The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Sorry I misunderstood. But on your point I also don't see why Ray would use a song to make a subtle dig at the Beatles, and so subtle that no-one noticed it, when he had earlier publicly slagged off Revolver when invited by a music magazine to review the album. It's hard to say how much of his review was tongue-in-cheek, but he rubbished Yellow Submarine, And Your Bird Can Sing and Eleanor Rigby and had only faint praise for much of the rest.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2021
  2. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    No Return
    I agree with others that this is a very good album track which is perfectly placed in the running order. It is a bossa nova - Wondergirl might have more info on this, but I'm pretty sure Astrud Gilberto's step-daughter, Bebel Gilberto, covered No Return on a Mojo magazine CD dedicated to The Kinks. [correction: it was the This Is Where I Belong compilation). I recall Ray being quoted as being thrilled she did because he had Astrud in mind when he wrote it (it's many years since I read that so the exact words would be different). While the bossa nova style is totally different to Western pop-rock music it does have its place. I find this style carries a quiet beauty - the surprise is that Ray carries it off so well on his first attempt.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2021
  3. FJFP

    FJFP Host for the 'Mixology' Mix Differences Podcast

    You might want to check that song title...
     
    Wondergirl and mark winstanley like this.
  4. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "No Return"

    This is a fine album track at this point in the running order, a gentle jazzy bossa nova with a chord sequence that is all over the place and a fatalistic lyric. It's a track that has a lot of charm about it, and certainly doesn't sound like filler to me. A nice moment to pause before the next track changes the atmosphere completely.
     
  5. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Location:
    Maplewood, NJ
    Ironically that was a reply…
     
    warren, FJFP, ajsmith and 1 other person like this.
  6. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Thanks. Reply was top of my mind as I was writing my reply.
     
    warren, Wondergirl, FJFP and 2 others like this.
  7. Adam9

    Adam9 Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Bebel Gilberto's rendition of "No Return".
     
  8. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    No Return
    Even as a massive jazz fan, I was never big on bossa Nova, but here yet again we have the Kinks taking on a genre they should have no business taking on, and making it work quite nicely. And the acoustic work is just delightful.
     
  9. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    "No Return" was indeed covered by Bebel Gilberto in the Ryko This Is Where I Belong compilation. It also appeared the MOJO CD The Modern Genius of Ray Davies by Yo La Tengo. MOJO also put out a CD of covers of the whole of Something Else in its March 2017 issue & "No Return" was covered by Boogarjrs.

    Again, a lot of great comments about the song itself. A very laid back summery type of song w/thought provoking lyrics
     
  10. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    “Mood modifier”, “transitional”, “Interlude” (if I dare quote myself), "pause", whatever, of course all of the above are accurate depictions of No Return. Because this is obviously the way the song is presented to us. But… there’s more to it. Beyond the teenage infatuation/sex/one night stand 1964/1965 numbers, Ray just never writes love songs in the sixties, except for the likes of Something Better Beginning, I'll Remember and maybe This Is Where I Belong, all of which are extremely unusual attempts at the genre, to say the least…
    And whenever he does write some (Tell Me Now So I’ll Know, This I Know, Till Death Do Us Part, Pictures in the Sand), he keeps them unreleased ! Even beyond the sixties, he'll almost never write in that style. There might be exceptions in the “concept albums” era, but they’d be “in character”. As it'll turn out, he'll become a master at writing "lost love songs" (Days, How Are You ?) but as @Mark explained, in the "what if" scenario of No Return, love is not (yet ?) lost. So this tune is really a rarity, almost an anomaly, and may be the closest Ray Davies will ever come to write a bona fide love song. As such, it's not to be taken too lightly, I think.
     
  11. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    No Return:
    I enjoy your scene-setting descriptions. Now I’ll always be visualizing a guests on a patio overlooking the sea (somehow this song reminds me of the rhythmic sound of waves washing up on a beach).

    yes

    I already went on record saying I have included the first six songs on my playlist so that indicates my position on this song. This has a level of sophistication in a polished, non-Kinksian fashion. (When did Girl From Ipanema come out? A few years earlier, I think. Ray’s song is more in that vein.)
     
