The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    I beg to differ, @Mark !! To me, this one’s fantastic. Quite unusual for a Ray composition, the whole song seems to be born out of a very short melodic idea that provides the main vocal hook. And then, it develops nicely into lots of little bridges sections (as per usual now). Half-way through, we'll never come back to the opening melody, except in the most unusual way at the end, underlining its very absence, « Brrr, doo-bee-doo-be-doo », probably because… well, because summer's gone and that melody bit has gone with it.

    The beat and riff in the intro is so Sprinsgteen it almost wears a stars and stripes on its pair of jeans. Too-doo-doo-doo, I’ll admit I like that hook a lot too, it brings a few late harrissongs to mind. But the rest is all Kinks, pop, power, power pop, great guitars (much more subdued than usual, even the solo), great story, vivid images, you get it all, and it shows how Ray’s brain works, by juxtaposing images that create not only a narrative but draws a brain’s map of the character. In the doorway, in the back of a car, child, man, son, father, a two generations story condensed in the most economical psychological portrait you could imagine, and no cliché either, just a beautiful piece of truth. “He must’ve wondered where we all came from”… Not many can write that and make it resonate, laying out the portrait of both the father, the son, and how this memory would affect the kid when turned into a grown man. Now that he's losing the love of his life, he has this reminiscence from his childhood that explains his own "summer's gone" feeling and metaphor, in the most heartbreaking way.

    Seen like that, I find this song irresistible. Maybe not top tier Kinks, but sometimes "second tier" is where it's at, the little gems strayed along the way that become personal favorites. It comes in, grabs me, I’m in the car, on the doorway, under the rain, summer’s gone, I know what that means, and it means a lot. Not many songs can do that, telling you that something’s over, never to come back, while conjuring its very spirit. In the end, there’s nothing left to be said, so Ray does his crazy fatalistic bit. « Brrr, doo-bee-doo-be-doo », indeed.
     
  2. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    This is a heartbreaking song to me, but it's slightly on the wrong side of the hurting line. It's clearly Good Day part 2, with a wider meaning maybe. He screwed up the relationship, he's in the "it's all my fault" phase, and he can't even feel he had a great time, he just regrets not enjoying it more at the time. The flashback to childhood is really moving, in very few words. But what makes this song so sad is also the notion that, in a way, Ray's songwriting summer is gone too, and it shows. The music is sub-par compared to the words. The intent is good, with the contrast between musical summer and lyrical darkness, but the execution is competent at best. And the 70s, the summer of all life, are gone forever. ("OK Boomer" is a valid answer here).

    But maybe just the nostalgic subject is enough to make this painful to me. My father wrote what I think is one of his best songs when he was 75, maybe, and it's so sad I just can't listen to it. The song's title is "Happiness is a sad song", and it goes on to say life's song has three chapters, and the last one is really not funny, but the one in the middle is so bright that it shines over the rest. My dad is mostly a positive guy, my wife says he's an American! But for some reason this moves me to tears, to the point that I don't want to hear it anymore (my brother says he doesn't hear this at all and I'm a crybaby).

    Summer's Gone carries a bit of this feeling to me. I might appreciate it, on a Good Day. But not everyday.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2022
  3. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    Yes, this is a great line!
     
  4. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Why was a song with the title SUMMER'S GONE released as a single in MARCH of all months!!??? Summer's just around the corner!! I know the songs meaning isn't that literal, but that's your starting point from commercial POV: I mean what DJ would want to play a song with that title around that time of year? The thoughtlessness of that decision really adds insult to injury re the snubbing of 'Living On A Thin Line' for release as a commercial single.
     
  5. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Interestingly, I am getting to the end of Return to Waterloo, and I am now wondering if this was subbed out for Expectations at the last minute... thematically sort of similar, but less direct in some ways.
     
  6. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Lol
    I don't know.... essentially we both say it's a "second tier" song :)
     
  7. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    "Summer's Gone" - is this where Bob Dylan ripped off the title "Standing In The Doorway", later covered by Chrissie Hynde during lockdown? Probably not. But I love those kinds of connections. A bright sound here. But of course, it is a Kinks song so there must be some sense of loss in play. I kind of like it and Ray, of course, always has a way with a lyric.
     
  8. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    With the departure of Avory in this timeframe, might the phrase 'Drummer's Gone' have been in the back of Ray's mind when this one was composed? :nyah:
     
  9. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Location:
    Florence, SC
    Here's the full length version of "Summer's Gone" that was first released as a bonus track on the 1999 Velvel CD reissue of Word Of Mouth. The album version was edited from this version and then crossfaded into the last song on the album “Going Solo”.

