The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Dearborn, MI
    Tonight I got out my copy of the 2CD Something Else deluxe so I could share my thoughts on the last two songs, but then I saw all those song titles and I just had to play the album from the beginning. Wonderful stuff. I love this band! A couple more singles before Kelvin Hall gets its UK release and I look forward to that discussion very much.

    "Funny Face" - I never paid close enough attention to these lyrics to notice how puzzling this song is. I always get so caught up in the changes. That great intro of a riff gets you hooked, those drums coming in to lift up the end of the 2nd line in the verses, the spooky breakdown for the "I see you" pre-chorus, then the bouncy chorus. Dave packs a lot into this one. And to weigh in, I also hear "funny face is alright" or "funny face's all right." I don't hear any "she" there. Not that any of the interpretations make it any clearer. Still fun to sing along to, whatever it is!

    "End of the Season" - I don't know anything about rugby, but I love the atmosphere in this track. Ray puts on a crooner persona for this breezy shuffle through the village green. I don't know if he was inspired by songs like "Winchester Cathedral" and all that. "Though you are hot, forget me not / I will keep waiting until your return." I feel some Bing Crosby. I understand the comments that this sounds like, and could make, a good album closer, but I like what they did with "Waterloo Sunset" wrapping it up. It ends on a more upbeat note.

    Now you are gone, end of the season
    Winter will come any day
    Back in the scrum on a wet afternoon
    Down in the mud, dreaming of flowers in June
  2. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Oh yeah, I had Darryl Braithwaite & Sherbet! posters on my wall
    mark winstanley likes this.
  3. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Florence, SC
    Looks like this thread has prompted a lot of folks here to investigate The Kinks a lot further than they previously had which is a great thing. Thanks Mark Winstanley for starting and managing this thread!
    I have several supposedly music knowledgeable friends who think they know who and what The Kinks were all about based on the three or four songs they know from classic rock radio. Until they delve into the catalog like we’re doing here, they don’t have a friggin’ clue.
    Another great thing about this thread is the civility everyone has shown on the discussion. No sniping or one-ups-manship posturing so many threads devolve into on this site, so thanks everyone!
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2021
  4. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    And me!
  5. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Now, now don't jump ahead to a 1970 song!
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  6. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Many thanks for this valuable time capsule, it absolutely reminds us of their tender physical years when all these great creations where conceived and how they held themselves plus Ray's methodical mind and complete awareness and want to further persue his gift!
    Jon H., DISKOJOE, Steve62 and 3 others like this.
  7. I can't bloody keep up!

    I've scanned the last 20 odd pages and been derailed by the Nick Drake thread, which is still going despite no-one having much to say. Quick observations about Something Else:

    Harry Rag isn't about weed.
    Ray definitely doesn't like David Watts, the song is about envy and the studio chat that opens the album is a great touch.
    I don't agree that Dave shows up here as a great songwriter, Death Of A Clown is a success but his other contributions are just ok.
    End Of The Season was at one stage my favourite Kinks song, it's now probably just nestling in the top 10. As a character study it's as subtle and as nuanced as Waterloo Sunset and should have closed the album.
    Something Else is a better collection than Face To Face yet almost a companion piece - character studies, thwarted lives, mischief making observations all present and correct.
    Steve E., FJFP, DISKOJOE and 10 others like this.
  8. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    You mean this is the next earliest after the one about 3 years prior where he says; "I may be playing a part right now?"
    As for missing out on the initial interview upload you expertly let that wrong un through to the keeper!
    N.b. Or was it a googly?
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  9. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    I know the feeling.

