The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    I can’t help myself needing in to say it’s still Bobby Graham on drums on ‘Tired Of Waiting’… Mick didn’t get to debut on a single A side until ‘Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy’.
  2. pantofis

    pantofis Forum Resident

    Berlin, Germany
    "How Are You"

    To me this is the culmination of the Kinks elegant synth ballad excursions. It almost seems like "Killer's Eyes", "Property" and "Don't Forget To Dance" were dry runs for that song. Then again it seems the Kinks gave up on that pop ballad style after that.
    As for Ray's highly evocative lyrics, I can all to well relate with those awkward meetings where unconsciously you keep on talking about yourself, even though you actually mean to hear something about the person you meet. This aspect of the song also makes me think of some Genesis tracks with the same topic such as "Please don't ask" or "There must be some other way". To express those feelings in a conversation is hard enough and it'll mostly end up leaving an awkward situation. To turn these feelings into a pleasant song is to me one of the most valuable aspects of songwriting.
  3. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    i’ll be curious to read your write up on natural gift. This seems to be one of the rare occasions where our taste has run in different directions. Sure, it’s a clear nod to INXS but I know you like INXS. In any event, I’m looking forward to hearing what makes you dislike that song so much!

    PS remove the k from kinks and you get INKS, which is awful close to INXS and therefore must mean something?
  4. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    "How Are You"

    A bit of a relief after The Kinks Meet The Phantom of the Park style of song that we discussed yesterday. Excellent posts already by everyone today. I was pretty sure this would be a fan favorite around here. Despite the 80s production that has The Kinks sounding like they teamed up with A-Ha, this is a lovely song. Ray even goes for a "Take On Me" falsetto vocal. You could insert 60s or 70s production choices and it would belong on nearly any Kinks album. I may not think it comes close to reaching the heights of "Days", but it has the same type of 80s Kinks magic that is present on songs like "Heart Of Gold". It's another one of the highlights on the album. A better choice for a single, but perhaps a bit slow and too long to make any kind of impact in the charts.
    Ha ha. I agree that it was a bad choice. Side Two would be much better off with this as the lead song.
  5. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident

    I don’t know how you put this theory together, but when I Google ‘Ray Davies Frank Smyth’ I get a Pinterest photo with an uncanny resemblance to the bar patron in the video. I don’t have The Storyteller cd booklet at hand, but I thought Ray had lost track of Mr. Smyth until the mid-nineties, but I’d have to check that later. You may have uncovered something here! Calling all Avids! What do we think?


    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    I do have my Storyteller CD book (autographed, by the way) handy and according to it, Ray got reacquainted w/Mr. Smyth in the late 1970s during a rainy night when he showed up at Ray’s door wet and drunk and proceeded to spend the night swapping stories over a bottle of brandy. So maybe there could be something to Avid Ajsmith’s theory.
  7. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It may have an INXS link, I don't know, I didn't really hear that, but my prime INXS period isn't the internationally celebrated stuff. Shabooh Shoobah and The Swing are peak INXS for me.
    I'm lighthearted in my dismissal of the song, I think. So hopefully nobody will be pissy with me :)
  8. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    I still rent videos (Blu ray and 4K stuff). But, yeah, those video shops were all over the place once. Most of them were illegal and trading in pirate rubbish. I had three young neices then and I remember going into one shop not far from where I lived and asking if he had a copy of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He looked at me and said "The adult version"? He had a lot of videos under the counter.
  9. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident

    Yes, but as Pat Crosbie and Robin James look similar in both face and build (as you can see below), wearing those wigs makes it extremely difficult to tell them apart.

    Patricia Crosbie 1987

    Robin James 1987

    No, both Tony and Big Bob were dead by this time, sadly demised. I can’t recall this gentleman’s name (and he was a gentleman), but he was a fixture from the late ‘80’s on.
    Here’s that photo of Yvonne for posterity. And for any Avid who might not have Rogan’s A Complicated Life. [​IMG]
  10. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    In my possession somewhere in my house I have a tatty edition of a 70s magazine of the paranormal (can’t recall the title) edited by Frank Smyth… I admit I bought this in a thrift shop largely because of the tenuous Kinks connection… tragic or what?
  11. Brian x

    Brian x half-animate bean

    Los Angeles
    great post in general & agreed with this sentiment . just beautiful; I wish I'd had it to play after every breakup. RD's voice so raw and vulnerable & true.
  12. TeddyB

    TeddyB Senior Member

    It’s not. At least one is about Ellen Bernstein.
  13. Paul Mazz

    Paul Mazz Forum Resident

    How Are You?