    This longer version has a slightly longer intro, an extra vocal section in the first part with the additional lyrics and then a little more instrumental work, a longer "solo" instrumental section. This would have been a good spot for an actual guitar solo but they didn't do it and why the hell not? Dave is supposedly present for these later album sessions and on this track. The full fade is here as well. The actual mix itself between this and the album is the same. This full length version was unreleased at the time.


    The 7” commercial and 12” promo singles both took even shorter edits to the album edit and in each case were different edits still. All contained the same mix.

    Summer's Gone (Full Length Version)

     
  10. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Location:
    Florence, SC
    As we know, "Summer's Gone" was the track chosen as the second US single from the album for March 1985 release over “Living On A Thin Line”. The UK did not get “Summer’s Gone” as a single. The second UK single released a month later in April 1985 was actually “Do It Again” 5 months after the album was released and 8 months after the first UK single “Good Day” was released.

    And this was it for singles from the album in both countries.

    Hindsight is 20/20 of course, but for sure the label and Ray blew it big time in this case. There were some obvious choices to be made here (“Living On A Thin Line” as the second US single, “Do It Again” as an earlier UK single, make a video one of these other songs - no more videos were made) and they missed them due to either ignorance, stupidity, willful self sabotage, or narcissism. Or all of the above. Reminder this was before the MCA label change discussions occurred so that had nothing to do with it from a marketing or promotions standpoint.

    Anyway, summer's not the only thing gone. The Kinks commercial and chart prospects are effectively gone at this very point as history confirms.
    “This is it. This is the end”, to quote the LP’s title track.

    That said, there is still much gold to be found in these later albums, so stay the course!
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2022
  11. fspringer

    fspringer Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    Summer's Gone: This has grown into the best song on the album, a sort of anti-Beach Boys anthem. What happens when the beach boys become beach men? Also see Don Henley's "Boys of Summer." Ray takes his "old days were better and gone" formula and applies it to the Beach Boys summer/surfing/ocean myth. The key lyrics are Ray remember driving in the car with his parents, driving them nuts, and his Mom is prescient enough to recognize they will one day miss this chaos, when the nest grows empty and all is silence. The song avoids the ultimate truth and eventual outcome: the kids carrying on in the back seat will one day go to their parents' funerals and wonder where it all went, and why no one warned them how unbelievably hard it would be to process. If we look at our lives as seasons of the year, I would gather most of us are at various points in the fall. But something strange: I don't mourn summer, while I do mourn the passing of spring and fall. Go figure.

    Every musical touch is perfect: the cascading guitar intro, the Beach Boys harmonies, even a Dylan vocal inflection on one line! "Summer's Gone" is a sort of strange bookend to "Come Dancing," which works better because it cloaks the same feeling of passing time and loss in a joyful melody. But I don't think this song is far behind. None of this would have made sense to me 20 years ago.
     
  12. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    “Summer’s Gone”: As I wake up and smell the golumpki (that’s stuffed cabbage to you non Polish folk) that my 95 yr. old mother is making downstairs, my thoughts are full w/“Summer’s Gone”, not only one of my favorite songs from Word of Mouth, but right up there w/Johnny Rivers’ “Summer Rain” as my favorite non sunny summer song. Ray gets all the late rainy summer day feeling down well, using the end of summer as a metaphor for a end of a relationship. Like the other Avids, I also enjoy the line about the memory of the father wondering where how all his children came from.

    Also, here’s a link to an article that I found via the Kinda Kinks website about Avid Teddy B’s friend Mick Jones and his favorite song of all time, which happens to be a Kinks song. Can you confirm Avid Teddy B?:

    The Clash’s Mick Jones names his “favourite song ever”
     
  13. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Summer’s Gone:
    A bright, sparkling find-yourself-sashaying-and-swaying-about song; an obvious choice for an A.M. radio single. Sheryl Crow was always good at this sort of poppy song, though The Kink’s song includes more than a touch of pensive ache…because the lyrics are filled with bittersweet regret, thinking of what could have happened.

    Still, even while driving I feel like taking my hands off the wheel and waving them in the air while singing “Summer’s gone! Do do do do.”

    The count: 7-2-1. This becomes the third track to make the playlist.
     
  14. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    It's raining in June, it's raining in late August/September, I hope the weather is better in between!
     
  15. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Summer's Gone
    It's sobering reading Ray's lyrics about broken relationships because I've always thought of Summer's Gone as an upbeat sort of tune. It plays the same trick on me as some songs by Elliott Smith (Independence Day is a prime example) of sounding so positive musically but no so when looking closely at the lyrics. That said, I really do like this song with its driving momentum and catchy chorus. I probably wouldn't have picked it to be the second single but (as I've said before) I wouldn't have argued with Ray had he insisted on it.
     
