The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter


    Now all the lies are beginning to show,
    And you're not the country that I used to know.
    I loved you once from my head to my toe,
    But now my belief is shaken.

    And all your ways are so untrue,
    No one breaks promises the way that you do.
    You guided me, I trusted you,
    But now my illusion's shaken.

    Thought this empire would be here
    At least a thousand years.
    But all the expectations and aspirations,
    Slowly disappear.

    Now all the lies have gone on too long,
    And a million apologies can't right the wrong.
    Soldiers die but the lies go on,
    But soon we will awaken.

    In our expectations for the future,
    We were not to know.
    We had expectations, now we've reached
    As far as we can go.

    And all your manners are too, too polite,
    Just to prove that your conscious is white and bright.
    You had your day so get ready for the night,
    For another dawn is breaking.

    We had expectations, now we've reached
    As far as we can go.

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

    Starts at 48:40

    So we have had the explosive ending to the last track with madness breaking out in the train carriage, and the old lady slashing up one of the kids.

    Our guy starts running along the train.... and it is somewhat odd...
    He's running down a carriage of the train and then we see the train go into a tunnel.
    Then we get this odd snippet that looks like he is sinking the boot into someone.
    Then it looks like he is in a large corridor, with single windows on either side.... that may have bars on them. On my phone I can't tell if they are bars, like prison bars of some sort, or just wood beading....

    Then he bursts into a room full of people. His wife is at the centre of them holding a baby.
    She says something like "that's your daddy, one day he is going to run away and leave us"

    Then we move to another room.... is this a morgue?

    A girl is sitting on a table in a white gown, and behind here are morgue-like doors.
    She is brushing her hair, she turns to see our guy, and smiles and extends her arms as if to offer a hug.

    Then we see her in a bed/on a table, with a sheet up to her neck, as if just having been viewed, as in identifying the body....
    Then we get a close up of our guys face, and behind it is the identikit picture...

    Then we seem to stroll down a memory lane type scenario... and we see our guy back in his seat as if nothing happened at all.

    We open with a strong acoustic guitar, and it has a presence as if to suggest importance or significance.

    Lyrically this song is about disappointment in where England ended up.... With the opening line being "Now all the lies are beginning to show" one assume that this is going to be the big reveal, and explain why our main guy is where he is and what is the identikit picture and the images of the girl are all about... it ends up being a song about disillusionment towards the country, that once was an Empire, and it suggest that perhaps the bright days are all over and the country is entering the nighttime, or the dark passage of its existence.

    Ray heads into the territory that his belief in the country is shaken, and the lies and untruths have led to a distrust have led to his illusion being shaken.

    He ponders that he thought the Empire would last a thousand years
    But all the expectations and aspirations,
    Slowly disappear.

    Closing out with
    And all your manners are too, too polite,
    Just to prove that your conscious is white and bright.
    You had your day so get ready for the night,
    For another dawn is breaking.

    We had expectations, now we've reached
    As far as we can go.

    Ray explores a fair bit of territory here, and it seems almost like a requiem for the Village Green, and the dissolving of the Preservation Society.

    Visually we have an old building and kids playing.
    We have the train rolling doen the tracks and it moves between the tracks and a group of kids walking along a street.

    Then we have a single boy at the riverside, throwing a rock in the water.
    This then moves to a factory view, and the kid comes under a bridge and we see him smile and start running.... we go back to a train rolling down the tracks ... the the kid running into a building. It's the train station ...
    The train is pulling into this station full of union jacks, and the kid is running onto the station platform full of union jacks, waving at the approaching train.

    Our guy leans out of the train window and passes the kid the keys.

    The kid isn't waving and the flags are gone... our guys sits back in his seat on the train..... the song is over....

    The train keeps rolling and we hear a lady say
    " look the houses of parliament"
    There is a little back n forth chatter, and our guy is sitting in his seat with somewhat of a smile on his face, and we move into the Return To Waterloo reprise.....

    As we go along here... and I haven't gotten to the end yet....

    It seems like this is sort of an allegory or something like that at this stage.
    We have this story about a dad who seems to be missing his daughter...
    It appears he is cheating on his wife...
    He takes this long train ride and is surrounded by a variety of people
    It is an awkward unsettling train ride...
    There is an implication that he is a rapist...

    but in the wash up to this stage at least, it seems to represent little pieces of Ray's devotion to England dying.
    Perhaps the man is representative of England, but he has gone off the rails... he may have been dealing untowardly with his child, he seems to be cheating on his wife, he is off the rails, but carrying on as if everything is normal...