    I’m pressed for time. Weird that I seem to have less “free” time on vacation than when I’m working. Fortunately the odds are zero that my employer will ever see this post:p. I just wanted to chime in to say that this is one of the great discoveries for me on this album. I agree with those fans of this song who were so eloquent in their praise - especially @ARL @Fortuleo @pyrrhicvictory and @donstemple. I missed a line or two of the lyrics the first couple of times I listened, and thought the song was in the form of a letter, which it’s clearly not. Some modifications and it could have worked that way too. It’s great that it works as a song about running into an ex lover, or as Ray had said an old friend - that wistful feeling of what might have been, if only…..
  14. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    I hear they put Dopey up to it!
    Zeki, Steve62, DISKOJOE and 3 others like this.

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    I think it was more like Sleazy :laugh:
  16. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly 1964-73 rock's best decade

    How Are You
    This is probably my favorite song on the album thus far, though the bar has not been set too high with the fairly average songs that have come before it. I like the opening guitar. There are enough nice musical touches to keep it interesting. The reviewer who called it a "well crafted song" was quite correct. It isn't in the class of the best stuff from the Kinks, but it at least sounds good enough so that one can feel they are getting something worthy of the band that made all those great songs.
    Wondergirl, Zeki, Steve62 and 12 others like this.
  17. rfs

    rfs Forum Resident

    Lansing, MI USA
    Late again, but there are 3 different EP collections that I know of.

    I have "The EP Collection", which came out in 1998 on Essential Records (ESF CD 667), which is a box set of 10 CDs, one for each Pye UK EP. There are two other CDs on See For Miles Records, The EP Collection and The EP Collection Vol. 2 that are unrelated to mine.

    I don't think that there is any unreleased material on these EP collections however.
  18. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    I don't know of her particularly but I have always been of the view that not every song was inspired by his wife.
    DISKOJOE, mark winstanley and TeddyB like this.
  19. CheshireCat

    CheshireCat Forum Resident

    How Are You
    It's another good song, bringing the album back on track. Ray weaves a conversation, between two friends who have lost touch, so the manager story fits well enough with me. The lyrics are a bit too distant to be ex-lovers to me. Can't even remember how long it's been, and a year or so isn't that long anyway! 'It's been a while, I haven't seen you for at least a year or more, or is it less? I can't be sure...' Of course the 'singer' had to make it about themselves quite quickly - this friends is of secondary importance! 'you must have heard about the troubles that I had, but somehow I got through I always managed to... and by the way, How are you?' The 'singer then at least tries to make an effort with this lost friend (of sorts). Actually, they're no longer friends at all.

    A well constructed song, and as is usually the case, far in excess of the standard The Kinks contemporaries were still managing by 1986. Despite being a [not so massive) UK chart entry at 86, I'm not convinced it was the best choice for the first single. But there again, I'm not sure what would have been - maybe Dave's song on the album (but not the one the US got). Of course in my head, all these UK singles would have been great chart successes, but I'm sadly not the arbiter of the UK music purchasers...
  20. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Think Visual.

    stereo mix, recorded Jun-Jul 1986 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    Productivity is getting higher and higher oh, oh, yeh
    But profitability is getting tighter and tighter oh, oh, yeh
    When you see our face in the market place we gotta clean cut image to keep
    (The competition is getting tighter and tighter)
    We gotta advertise, we gotta merchandise, ooh, oh, yeh

    Flash those teeth
    Competition's on the rise
    Open those eyes better get computerised
    Think visual, think visual, think visual

    Think visual, think visual, show your personality
    Marketing says we gotta merchandise
    But economy says we gotta minimise huh -

    We gotta budget to face and the marketplace is full of competition, competition
    Think digital, synthisise, computerise, think visual
    Productivity, marketability, higher and higher

    Flash those teeth, open those eyes
    Think visual, think visual

    Flash those teeth, competitions on the rise
    Open those eyes, better get computerised
    Think visual, think visual, think visual

    Think visual, think visual, push the button and see
    Marketing say we gotta goal to chase
    But economy says we gotta budget to face

    Get your attitude straight, 'Cos it's all in your mind
    And it's never too late to get a new design
    And if you wanna compete you gotta visualise
    Flash those teeth, come on open those eyes
    Think visual

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

    This has been a hard one for me to digest ... I don't hate it, but I have found it a little ..... odd, and uncomfortable.
    It kind of sounds like some kind of hybrid of Devo meets Talking Heads or something, but slightly less synth driven....

