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

    lol, well I guess that's debatable, but I certainly understand what you mean :)
  2. donstemple

    donstemple Forum Resident

    Maplewood, NJ
    Waterloo Sunset - easily a top 10 song of all time for me. All the superlatives that you all have laid onto it barely even scratch the surface. Listening to tbe instrumental backing track, I think @FJFP describes my thoughts extremely well here:

    I absolutely love backing tracks like this, and listen to the Pet Sounds backing tracks more often than I care to admit. @FJFP is right, there are so many things in the backing track to WS that add to the color and texture of this. But, as I think others have mentioned, it’s *still* a rather sparse arrangement. No strings, no accordions, no oboes, no saxophones. Ray was able to make his own Pet Sounds with 2 guitars, a bass, a piano and drums (plus the angelic backing vocals). Am I missing anything? What stuck out to me is Dave’s lead guitar part. I’m not sure I have ever heard a guitar sound quite like that anywhere else. It’s just… perfect. I love how it plays the main melody line at the intro, then takes a bit of a back seat and does a similar but muted almost-countermelody during Ray’s vocal, but then lifts back up after Ray’s vocal phrase ends.

    and then yeah, never realized how heavy that guitar tone was during “every night I look at the world…” part.

    A few other random thoughts:
    -the theme of friends and crossing the River. The main theme of “see my friends” is brought back to Waterloo Sunset.
    -the lyrical story is brilliant. @mark winstanley ’s posts described many lines, and I apologize if others have mentioned this, but what I find wonderful is the arc of the story in this way: first verse is isolation, just watching the dirty river and taxi lights. second verse pulls it back, and highlights just these 2 people. In my opinion, the narrator has made up these names because how would he really know? he’s pretending he knows them because he’s watched them meet up every Friday night. Third verse pulls back even more, it’s not just 2 people, but millions, before
    returning to just Terry and Julie. There’s an entire world out there, but the narrator sees no need to wander out. His imagination is enough.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
  3. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Yes Mark I do hope we go to one song a day so people can keep up without work suffering and the quality of posts slipping or just being abandoned though unwillingly.
  4. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    How right you are ! And it's not even the only "Lavender" song related to Waterloo Sunset. Let's not forget the fantastic Lavender Lane, a Muswell Hillbillies outtake that recycles the WS melody in a country meets Mungo Jerry meets New-Orleans brass band arrangement. The result is quite spectacular. Funnily enough, it almost sounds like Waterloo Sunset's and Act Nice and Gentle's bastard musical child, the two single sides combined into one, with one spray of Lavender perfume on top of it.
  5. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    I concur. This past week has been fantastic, but there are pieces of my brain all over my living room that I'm still trying to clean up. :laugh: This next album and my fave, VGPS, are coming up and each song deserves a steady spotlight daily. Maybe at some point we can return to two a day, when/if others deem it necessary. But whatever most people want to do, I'm cool with.

    Mark, you do yeoman's work and I, for one, appreciate your diligent work on this thread. :love:
  6. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Lyrically, this is really sad. But it reflects what was happening. Tear down the old neighborhood and relocate the populace into new housing estates. The rather jaunty tune is in sharp contrast to the lyrics (which I gradually was drawn into).
  7. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Excellent Post!

    Waterloo Sunset

    I have been putting off attempting to write about this song for more than 24 hours as I know I can't do it justice so to feel less guilty I tried to pretend it didn't mean as much to me as it did!

    Not trying to steal anyone's words or ideas up thread but I just need to ramble for now.
    We have a great descending bass line, yet again employing chromatic note intervals ala Sunny Afternoon & Dead End Street.
    Beautiful and emotive backing vocals that sound ethereal as far as Rasa is concerned.
    Dave sharply playing the single string melodies with tasteful pause & restraint throughout.
    Ray iam happy to learn highly praised Dave's contribution stating the song would not be what it is without his brothers part.
    The paradox is that whilst we could say there is a lot of things going on the mix is quite sparse and I think betrays Ray's vision to get WS exactly right as it was so close & special to him.
    Ray has downplayed his vocal (was this the cut where he had a cold) but it is plaintive, direct & gentle, conveying beauty in it's solitude.
    I don't think the narrator is so much lonely as he is a loner.
    I do think that for Ray "crossing" a bridge lyrically is about losing something, even if there it is literally only Terry & Julie until next Friday?
    Thinking about Ray Davies i think of his inner retreat into songwriting as against the popular grain storytelling and though he is hot wholly or specifically writing about himself i feel in some songs he gives more away than others.
    One example is as in Waterloo Sunset and it's importance to him and his obsessiveness about creating it perfectly having already incubated and nurtured it's conception some time before.