    During the week at school I had to play rugby union. At the weekend I would go to see rugby league matches with my friends!
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  10. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    They had their popular years in the sun, charts and Countdown television program.
    Folk here might best know their song Women In Uniform that a popular metal band covered.
  11. ajsmith

    ajsmith Senior Member

    Yeah! There’s precious little known 60s interview footage with the Kinks. Compare to The Beatles, Stones or The Who!
  12. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    You just could have said your only favoured local band was the one that played with the biggest family jewels!
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  13. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Now that is an excellently pitched delivery!
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  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I understand where your coming from here, but if you envy someone and want what they have and such, you must like them to some degree, because otherwise the mentality is that you want people to not like you, or you don't want to like yourself.
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  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Waterloo Sunset. a sort of album summary

    Obviously we have already looked at this song Here, and that link will give you the opportunity to reference back to what folks said about the track, as a song....

    I want to look at this as a closing song for the album though, as we have a lot of folks unsure of whether it should have or not, because two songs could have closed this album out really well and the second End Of The Season, is really written and arranged in such a way that it could very easily have closed the album out and in a very fine manner.

    This is a pretty sensational album, and every song has something different to bring to the table

    So to steal the first part from my earlier post for context
    We open with a song about the young, rich kid David Watts, who can do no wrong, and there is jealousy and mockery and the desire to have his money and position.
    Then we move into The Death Of A Clown, where we have a rejection of the circus-like lifestyles we lead, and the telling line "nobody needs fortunes told anymore" ... is that because we all have already been designated our place in the line?
    We have the Two Sisters, where they both lead very different lifestyles, one untethered and roaming free, but with little substance, and the other who is again jealous, and leads a life locked to domestic "bliss", and has very little freedom, but realises that her life has substance, and takes comfort in the fact that although she lacks freedom, she has a legacy of sorts in her children.
    No Return sidesteps as we have someone pondering their relationship, wondering if their partner may leave never to return, such is the uncertainty of life.
    Harry Rag seems to look at the fact that in all of the social classes, and no matter what age, everyone has an addiction of some sort to help them cope with this psychotic little world and the way it all works. In this instance it is the insidious little cigarette.
    Tin Soldier Man takes a poke at the salaryman and his regimented life, that makes him no better than somebodies toy .....
    and we have a sort of theme building. It is a broad theme, but a theme none the less ...
    Love Me Till The Sun Shines has a desperate person seeking love at any cost, and wanting that love to satisfy them for ever, but if it is only till the sun shines, so be it.
    Lazy Old Sun is this amazing mood piece that has someone wanting the sun to "Kiss me with one ray of light from your lazy old sun" and recognising their mortality and limited time against the seemingly endless life of the sun.
    Afternoon Tea seems to be about a platonic relationship that disappears, but our singer just wants someone to share his afternoon tea with, because it is a comfort and a joy he wishes not to lose.... if these are older people, it also infers that "I may not have much time left, and so this is how I want to spend my afternoons, in a friendly civilised way."
    Funny Face has us all a little confused due to what it says, and the implication of the history of its writing, but essentially it is about forbidden love, and the pain involved (for the record I was thinking about it, and it may be somewhat cryptic in its writing, because if Dave was with someone else at the time, the chances of them being ok with a song about another woman are fairly unlikely, most of our egos just aren't that strong :) )
    End Of The Season encapsulates a lot of things, as we discovered yesterday, but however we look at it, it is about endings.... the end of the sport season, the change of government, the ending of a relationship .... perpetual change and endings....

    and yes, End of the Season does feel and sound like a solid ending to the album, particularly thematically.....

    but here is where I see the way this all ties together.

    Waterloo Sunset has this gazing out across my area of our town thing going on. It is a love song to a town, and a specific part of the town...... and it seems to me that the songs on the album are about the people in that town. So for me Waterloo Sunset works like stepping back from the focus on individual aspects of the town to an overview of the whole thing. It is like Ray has finished examining the components and now he is just looking upon the whole scene from a distance and the whole scene is this comfortable satisfying place that is the only place he can imagine to be .... and he loves it dearly, and the tenderness shown for this place full of all these people is the place his heart calls home.

    So in spite of End Of The Season being a great ending for an album, Waterloo Sunset is like the epilogue that ties it all together.