    There's this hectic feeling about it, and I'm not sure I connect with it partially because of that..... but.

    This seems like a follow on from the Working At The Factory idea.... we have accepted that music has become a production line at this stage, and here we have the next step in the devaluation of music.

    This song is somewhat about the aesthetic of presentation, in a commercial sales sense, in an overpopulated market....

    The key to this is kind of the opening. We have high productivity, but the profit margins aren't as good as we'd like. Commodity based music ... not artistic exploration.... but not only that....

    We sort of get asked the question, "Does our product stand out on the shelves?" and "If so, does it stick with who we are?"... The competition is tighter than ever, and so we need to make sure we advertise and merchandise in the correct manner to get maximum returns...

    Of course this is all anti-music in the way it works... Certainly there are artists that can pump out quality product, and it has enough substance to satisfy the music listener. It is deep enough to be beyond being completely vacuous, but shallow enough to engage Joe and Jane Blow...

    Flash those teeth is a really interesting way of looking at it. I remember seeing some article about how important teeth were on album covers and some weirdness... I can't remember the logic of it, but this would have been in the eighties, and the idea was somewhat that teeth on the cover of an album were a good thing... and it made me envisage a pair of dentures on an album cover, but that wasn't the gist of the article ... and I wish I could remember what the gist was... perhaps one of our more well read threadites/avids/kinky partners can remember the gist of it, or perhaps any folks with psych degrees may have knowledge of what it likely was.... anyway, rabbit trail alert there lol

    Then we get lost in this matrix of digitise, computerise, marketability, productivity, and I think that's the point here lyrically.... It is sort of a can't see the forest for the trees scenario, where the mentality is so caught up in commercial success, and ways to achieve it, that the idea of making a great song has gone by the wayside....

    It is like Ray is kicking out at the idea of having to write in a certain formula, and present in a certain manner in order to compete with the new breed, who are full of enthusiasm, because the industry hasn't tamed them yet. Ray was never really tamed, but he was certainly somewhat trapped by the requirements of the marketplace in a post seventies music world where commercial viability was now on top of the agenda for record companies, as they had been bought out by non-music companies, who wanted to see profits and not art.

    Then essentially we get a stream of teeth flashing and marketing speak.... and I think it sets the tone for the idea well..... It reinforces a certain monotony in the process that dulls the enthusiasm of the artist, but makes the marketers happy....

    I suppose the huge irony here is that the album cover is not really reflecting the theme being put forth in the title track.... as I say I don't particularly dislike it, but it isn't particularly eye catching, and even when it does catch the eye, it isn't really in the way that something you would lust for does....
    Perhaps this was just another of Ray's ..... sort of kick out at the industry type things.... Don't give the record company what they want?
    Instead of a flowery summer dress, we have a grey smock ....

    We open with a defiant acoustic guitar, trying to slash its way into the picture. then a somewhat robotic beat comes in with the bass and drums and the acoustic disappears into the annals of history lol....
    Then we get this crisp, distorted electric guitar come in, and it has this staccato stabbing feel, and I could imagine David Byrne coming in at that point with some odd vocalisation and random unusual lyrics.
    But then we move to this fairly standard chord setup. with held power chords in contrast to the previous staccato opening.

    The energy level is quite high with the rhythm track being pretty engaging, but a little too monotonous for me.... and that is probably the point.
    Then we get the vocal and some layered vocals.... that have some call and response elements, and some backing vocal ooo ooo's and such.

    The chorus comes in with a bit of a change of feel, and a sort of broadway-esque styling, and then we sort of abruptly change it up again.

    Listening more closely, I kind of get a Devo meets Talking Heads vibe, but it's like they are trying to play a gospel rock song, in a disjointed eighties synth pop way.....
    I think I can listen to this now, but prior to looking at this closely, this would have been as close to a skip track as I get really.

    I appreciate what Ray is saying here, and how he goes about saying it, but the song itself seems almost too confused in its presentation ... There's a sort of kitchen sink approach to it, that is on the cusp of just not working.... and I'm sure many are going to say it isn't on the cusp, it just doesn't work.... but I think I've cracked this one enough to roll with it.....

    Still probably my least favourite on the album, at this stage at least, but I think I can appreciate what Ray was trying to do here now at least.

  21. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    "Think Visual"

    As I've mentioned before, I owned this album eight years before State of Confusion, so while this one may sound like a rip-off of "Definite Maybe", to me that riff is owned by "Think Visual", and used much more effectively. "Definite Maybe" just sounds sluggish by comparison.