    I would have first heard it as a kid on the radio and very possibly knew of its title first without being able to place the tune though that alone sounded classic.
    Having heard it i couldn't comprehend how it was conceived but i knew i could never have enough of it and would look forward to the next play.
    Forty years later i am still looking forward to my next listen with keen anticipation to be once again drawn into Ray's perfect quiet little world of captivating introspection and lush melody.
    Yes, yes, yes it is their greatest song & God bless the Kinks & Ray Davies!

    DISKOJOE Forum Resident

    Salem, MA
    Steve 62 said: "If you know anyone who hates this song ("Waterloo Sunset"), run far away from them."

    Like Dave Marsh?

    "There are two ways to think about Ray Davies' original "Louie, Louie" rewrite. Many rock fans adore it and thank Davies nightly for providing the song that not only sustained The World's Trashiest Riff but also provided Eddie Van Halen his first great throb-metal vehicle. And then there are those who would think of "You Really Got Me" as a vulgar aberration and adore Ray Davies for his latter day mopey, like "David Watts" and "Waterloo Sunset". By now you know why this is why [YRGM] is the one that landed here, while the Anglo-wimpy stuff lies on the cutting room floor."

    Dave Marsh, "#597, You Really Got Me" in The Heart of Rock and Soul, The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made, (Plume, 1989), pp. 391-392
  9. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Don’t mean to blow your mind here, Dave, but … it is possible to enjoy both sounds. The ‘no artifice, I’m only interested in pure unpretentious rock and roll’ bedroom posturing of that book and Marsh’s music view in general gets old fast.
  10. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I was very surprised when the vote wanted to stay at two songs a day ... I sort of expected the vote to want to move on to one song a day, except for things like BBC tracks and such.... and we have rolled with two songs a day, as the majority wanted, but I think I am going to cut us down to one song a day. We have people falling behind because there is so much depth in these songs, and trying to just fit thoughts, and most importantly feelings, into a quick little two line post isn't doing the songs or the participants here justice.
    When we started I said we would do two songs a day, essentially, merely to get to the heart of the band, which really starts to beat when the covers are moved somewhat out of the way ... not that I think they have little value or anything like that, just that they are the sound of a band finding themselves, and a writer coming to terms with how he writes ..... The intention was always to move to one song a day, and I think in light of folks being busy, and having to somewhat rush out posts to keep up, we will do that. there will be instances where there will be two songs a day at times (probably, I try and go by feel more than anything) but for now we will move to looking at one song per day.
    I hope that folks won't be annoyed..... I know it seems like a big investment of time to put into this, but sometimes it is better to walk a country lane, than race down it in a sports car... in fact it normally is lol

    I think we put something like two or two and half years into the Elvis Presley threads, and although it was over such a long period of time, I think everybody that was involved got more out of it than they initially imagined, I know that I did...... Particularly over the next several albums, I think that focus could really be a tonic for us all....

    Anyway, like I say, I hope nobody is annoyed .... and from my experience, as an old fart these days, time just seems to race by faster and faster each day, so we'll be finished before we know it anyway
  11. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    So essentially, Dave Marsh is a prat lol
    CheshireCat, FJFP and Wondergirl like this.
  12. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Cheers mate
    Wondergirl likes this.
  13. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I just might be the only forum member that likes Dave Marsh’s writing. There’s a gazillion forum members that make jaw-dropping (to me) statements with the difference being that nobody remembers after a day or two. I have an Ignored Backbench of twenty people that , if I bother to look at the names, I can’t for the life of me recall why they’re there! :D (The Floyd threads make Marsh, to use his phrase, look like a wimp.)
  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I have never paid much attention to critics really, and I wouldn't know what any of them say about much really ... my statement was purely based on that particular quote :)

    I have said some really stupid things over the years and would hate them all to be thrown in my face lol
  15. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I don’t quite get this on its surface. The lyrics don’t seem that soul baring but I guess it gathered together some intensely held feelings and presented it to the world. From Ray’s perspective, as the writer, it evidently was a wrenching decision.
  16. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Leeds, UK
    I'm abstaining from commenting on "Waterloo Sunset" as so much has been written about it already, by people who can put their fingers on its greatness far better than me. It is definitely one of their crowning moments of glory, though not my very favourite Kinks song, which we'll be coming to soon enough.

    "Act Nice and Gentle" is a rare underwhelming moment on the otherwise dazzling Something Else expanded edition tracks. It's just sort of there.
  17. Adam9

    Adam9 Senior Member

    I have this in a songbook of a bunch of Kinks songs. It's funny it's in E flat while the record is in E. Maybe it's just because E flat is more of a piano key.