    However I look at it this is a great album, and it has shot high up on my favourite albums ....
    Thanks for everyone's thoughtful and insightful posts about these songs, and this album, excellent stuff
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2021
  16. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I’m very impressed with Something Else and have put it on standby for my Top 100 album list. Side 1 is especially strong and the entire album holds my interest.

    I mentioned this upthread but I really do wonder what the non-Ray band members thought about playing on some of these songs. From rockers to shanties to something you might hear in a supper club. Fearless, really, with, evidently, no concern for image. I poked my toe in a John Mayall thread the other day and read that John McVie quit the band because he was horrified when Mayall brought in horns. Heresy! McVie wanted to play pure blues and, in his mind, this didn’t include a brass section. So...what did these stalwart Kinks-men think of the variety of genres that were thrust upon them? Still curious. (Note: in McVie’s case, he quit and formed another band.)

    Great album, great discussion.
  17. ajsmith

    ajsmith Senior Member

    Despite their well documented personal differences, Dave usually seemed on the same page as Ray musically during the 60s, including all his genre excursions: I think it comes down to the brothers sharing the same upbringing and being exposed to the similar formative
    musical influences. It was only during the concept era in the 70s that Dave got disillusioned with Ray’s writing.

    Mick once he got established I think was happy to be on board and play his part in each song. If you read him talk about Ray he always has a kind of Sancho Panza deference to the leader Kinks vision, no ego of his own beyond his place as a drummer.

    So that leaves only Quaife of the original group who was ever notably critical of Rays 60s output. He latterly said how much he hated songs such as ‘Tin Soldier Man’ ‘Wonderboy’ and ‘Plastic Man’ due I think to what he perceived as tweeness. This perception would certainly be a contributing factor to of why he left the group first: other more primary factors being lack of space allowed for his artistic input in general, not to mention the constant personal infighting in the group.
  18. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Thank you.
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  19. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Allow me to submit this hypothesis : it's very plausible End of the Season was indeed written as the closing song to… Face to Face ! But when it was decided Sunny Afternoon would be on said LP, EoS didn't fit in anymore, because it seemed kind of redundant (rich people, tongue in cheek, melancholy, mentions of yachts and seasons), especially with Sunny Afternoon's strategic placing as the penultimate track on the album. So it was scrapped, in favor of an older more straightforward pop-rock tune (the excellent I'll Remember). A year later, when it was time to sequence Something Else, End of the Season was once again a valid contender as the closing tune. But it obviously couldn't really follow Waterloo Sunset (because Waterloo Sunset just can't be followed by anything, really) so the sequencing was designed as we know it : a proper ending (End of the Season) before a spectacular "encore"/ grand finale.
    I think it works beautifully, even though End of the Season tends to be overlooked because of that. But it's also part of what is so great about pop, about the Kinks records – and about this very thread : what's overlooked is there to be re-discovered, better understood and then enjoyed with renewed enthusiasm and freshness.
  20. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  21. rockerreds

    rockerreds Senior Member

    Something Else was on Paul Williams's (RIP) list of Rock For Beginners.
  22. Martyj

    Martyj Who dares to wake me from my slumber? -- Mr. Flash

    Maryland, USA
    Interesting tie-in built around Waterloo Sunset, but unlike you, I do not see it justifying a thematic link to Something Else. Other than the fact, I suppose, that all these songs (except Dave’s) emerged from the same fountainhead of the Ray Davies mindset circa 66-68, which could justify Waterloo Sunset’s contextual place equally were it slapped onto the end of either Face to Face or Village Green. All three albums in a row are comprised (largely) of either first or third person character vignettes that WS’s protagonist could equally reflect on. With that kind of interpretation, does it matter which of the three LP’s contained which songs?