  16. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident

    Location:
    Manhattan
    Summer’s Gone

    It doesn’t take a Columbo, or even a Clouseau, to deduce this is a song about Chrissie’s departure. The melancholy passing of time pokes in its head, and the end of the season begins. Soaked to the skin, prowling the rainswept streets, kicking yourself for the one that got away. The future foretold in his parent’s car duly pays its visit, and Father Time remains undefeated. Being Ray, this song operates on multiple levels, but the central idea is loss; one can imagine Ray haunting Highgate despairingly. And then in time, as always, a song is born. ‘Summer’s Gone’ lacks the magic necessary to mesmerize radio listeners, but it does have much to offer. Dave’s guitar lines have great pop sensibilities, nearly sounding Schoolboys in Disgrace/Sleepwalker-ish in places. And Ray’s vocal embellishment on the final ‘summer’s go-ooo-one’ is pure pathos. Perhaps it’s something in the production that holds this song back, keeping it from fully inhaling, exhaling. It may be too cluttered, but it’s a keeper.
     
  17. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    It seems Mick Jones got his favourite song from that el cheapo Marble Arch compilation we weren't impressed with a few hundred pages ago. If so, my impression of that Marble Arch album has gone up considerably.
     
  18. Luckless Pedestrian

    Luckless Pedestrian Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    “Summer’s Gone” - Another song about loss, which is accentuated by a subtle denial of expectation in its composition. Listeners of rock and blues music are conditioned to hear transitions after four bars, such as a classic 12 bar blues that is organized into 3 sets of 4 bars, four beats per bar. To take one of a million examples:

    Bars 1-4: I was in the kitchen Seamus, that's the dog, was outside
    Bars 5-8: Well, I was in the kitchen, Seamus, my old hound, was outside
    Bars 9-12: Well, the sun sinks slowly But my old hound just sat right down and cried

    … and repeat. The regularity in this structure, coupled with the steady rock back beat with consistent stress on the 2 and 4 is comforting to the listener, a balm against life’s inevitable unpredictability - we know what’s going to happen and when, which gives us a sense of security.

    In Summer’s Gone, the introduction immediately defies expectations when it ends after only 3 measures before a solid snare hit launches us into the song’s main theme. From there the song settles back into a comfortable 4 bars per verse structure, until we get to

    Now I'm standing in a doorway with my overcoat on
    It really feels like Summer's gone.

    which stops short after only 3 bars and abruptly launches back into the main theme again. The missing bar is unsettling, something should be there but it’s gone, and the song just moves on without it.

    The three bar “Summer’s gone” transition happens again the next two times it arrives (in the “water in my shoes” and “Dad you know it won’t last) verse; then in the final instance, which is the song’s climax, Ray reverses the reversal by restoring the missing fourth bar, adding a small stutter with an extra “feels like”

    It really feels like, feels like Summers gone.​

    So the missing bars in the intro and first 3 instances of “summer’s gone” defy expectations and accentuate a sense of loss, while at the same time they set up for the pivotal moment when the bar is restored at the song’s conclusion. It’s a subtle touch and nothing groundbreaking but to my mind a good example of what distinguishes Ray as a songwriter.
     
  19. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cape May, NJ
    Summers Gone

    A stone-cold Kinks Klassic. It's all there: quirkiness, great melodies, Beach Boys harmonies, story-telling, great bridge, weather, tasty guitar riffs, and perfect melding of 60s'-80's Kinks. Should've been the follow-up single to Living On A Thin Line instead of being released months after Do It Again as its follow-up. Maybe their best song of the Arista years, if not, at least on the short list. It also should've been the album closer as Going Solo sounds flat coming out of this. I agree it does sound like a precursor to the next album. I was wrong earlier, as much as I like it this is a better song than Sold Me Out.
     
  20. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    :D Then, I guess it takes just a simpleton like me to think that Ray doesn’t write exclusively about his own life. This being about Chrissie’s departure never entered my head!
     
  21. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    I like that comp! I love the Marble Arch house style from 67-69 with the Swiss style clean graphic design, the psych car photo is neat, plus all the songs (other than the title track) are non LP per the 60s UK Pye albums, so it slots nearly beside them as a contemporary compliment.

    Ok it helped annihilate any chance The Kinks had of being perceived as a serious album act in the UK for a generation, but swings and roundabouts.
     
  22. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    OK @Luckless Pedestrian I've narrowed down your real identity to either David Gilmour or Roger Waters :winkgrin:
     
  23. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    You and me both :sigh:
     
  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    And I. .

    It's interesting... it feels like the posts this morning are swaying me.
    Being much less familiar with this track, and with it not hitting me straight away, it seems like I missed the boat in some way.

    For the record, if it didn't come through, I don't dislike this track, it just didn't fully grab me. It felt a bit beige, a bit bland, in spite of typically excellent lyrics.
     
  25. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I don’t know, Mark…I’m sensing a heightened level of ruthlessness. (Just joking!!!)
     

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