    I like Marsh's writing as well. That book, The Heart of Rock and Soul, The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made, is really more a collection of essays and is pretty good reading. I remember reading something where Marsh admitted he gets lost outside the mainstream. So maybe as an American, since "Waterloo Sunset" was not mainstream in the U.S.A., he could relate more to "You Really Got Me" and "All Day and All of the Night". Those are great songs too and can be taken seriously too, like Leonard Bernstein did in a lecture on music which video I think was posted here.
    Anyway, Marsh didn't say he didn't like "Waterloo Sunset", just called it mopery. I have a friend who nicknames Ron Sexsmith "Mr. Mopes", but she likes his songs.
  18. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It's funny writing songs ... some songs that are so close to your heart, and mean so much to you personally, are often completely missed by others, and just seen as a collection of words. Often that collection of words has an almost intentionally cryptic message that only you can fully decipher .... often writing really feels like walking into public naked, and you feel like everyone might see a part of you that you really would prefer them not to.... but you have no choice but to lay it bare, because that's what you do.

    It came up earlier in the thread, about Ray predominantly writing character songs, that weren't really about him..... Up until we started doing this thread there were only a few Kinks songs that I had really paid a lot of attention to the words for ... it's not that I didn't necessarily know them, but I had never read them on the page, or sat and looked into them deeply as to what the point may be ... I think Ray reveals an awful lot about himself in some songs, not all, and even the songs that are obviously not about him reveal the way he sometimes thinks about things ... it's a really interesting study
  19. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    I have to admit I don’t get the impression that he did like WS or the more subtle later Kinks stuff much, what with the ‘Anglo-wimp’ bit and the ‘vulgar abberation’ line strongly suggesting, if not outright stating, that fans of the later stuff are effete Ivory tower dwelling namby pamby types unable to get down with the real rock and roll like Dave and the cool kids.

    I also have to admit I read that book over 20 years ago as a young somewhat monomaniac Kinks fan, and was dissappointed that that was the extent of the Kinks coverage contained therein, so I’m probably not the best judge of its content or the worth of Marsh’s writing in general, only that that kind of ‘trust me, the Kinks can be boiled down to the first two hits’ bit has always turned me off him.
  20. Martyj

    Martyj I come for the regatta, I stay for the arm sweat

    Maryland, USA
    I have to confess, I don't know #16 A Change is Gonna Come...and I even own a Sam Cooke Greatest Hits, which doesn't include this number.
    croquetlawns and mark winstanley like this.
  21. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Dearborn, MI
    I'm cool with dropping to 1 song a day if that is what Mark decides. We have a long way to go either way and I'm in it till the end.

    "Waterloo Sunset" - This song is just a hands down classic for the ages. No argument to the contrary should be entertained. What a perfect record and song. I love that crunchy Dave guitar that suddenly pops out on the wonderful Anthology instrumental that @FJFP mentioned. It was never that prominent before. Viewing the sunset results in peace and comfort, and like "Village Green," he does a fantastic job painting this picture and communicating the feel in both words and music. I simply don't get sick of this song and it makes you feel good wherever you are. Us lonely folks can find much comfort in this track.

    "Act Nice and Gentle" - This is just simply a fun and catchy song. The hook in the lyrics is as strong as the hook in the bass and guitar riff. It sounds real fun to play. If I didn't know the name of the song, I'd think he's singing "act nice and jealous." It really sounds like there's an "s" on the end there. Maybe it's just me but I can't not hear it. Not sure what else to say, 'cept very enjoyable. You can have "Come on baby, hold my hand. Come on baby, understand" in your head all day.
  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It is definitely worth a listen. Even if you don't know Sam's version, I would be very surprised if you hadn't heard somebody's version of it. Definitely a great song..... but I don't number greatness, I just enjoy it.
  23. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Google “Sam Cooke a”. That’s all you need and it comes up. That it isn’t on a greatest hits is an astounding omission.
  24. Martyj

    Martyj I come for the regatta, I stay for the arm sweat

    Maryland, USA
    That's a good idea to play loose with your approach and base it off of songs that are most likely to illicit more comments. Certainly for the first three LP's and early singles and b-sides 2-a-day, for the most part, were the right call. I would suggest moving forward until at least post Muswell Hillbilly that everything can be one a day, excepting--like you said-- when we get into the weeds of alternate takes or live versions. After that, unless it's a real standout tracks like "Celluloid Heroes" or "Living on a Thin Line" you can probably get by with two-a-day for the rest of the thread. That's just my hunch. But I, like probably the rest of us participating, will respect whatever you decide. You are doing a great job.

    DISKOJOE Forum Resident

    Salem, MA
    My advice to you is to get the 1986 compilation The Man and His Music, which not only has "A Change Is Gonna Come", but has some of the gospel songs that he wrote.

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