    It is as if the country is stuck on this train ride heading in a direction that can't be changed, and in this really very good song, we get this statement that England is lost, and the implication that the Preservation Society has shut up shop, because the country has drifted beyond redemption and the children of the country have been lost, perhaps raped in some metaphorical way... The country has been cheating on us and lying to us, and it has caused the decay of our society and the marriage between the people and the country is on the rocks and falling to pieces.

    But in some form of, "all hope is not lost", we have the main character hand the keys to a young boy on a train platform, as if to say "here, see what you can do with this, we missed the boat and are stuck on this train...."

    Anyway, at the very least it is interesting.... Looking forward to seeing how this resolves ....

    By the way, I really like the music here too... It just seems like there is so much to try and cover with this project it is hard to know how to approach it.

  2. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Expectations .

    The album version

  3. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Not Far Away

    Ok it's not Buddy Holly but closer to no futecha and wanting the world and wanting it now.
    If chaos will rule and there's total destruction that means anarchy in the UK!
    I hear some Clash but also the opening chords used from State Of Confusion.
    Clearly the old timers on the train are defenseless when facing the punks Roth!
  4. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    "Expectations" - this is quite interesting in that it is a song that is written in second person point of view meaning it is a first person narrative addressed to a specific character. In this case, the character being addressed is an unnamed country (but we all know what country it is!). Essentially, it is a breakup song between the narrator and his/her country. Musically, it begins pretty close to a country song but it builds in intensity (musically and vocally) until the drums take over for the bridge and the song's feel changes. It is an interesting song obviously written for dramatic purposes in order to advance a story. Another interesting approach to songwriting from Ray.
  5. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Another track that I really enjoy - I hope that this gets a reissue as it might be the best solo Ray album!
  6. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member


    A good song however it is explicitly clear that Ray is losing his (English) religion.

    A great scene when the traveller is confronted by his wife with his "then new" daughter (remember her), Roth and assorted passengers and people from his life which reminds me of the brilliant use of this device in The Big Fish starring Albert Finney.
    Of course it's all in the mind and conscience as next our headmaster needs a bigger phone to see it is his daughter brushing her hair (and giving daddy a sweet, innocent smile) in the morgue and then a virtual Jane Doe on the slab.

    I don't profess to understand the final scene with the train going through the flag bedecked station with the lone boy but will stick my neck out and be a lonely voice shooting in the dark.

    Is the school boy actually the traveller back at the end of the war?
    Is it around VE day time and the beginning of the end of the British Empire few may have realised?

    In reality I have no solid idea but won't swear in frustration where you hear my French. :hide:
  7. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Expectations is what we didn’t have for this Return to Waterloo project. And look at us now!

    Without the images, it’s a nice song with great lyrics, clearly devised by Ray as a kind of Arthur update for the eighties. The traveler’s a lot of Ray’s heroes wrapped into one. He’s Norman (from Soap Opera), he’s Terry and/or the observer (from Waterloo Sunset) but he’s most certainly Arthur reborn as an eighties working guy, trying to make sense of a world he can’t understand anymore.

    I love the Celtic tones of the music, the march like beat, the worn out sentiment, Ray’s cool bluesy acoustic guitar flourishes (in search for Dave’s Muswell Hillbillies licks…). When the chorus starts, you think it has the potential to soar and build like Rock’n Roll Fantasy or Celluloid Heroes but no, the melody gets aborted because the kid’s expectations won’t be met… It’s far from being the best song on this record, but it’s one of the best example of Ray’s “audio visual” writing for this project. Well, this song and the next, the sublime Return to Waterloo reprise that we’ll talk about, this time tomorrow.
  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I believe that Ray states the boy is the childhood version of the traveller.... perhaps handing back the keys was signifying that he wishes that boy had driven the car in a different direction, or something along those lines.
    markelis, CheshireCat, Zeki and 7 others like this.
  9. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Listening to "Expectations" last night I felt the first couple of verses had a vaguely Muswell-ish feel, certainly felt more 70s than 80s sounding - until we get to the Phil Collins drum part, then we are in the 80s.

    I need to listen to the track some more, but it is quite downbeat, and no redemption at the end, other than to hand the keys off to the kid in the hope that he might make a better fist of it?
  10. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    or something along those train lines, you mean? :p