  12. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    No Return

    A gorgeous bossa nova. Thsi is the only Kinks song in my digital collection where, when I'm playing the collection on random shuffle, I can't tell from the intro if I'm listening to the Kinks or Jake Thackray. Beautiful fingerpicking. This is not a lesser song for me in any way, shape or form.
    At this point we have had four very different songs, all of them wonderful, and all of them complimenting each other. And the glorious run isn't over yet.

    That Ray Davies review of Revolver wasn't that bad, was it? It was important for him to not give the impression that we was grovelling or genuflecting too much, when he knew he was himself operating at a similar level. The mag stitched him up by highlighting his dismissal of "Yellow Submarine" as the headline as if it was his verdict of the whole LP.
     
  13. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    We see that tactic (in the form of thread titles) here on the Forum all the time. Designed to wreak havoc.
     
  14. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Location:
    Maplewood, NJ
    No Return

    This is another one of those tracks that I had to listen closely while reading the lyrics to really "get". When I first listened to this album, it was difficult for me to understand the lyrics as I felt they were a bit buried under the *beautiful* guitar and bossa nova beat. I heard it as basically just beautiful background music. "Interlude" has been used plenty, and that is 100% accurate.

    But now focusing on the lyrics, I compare the lyrical theme of this to "God Only Knows".

    If, if I could see
    Just how lonely my life would be
    If you passed me by and said farewell
    And there is no return

    Stars would shine no more
    I would walk up and down this lonely room
    I would have friends, but be alone
    For there is no return
    This basically tells the same tale as: "If you should ever leave me, though life would still on believe me, the world could show nothing to me, so what good would living do me?"

    But it does so with a Ray Davies trademark of again mentioning having "friends" for the "life would still on, believe me" sentiment.

    It's a love song, but wondering what if she left...
     
  15. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    "The Girl From Ipanema" came out around 1963, setting off the Bossa Nova craze of the 60s, of which "No Return" was a part of.

    The recent comments of how Ray couldn't write a straightforward love song & also the mention of "God Only Knows", reminds me of what I think was the Beach Boys song that most resembles the Kinks, "The Warmth of the Sun", but I should hold off until we get to "Lazy Old Sun".
     
  16. SeeDubs

    SeeDubs Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Not that he needs any encouragement to use Kinks tracks in his work, but "No Return" really puts me in the mood of a Wes Anderson movie.
     
  17. Toad of the Short Forest

    Toad of the Short Forest Forum Resident

    Location:
    90220 Compton
    I can definitely see that. I remember a while ago on here someone posted an article containing Ray's contemporaneous ranking of the tracks on Revolver and he wasn't too kind...

    Love that reversed countdown too. It almost seems to make fun of all the psychedelia (and particularly The Beatles to keep with that theme)... imagine hearing that reversed intro and expecting something like Piper at the Gates of Dawn and then getting a relatively straight pop track instead. Brilliant.
     
  18. Toad of the Short Forest

    Toad of the Short Forest Forum Resident

    Location:
    90220 Compton
    I love "No Return." I love all of the tracks on this album, of course, and I'd say it is without a doubt the weakest track but it's still really great and I'd miss it if it weren't there.

    The chord progressions are really weird on there... Ray (and Dave's) chord choices 66-69 or so are really inventive. Whereas most bands would use maybe one or two per verse, the Kinks seemed to cram in about five or six and it always worked.

    Like "End of the Season" there's a lot of chromaticism, but not just in the simple sense of moving down a note like on "Lazy Old Sun."
     
  19. Aftermath

    Aftermath Senior Member

    Two Sisters
    I love the lyrics on this one. The frying pan, washing machine, etc. literally as empty spaces and figuratively as symbols of emptiness. Staring into them. The drudgery of marriage. Subject matter such as this helped set the Kinks apart from their peers at the time.

    No Return
    Hearing this really made me smile upon first hearing it, because the musical diversity of the album suddenly came into sharp focus. The album is a bit like Revolver in that respect. Love the Bossa Nova feel. Sounds like a good one to listen to on the patio around sunset, and it provides a nice lighthearted contrast to the two preceding songs.
     
