares? The Stones and Zep were notorious for doing the same. I have only read Mr. Winstanley's review be fore writing this, but our thoughts are somewhat aligned. He used the term "serviceable" (a running joke with my fiancé, the term I too use when something is at an acceptable level). So how harsh do we want to be here. its a perfectly good Kinks song, no need to turn it off. It works up a good head of steam as it leads up to:

    "The word of mouth said I should be put in my place.
    The word is out I'm in disgrace -- a waste of space.
    But if they say it, say it to my face.

    People talking, trying to dig up the dirt,
    There are so many lies around.
    They spread their gossip and the rumors around this town."

    Once Ray hits this section, he seems pretty in to it, and Dave provides the rocking accompaniment.

    having just read Our Fearless Leader’s thoughts again, he really hit on one point that had been noodling around in my brain but I hadn’t expressed to myself, and that’s the tone of the riff. It’s a good, if somewhat recycled riff, but the sound of it is a bit harsh and grating. I think this song seems to be built around the riff, and if you’re going to do that, you better make the riff sound good. The riff to Start Me Up really is the whole song to me, but boy does that riff sound good, so it makes the song work. Word Of Mouth’s riff doesn’t hit those heights.

    I would say it makes you dance, but it doesn't make you think enough (as most Kinks songs do). Likely, my fellow Avid's will parse the lyrics closer than I have for hidden links and references to other songs, characters, albums etc., and this may well help me see why Ray thought this was good enough to be the title track. Until then, I will continue to see this as a fun rocker and not much more.

    Maybe this would have worked better elsewhere in the track order. Mark expressed my thought that it's not quite good enough for the second song on Side A. I don't want to trigger a "reordering of tracks" debate already, but this might have actually been a decent album closer, as the title track, a short blast of silly fun on the way out the door. Track 2 just carries too much in the way of expectations on a kinks' album.

    This will make my playlist, its a tidy little rocker like Attitude or Pressure, fun but certainly not life changing. It will drift towards the tail end of the playlist though.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2022
  24. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Wow, you even got this! Is it instructive? Or is it just ill-informed analysis that compensates with jargon and highbrow posturing?
    [EDIT : I'm not trying to disparage the intellectual professions here, I'm only letting my jealousy loose. Compensating ignorance with jargon is actually what I do for a living]
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2022
  25. Paul Mazz

    Paul Mazz Forum Resident

    Word of Mouth

    This is definitely more generic, and less memorable than Do It Again, but somehow its a more pleasurable listen for me, as I continue to swim against the tide:). I'm sure it must ring some subconscious bells for me. It can be tough to separate out strictly personal factors like where you were in your life and who you were with when you first heard certain songs. I think that the similarity of Word of Mouth to Start Me Up does that for me. When Start Me Up came out, a friend of a friend that we used to go bar hopping with was a huge Rolling Stones fan, and would always go crazy every time Start Me Up came up on a jukebox dancing wildly enough that other patrons had to get out of the way:pineapple:.

    The lyrics are interesting enough. I like that the 'word of mouth," seems to be both the problem and the solution - kind of like putting the lime in the coconut.

    I have a feeling that I'm going to be in the minority on a couple of the later tracks as well. We'll see.

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