    No, I think the better understanding of Something Else is that it has no thematic purpose—the last Kinks LP until, arguably, 1983’s “State of Confusion” to be that way. It comprises: a previously released hit single; a hold over from the previous LP; a curious insertion of 3 tracks from a vaguely defined Dave Davies solo career; and the assortment of other period songs deemed a) not independently commercial enough for a single’s A side or, b) not appropriate to hold onto for Ray’s work-in-progress Village Green idea. Basically, this is a collection of Kinks songs circa 1967--whatever was at hand to fill a contractual album release schedule. The music business is still the music business.

    Now, lacking a cohesive purpose in no way demeans “Something Else’s” uniform excellence, anymore than it hurt “Revolver,” “Aftermath,” or…well…practically every other 66-68 masterpiece that doesn’t aim for a concept. The era of the concept album is just underway but not yet in full swing for the Kinks. Ray would embrace it whole heartedly and hold onto it longer than most of his contemporaries. But here, whatever theme one recognizes is serendipitous, not intentional. The inclusion of Waterloo Sunset as an epilogue doesn't change that.
  23. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    I've never seen anything suggesting Dave or Mick Avory wanted to leave due to musical differences. They knew Ray was in charge and there was plenty of conflict, including physical attacks, among the three. Maybe things would have been different had Dave's solo career taken off after Death of a Clown.

    Mark has summed up this album better than I could. If not a concept album, one could still say it has a theme - {edit after more thought:} albeit a loose one

    Looking back, I did have a thought on this album that I wanted to share. Something Else gives the impression of being a longer album than its 36 minutes. I can think of a few possible reasons. First, it has 13 songs, which is a couple more than the average of the better albums of 1967. Second, there's considerable diversity among those songs. And third, what the Kinks do cleverly is ensure that none of these songs last any longer than necessary - there are no extended lead-ins, no jams and very little repetition (areas where I think they fall down on Arthur, but we'll get to that later).

    The average song length on Something Else is about 2:47, which is brief by the standards of their England-based contemporaries in 1967:

    Something Else - 2:47
    Odessey and Oracle - 2:56
    Axis: Bold As Love - 2:59
    Sgt Peppers - 3:03
    Disraeli Gears - 3:04
    Between the Buttons - 3:12
    The Who Sell Out - 3:14
    Are You Experienced - 3:30
    Piper at the Gates of Dawn - 3:48
    Their Satanic Majesties Request - 4:24
    Days of Future Passed - 5:56

    And shorter songs than the best US albums of 1967 (in my opinion):
    Forever Changes - 3:49
    The Velvet Underground & Nico - 4:21

    To avoid leading others off topic, I'm not suggesting that any of those dozen albums would have been better had they shortened their songs -they were all fit for purpose, some perfectly so. (Also, what a year for music!)

    So I would argue that Something Else as a whole shares more with the White Album than it does with the other 1967 albums. The main similarity is the variety of musical styles used and another is a short average song length: The Beatles pared the songs back to 2:56 on the White Album (note: I deducted the 8 minute Revolution 9 because its not a song as such - on that omission please refer any complaints to a separate thread :D).
    Anyway, that's just the thought I had but I don't want to cause any trouble by raising it. :hide:
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2021
  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    For sure, I don't disagree with anything here ... I wasn't really speaking to the album being a concept or pinpointed theme, merely that Waterloo ties it all up in the end, in the context of this album.

    There are quite obviously, to me at least, some songs here from the Village Green idea, and I suppose Ray felt he had enough material coming together for the Village Green idea, or that the couple of songs here that could have fit, didn't have quite the right tone he was looking for .... or in fact he may have felt that he just needed some songs to put this album out on the record companies schedule.
  25. Martyj

    Martyj Who dares to wake me from my slumber? -- Mr. Flash

    Maryland, USA
    I suspect you are right about "End of the Season's" original intent. I do wonder, though, why "Sunny Afternoon" didn't serve as the grand finale on Face to Face, being that it, like "Waterloo Sunset" brings up the how-does-one-follow-that conundrum.

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