  20. Orino

    Orino Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Took a while to sink in this one. Even more so than 'Two Sisters'. Another good example of a "long" melodic line, which can be perplexing on a casual listen. You wonder where it's going, it snakes around, and even the lyric stanzas are oddly broken. But a vital piece in the texture of the album (as in, you'd have to replace it with something similarly unusual). The first ten or so listens, it was a song I waited to pass by.. not anymore. Now it envelops me in its mellow, thoughtful embrace, a welcome internal monologue on companionship after three 'external' narratives in a row.

    As for Bossa Nova, it's supposedly the flashier cousin to the rootsier Samba, like rock n roll to R'n'B. (Was I reading about Latin music somewhere recently?). It later became a byword for naffness, a muzak joke for lifts, waiting rooms and idiotic presets on home keyboards. But stuff the squares and the hipsters, I say, if you cannot unironically dig on Getz/Gilberto, or ultimately appreciate the beauty of "No Return", that's your loss..

    I think Mark nails it yet again, when this album (as here) offers one of its puzzlingly hazy reveries, it's never about drifting away on a giant purple mushroom, just letting anything happen, man. It's always about a deeper sense of contemplation, not just blowing out your mind but blowing it in.

    So Ray called it filler.. I think like many artists at their height, Ray can't in good conscience produce anything really stinky at this point. His melodic and lyrical sensibility is just too acute and like others said, he could have bashed out a basic grinding rocker if he'd really just been marking time. I won't claim everything from the Kinks kurrent era is 'genius', but if you listen with care and patience there seems to be innate quality across the board at the moment..
     
  21. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    "No Return"

    I'm happy to see that many are giving this a positive review. I feel like this is a lost or underappreciated song. Being only two minutes and a light song it gets a bit lost in the shuffle of great Kinks songs. There was a weakest link thread for this album a couple years ago and this song was eliminated in the first round. I was a bit shocked by that one. I don't understand how it's weak or could be considered filler material. Ray was most likely aware that many fans regarded it as filler so he was just going with the popular opinion when he introduced the song. I think it's as lovely as a gentle breeze and makes me want to swing in a hammock in the sweet summer air. I love Ray's soft vocal, the lyrics, and the overall feel of the song. An overlooked beauty.
     
  22. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    :kilroy: It's telling that the only Lennon & McCartney (actually, only McCartney) tune of this genre is the give-away, STEP INSIDE LOVE. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if McCartney had gotten some inspiration from "No Return," as the timeline certainly adds up.

    This is one of my favorites. Songs with lot's of unusual chord changes have always been my main fetish.

    Other than Sergio Mendes' various hits, there weren't a whole lot of songs of this nature (nylon string guitar, brushes on the snare + lots of maj7 chords) that made too much of a splash in the 1960s. A year earlier, Walter Wanderly's iconic SUMMER SAMBA had been a hit in the US. A few other acts also had LP cuts that fall into this category: The Byrds' AIRPORT SONG, Cat Steven's BRING ANOTHER BOTTLE, The Cyrkle's THE VISIT, The Monkees' DON'T CALL ON ME and Harry Nilsson's magnificent WAILING OF THE WILLOW.

    An unlikely entry came earlier in 1967 with this obscure Searchers B-side:



    The Searchers / Lovers
     
  23. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    NO RETURN

    Sounds like a second rate McCartney ditty. Lyrically lazy and musically sleazy.

    If this had been on Revolver , Ray would have slated it.

    Its only redeeming feature is its short length.
     
  24. bvb1123

    bvb1123 Rock and Roll Martian

    Location:
    Cincinnati Ohio
    "No Return"
    Great laid back acoustic sounding song (I know it's not all acoustic) that is a terrific example of Ray and the band's softer side. It has ties to earlier songs like "Too Much On My Mind" and flows through later songs like "Phenomenal Cat". As much as I love when the band rocks out I also really enjoy this side of the band too. Not one of my favorites off the album but still a very very good tune.
     
  25. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    No Return
    To piggyback on what Mark said, this song fits in fine after the first killer songs on the album. I'm good with this. I'm feeling some South American music like Girl from Ipanema (is that bossa nova style?...I haven't a clue) and the bridge brings in a little Spanish guitar sound quite effectively. When i listen to it, I'm not concentrating on what the lyrics have to say, but kind of flowing downstream with it and maybe hitting a bump or two along the way with some of the discordant notes. I'm calling it groovy, man.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2021

Share This Page

molar-endocrine