    I love this track, from the opening acoustic flourish onwards. We are almost back in the Moneygoround here, especially in that "show your personality" chorus, where we get a few fleeting seconds of "vaudeville Ray" back again. I like the way that the bass sits on one note during the intro and verse, and then goes into that wrenching alternating octave line during the pre-chorus. I like the way Dave's scratchy guitar plays around the riff. I like the conceit of the lyrics, and Ray's delivery is fantastic here. It's sharp, sardonic and amusing, and doesn't stick around a second longer than it has to. Perhaps this track more than any other illustrates the difference between this album and the Arista period - there are some hard rock riffs in here, but it doesn't come across as heavy at all. It's lightweight, agile and compact. It's perhaps the most "new wave" track on the album, but sounds natural rather than a contrived attempt to be so.

    This is my second favourite track on the album, and coming after "How Are You" it makes up a one-two punch that the rest of the album struggles to live up to, but it all works out fine.
  22. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    "Think Visual" is really something a bit different from the Kinks in some ways. Here, melody is placed on the back burner in favour of a driving riff song with an almost spoken vocal. Probably the most effective part to me is the use of the chord changes that add some drama to the proceedings (first heard at the 0:26 mark). I love the chords (Bob Dylan used similar chords in his 2001 song "Honest With Me"). Otherwise, the song is propelled by a revved-up funk riff - not particularly interesting musically - but this song is driven by Ray's vocal with his voice front and centre. I think the lyric captures the zeitgeist of the time as politicians emphasized cutting back (taxes and, subsequently, services) and urged self reliance. Think visual, as an idea, makes a lot of sense coming from the pen of Ray Davies in 1986. The 1980s saw the music video explosion. MTV was playing music videos 24/7 and local video shows popped up all over the airwaves. Heck, Ray even made a video (were there any other Kinks in the "How Are You" video?) where he shared billing with a dog! Of course, if you're Ray, you had to think visual. Besides, image always mattered in rock n roll. I find "Think Visual" an interesting kuriosity in the Kinks katalogue.
  23. fspringer

    fspringer Forum Resident

    New York City
    Think Visual: The title track of an album usually means one of the better songs on the album. The band named the album after this song: it must be good, the driving, creative force of where they are now. I guess bonus points are to be rewarded here for trying something a bit different, but this was such a letdown in real time, and I'm not feeling a Ram-style reappraisal coming on any time soon. And this late in the album? I imagine there are title tracks that close some albums (as one also expects the closing track to be something special), but burying the title track in the second side? It just underlined how unsatisfied I felt with the overall album. Disjointed. From an 80s perspective, this wasn't as irritating as something like "The Heat Is On" or "Hip to Be Square" - but a tip of the cap to those songs, at least they were hits. Mark, you remember "Shakedown" from the Seger thread ... roughly the same vibe here. On the plus side, this song sounds more organic and less esoteric/of the time than those songs. But that's damn faint praise on my part, given those songs will send me screaming from the room.
  24. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    This groove reminds me of something, I can’t put exactly my finger on it. In addition to the references already posted, I think there’s a bit of Pete Townshend’s Face the Face (a song I absolutely adore), I think. And the bass line has a bit of McCartney’s Angry somewhere, a song that I don’t particularly like but one, incidentally, with Townshend on guitar… In the timeframe, we’re close too : 1985, 1986, 1986. Maybe I’m onto something ?

    Now does it mean Think Visual reminds me of Townshend ? A little bit, yeah, down to the opening mock flamenco acoustic guitar. The groove’s tight, at least we think it is for a while, before the song gets almost bonkers, all over the place with bits of music-hall being cut short by a disjointed electro chorus. This is a very weird song, one of the weirdest in the catalogue but with yet another rant against the powers that be in the music industry, which keeps us in a comfort zone and adds up to seven out of seven songs so far that are updates of older Kinks tunes (we’re bordering on a concept!).Like @Mark, I'll admit I’ve never fully cracked the code of this one, it has a way of sabotaging itself in terms of groove and melody that baffles me. But it probably suits the lyrics. The singer tries to make sense of the new market rules but all the slogans and injunctions that come his way are like interferences, and he doesn’t know what to think (sing) anymore. And when he tries to get back to his old self (the barroom piano and melodic break) he doesn’t get very far… We’re past 1984, now, and the robotic deshumanisation is well underway. With just a little less weirdness (that reminds some cubistic Arthur songs like Mr Churchill Says, only less successful), this probably could’ve been a great commercial single. A rare case of a Kinks song being more interesting than satisfying in my opinion.
  25. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I reckon that is a really good description of how I feel about it

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