    This kid is fantastic, isn’t he? Almost as luminous as the one in John Boorman’s Hope & Glory, one of the most beautiful films I’ve seen about England (it starts with the London bombings, a 7 years old kid goes to the country at his grand-father’s house by the riverside, and has his own “village green” experience, with cricket and all). Having watched it when it was released (1986 ? something like that) before getting acquainted to all things Kinks, it’s been on my mind ever since, as I discovered Arthur, Village Green et all, and also when looking at this beautiful sequence, that makes the link between the immediate post-war England and the eighties. If you don’t know it, try catching Hope & Glory, I think it’s a very important film, one that touches on many Ray Davies themes and images, one that’s made me feel close to the British experience in a way that only Ray’s music would better eventually. We’re entering the “wrapping up” part of the movie. The keys to the Empire (and to his own destiny) are handed over to the post war kid, on platforms that were dressed up with Union Jacks, probably for the return of heroic soldiers. But what was left, then, turned out to be quite bleak. And 40 years later, you get a very grim vision of industrial suburbs landscape as you get closer to London. It’s like the difficult post war years and the Thatcher era were connected. I see it as a continuation to what Muswell Hillbillies already hinted at in 1971. In retrospect, it’s almost like the sixties never happened at all. Where are they now ? as the man once sung.

    The metaphor is hammered on the head, but it hits hard nonetheless, the shots and the editing are really remarkable. The intertwined rails remind us that anything could’ve happened then, everything seemed possible. But as Roger Waters said, a lot of our “possible pasts” never happened in the end. (I say “our” because even though I’m not British, I identify as a fellow European – well, ok, perhaps not a fellow European, but you know what I mean!).
    Here’s the ending of the Waters’ song:
    « By the cold and religious, we were taken in hand
    Shown how to feel good and told to feel bad
    Strung out behind us, the banners and flags
    Of our possible pasts lie in tatters and rags

    Uncanny, don’t you think? It’s almost the exact same imagery. It’s crazy how much Return to Waterloo is close to whatever Waters was shooting for, not so much in The Wall but in The Final Cut.
    A requiem to the post war dream, they were both writing, almost at the exact same time.
  11. fspringer

    fspringer Forum Resident

    New York City
    Expectations: A confused song, like so many other "England's going to straight to hell" songs of the 70s and 80s. Maybe it was. Maybe it still is. Maybe it isn't. Every major country always has real problems, from the moment it's born and every moment thereafter. As I pointed out earlier, Ray was born at a strange time in European history, as a major world war ended that left much of Europe in ruins. The next decade and more would be spent rebuilding nations. I would imagine the sheer will of power of the country not to succumb to the Nazi bombardment established a quiet reserve to get things done that spilled over to those years. While it had to be rough on kids - the rationing, reduced social services, and so on - you'll also hear many rockstar stories of having a blast playing in rubble and bombed out buildings.

    I'm not sure if he was referring to this time period as he seems to equate the purity of childhood with this adult belief that his country is now tainted. I suspect he means that the stories he's been told of knights in shining armor, and kings and queens, and the kingdom where the sun never sets ... now leave him cold in the reality of adulthood. But he has lines here where he seems to mourn the loss of the empire? The loss of colonialism that forced an alien culture and heavy taxes on people across the globe who understood none of this? I could surely understand the dissatisfaction with certain aspects of England's political landscape ratcheting up seriously in the Thatcher years (much as they eventually did here in the Reagan years). But I remember asking a friend from London once ... all these movies, respected authors and recording artists with lines about "bloody Thatcher" and making it seem to people in the U.S. like the entire country was against her and her party. Yet, she kept getting elected. How? (No need to answer - I surely get it now!)

    This song feels like it lost out to "Living on a Thine Line" in the "political song on Word of Mouth" challenge. And I'm sure Ray knew it and kept it for the soundtrack. Not a bad song either. Kudos to Fortuleo for the Hope and Glory reference, a movie that Ray most likely wished he had made!
  12. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL

    Mine weren't very high for this album, a soundtrack, disguised as Ray's fist solo album, with only 5 new songs and 3 alleged Kinks songs as repeats? That said, I have been very pleasantly surprised. I should know to never judge an album by its cover, as the saying (sorta) goes (especially if its a Kinks album cover!). Of the non-repeated songs, this so far is my least favorite, but it is still very much top kwality. Nice acoustic intro, catchy lyrics (which might be a prescient warning dating back 30 years from Ray to us Americans if we don't stop our divisive ways). Some interesting instrumentation going on (I have not read others thoughts yet, so perhaps identified already, but I think I hear a recorder or flute?). I love the drum beat in the last 30+/- seconds, in which Ray revisits Strangers territory it seems (if Dave wrote that one alone, guess Ray liked Dave's outro so much he reappropriated it). All in all, great song, makes my playlist, 3.5 or 4 out of 5.

    I hear a lot more Ray in these songs. More theatricality, greater focus on the lyrics (and less emphasis on the guitar heroics, obviously). I am glad Ray is getting to express himself the way he wants. I think diminishing record sales sobered him up and off of this same path which he was going down in the mid to late 70s. For this I am thankful, as we would not have had the Arista years, with there more typical song structures and blazing/blaring (as you choose) guitars. I am thrilled we got some years where the "band" focused on rockin' out and having fun.

    I do see the kick off of Ray's solo career as the logical alternative to taking the whole band down an obscure route (like in the late 70s theatrical style) to which at least some key band members (like Dave) aren't able to contribute much. I say let the Kinks rock and let Ray do some solo stuff where he can be erudite and esoteric and wordy/meandering (what the heck, Dave did it [and flew right off into space with the aliens], why shouldn't Ray tap into his inner weirdness [again]? ...and at this point, Ray had (re)earned the right to demand that of the record company, with the past few years of soaring sales of Kinks albums and Kinks concert tickets. He should be able to follow his artistic intuition, to follow his muse. That's surely at least one of the points behind "going solo" when you are a part of a band. There are other reasons not doubt, and if I have time, I will articulate my thesis on the subject for some upcoming Sunday debate if anyone likes the topic.

    Anyway, its good stuff and I am glad it's out there (and unlike Derek Zoolander, I even listen to it now!).

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    “Expectations”: A song in which the protagonist (The Traveler, perhaps) expresses his disillusion w/the current state of England as compared w/the hopes that he had when he was younger. Musically, to me the most arresting part are the drums which seem to tap out the rhythm of “You Really Got Me.”

    In the movie itself, the song accompanies the scene where we go seemingly into the soup of The Traveler’s subconscious, w/his wife telling their baby daughter that he will betray them, the Headmaster proclaiming that you can go only so far up the ladder of success (which reminds me of the line “there’s no admittance to our play” in “Yes Sir, No Sir”), seeing his daughter sitting on the morgue slab waiting to be hugged by him w/a warm smile and culminating in him giving a set of house keys to his younger self as the train goes through the 1945 station. I’ve always interpreted that as The Traveler giving the keys of his future life to his younger self, who responds w/a look of “is that all that is” disappointment after being so happy when the train is pulling in the station.
  14. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    In response to your first sentence and Return To Waterloo you will find no Avids semi-detached!
  15. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Ah i didn't know that but i figured with his hard earned wisdom he was redirecting the kid to a better future without those snakes and ladders to represent suckcess!
    markelis, Fortuleo, DISKOJOE and 2 others like this.
  16. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    Nice Hope and Glory connection! (stellar movie)
    Same for The Final Cut.
  17. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    I believe there's an error in the lyrics.
    In the last verse, "conscious" should be "conscience."
  18. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Now that @Fortuleo has mentioned cricket and village greens and all things precious of the English past it allows me to make a clunky segue.

    Now you Aussie & British lads will know of Freddie Truman's Test Match Game with the felt field with real ball, bowler and batsmen that has been popular for over 40 years despite slight name changes.

    Well prior to that there was in comparison a non action Test Match Game that I would guesstimate was popular from sometime in the 1960's to the start of the 80"s.
    I hadn't seen a set for sale since I was a teenager in the 80's so imagine my surprise when I spotted one in a toy store 2 months ago!


    The essential difference I recall from when I was a kid is that now it is 6 ball overs instead of 8 and they have dispensed with less used terms for deliveries such as googley unless you are perhaps Ian Chappell.
  19. uncarvedbloke

    uncarvedbloke Forum Resident

    UK - SOT
    Could the first post be updated to let folks know on which page each album starts?
  20. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Mark posts a page with links to each album every Sunday.
  21. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    A post tailor made to confuse the hell out of Americans.
  22. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Well to be honest in that regard I really made no special effort.
  23. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident


    Empire’s come, and empire’s go, but rock ‘n’ roll’s gonna...hmmm...nothing lasts forever. The USA? No. While growing up in a super power, an empire, you do feel as if it could never end. But they all do. The British empire and now, you can see how easily the American empire can slip away. I remember a radio interview Ray gave while promoting The Road. A very astute caller told him of his love for Return to Waterloo and ‘Expectations’, telling Ray he thought him very brave to write that song. Ray gently chided the caller by saying, ‘Yes, I was under constant threats from the CID in London who were raiding my home.’ Then, after a minute of trying to remember the song, he did say he was very proud of both song and film, and then lamenting that the caller (and many others) never saw it and couldn’t track it down on video.
    Maybe this is why Ray turned down Dave’s offer to sing ‘Living on a Thin Line. Ray had this punchy answer up his sleeve. One can imagine Arcade Fire showing up for the bridge, then marching out of the concert hall, with audience in tow (as they do). Yet another great song on a great soundtrack.
  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I had that :)
    Couldn't afford the fancy one with little plastic players lol
    I loved it
    All Down The Line and DISKOJOE like this.
  25. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Every Saturday morning around 5am Central US time I update the links.
    Here is a link to Saturday's links :righton:

    The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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