The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Maplewood, NJ
    I have also seen some online discussion that this is actually:

    "I'll take you where real animals are playing
    And people are real people not just plain"

    But I have always heard it as "not just playing", and I think the we have it with "playing" makes more sense anyway.
  2. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  3. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Dearborn, MI
    The lyrics are printed out in the 5CD box set. I'm just not home at the moment to check.
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  4. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    If I remember I'll check tonight
  5. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Evanston, IL
    With the exception of the early "Village Green", strings and woodwind were played on the Mellotron by Ray Davies and Nicky Hopkins.

    The VGPS entry in Wikipedia says that the mellotron was not used on Village Green.
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  6. Luckless Pedestrian

    Luckless Pedestrian Forum Resident

    New Hampshire, USA
    Good points, In addition to everything else, Ray is an exquisite poet! He often uses this technique you point out above, where he matches the stress patterns of words or phrases at the end of a line in sort of a rhythmic rhyme, for example: riverside/open wide/close my eyes in Sitting By the Riverside.

    Also note how word choice reinforces meaning in Animal Farm:

    This world is big and wild and half insane
    Take me where real animals are playing​

    This introductory couplet uses a two-syllable inverted slant rhyme (in-sane/play-ing), where in/ing and sane/play are rhyming. This complicated rhyme suits the idea of the world being big, wild, crazy, and complicated.

    Whereas, when we arrive at the farm, we've escaped to a life where things is simple and straightforward. This is emphasized by 10 lines in a row that end in a short, one-syllable word: shack, bark, home, there, dogs, boats, farm, and finally: home. On the farm we don't need to bother putting on rhymes just for the sake of appearances!

    Just a dirty old shack
    Where the hound dogs bark
    That we called our home
    I want to be back there
    Among the cats and dogs
    And the pigs and the goats
    On Animal Farm
    My animal home
    On Animal Farm
    My animal home​

    Also, as performed those one-syllable words are followed by two beats of rest which reinforces calm and simplicity.

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    "Animal Farm"-Well, Ray may have taken the title from Orwell, but thankfully not the content, although if he wrote this for Preservation Act 2, it may have been a different story. Anyhow, this song kicks off Side 2 w/a flourish describing living w/the animals peacefully. The phrase "though she's far from home, she's free from harm" means that unlike the other young women in Ray's songs who have run off for the dubious benefits of the Big City, the nameless one in this song will have peace & refuge out in the country w/the animals & the narrator.
  8. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident


    :kilroy: In my head, this starts off with a farm that looks tiny because the singer is observing it from a distance over a vast field of wild growing wheat. After those mixolydian descending arpeggios, when he croons "This World Is Big And Wild And Half Insane," he might as well be yelling "On Your Mark, Get Set...Go!" Much like Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and The Lion running through the field of poppies in order to get to Oz, the rest of the song is spent rapidly running towards that farm in the distance over the vast wheatfield, until finally arriving at the place in the end. At least that's the imagery that's in my head, whenever I hear this track.
  9. Zombeels

    Zombeels Forum Resident

    Animal Farm

    Another top tier song, also my favourite from the album. I find the song to be swirling throughout and I love the true stereo version on headphones. Ray was on fire in the mid to late 60's.
  10. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    Animal Farm

    The bridge on this song is a testament to the power of music and can make you feel at peace with the world. It's so beautiful! It makes sense that "Animal Farm" gives me goosebumps! I agree with the opinion that this is one of Ray's best vocals and one of the best songs on the record.

    Girl, it's a hard, hard world
    If it gets you down
    Dreams often fade and die
    In a bad, bad world

    I honestly can listen to this song at anytime and instantly be cheered up. I become so happy it can bring tears to my eyes. Thank you Ray!
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  11. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Forum Resident

    I agree with all the superlatives. One of the best tracks on the record.
  12. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Animal Farm
    Funny, this is a song that did not hit me as being a top tune upon hearing the whole album(last week I was shocked...SHOCKED, I tell you, when people didn't absolutely adore Johnny Thunder as much as I did). This has only been growing on me in recent weeks...and it is gorgeous, isn't it? I love the loping feel of the music - can picture someone riding a horse to this song. It feels very western and I can see that broken down shack in a desert setting perhaps.

    And as Mark pointed out, Ray's voice is absolutely perfect in this. The opening line is delivered so well.

    I'm still a side 1 VGPS gal, but who knows what will happen. :shrug:
  13. seanw

    seanw Forum Resident

    Top notch. Among my top four songs from the album.

    The strings during the intro, chorus and bridge are wonderful. I also really like it when they make an appearance in the verses "that we called our home", "and she need not fear" etc. They are mixed higher in the 'takes 16 & 17' version on the 50th, which makes it a go-to for me.

    The backing "ooooo"s during the "While I lay my head upon my pillow..." section are great, too.
  14. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    For me it's not a question of picking holes. It's a question of getting things right.

    And I think you're right that it sometimes sounds like "willow" not "window".

    But then again on the stereo version you can defintely hear window.

    Maybe Ray was in two minds about this.
  15. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident


    Musically brilliant. A real joy to listen to.

    Ray obviously would have known of Orwell's book and maybe he knew that the original title was "Animal Farm A Fairy Story".

    I certainly feel Ray is spinning us a bit of a fairy story with this song.

    He seems to be saying that in the insane world outside the farm, people behave like wild animals (funnily enough in the book the animals behave like people).

    But on this farm the roles are well defined. We have "real" animals and "real" people.

    It's sunny and you can dream here while feeling safe.

    No storm or drought on this farm. No noisy tractors and milking machines. And the animals are not there to produce food or labour but to play!

    In fact it's almost a city-dweller's idealised vision of a farm.

    And probably a farm that not only doesn't exist but never really existed.

    It even feels like a chidlhood vision of a farm from ... a picture book!

    And Ray is inviting his girl to be safe with him in his country dream from the long-gone world of his past.
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  16. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Great points to recognise and put to print.
  17. renderj

    renderj Forum Resident

    Great song, and I love Ray’s wit here, by choosing to write a song called Animal Farm - not to build on the allegory but to discuss the simple pleasures of rural life (or his fantastic vision of that life).

    This song is what all pop music should aspire to be: smart, catchy, and descriptively simple.
  18. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Animal Farm

    A beautiful song with a magnificent lead vocal that is full of expression & inflection to expertly convey the feeling & emotion behind the lyric.

    It's been pointed out but it bears repeating that the very cleverly phrased & worded intro really sets up Ray's view of the outside world to (later) heavily contrast against the heavenly "Animal Farm" which as @idleracer points out iirc running toward with cinematic anticipation!
    Once there we are enveloped by the beauty & tranquility of nature & Ray's exquisite melodies as we share the experience with our love.

    Last week on a holiday road trip I announced whenever Animal Farm was beginning and my young children enjoy the song, ironically we actually detoured home and visited an actual Animal Farm where we could walk amongst the animals and hand feed Kangaroos as my daughter does below.

  19. Safeway 2

    Safeway 2 Forum Resident

    Manzanillo Mexico.
    Animal Farm- What we have here is an excellent song that is remarkably catchy with a beautiful shimmer . This is a a song that Ray sings with great gusto, is a precursor of expressing the desire to escape the insanity and phoniness of modern existence for a more natural setting where a father can share the wonders of nature with a child. It’s simply Ray wishing to return to a simpler life, living among (or even as one of) those creatures without a care. “Animal Farm” is a more direct, sincere and strongly felt approach to the issue and features a fantastic, soaring melody. The world is big and wild and half-insane indeed; the animals have got it right. Ray would get a TON more cynical about the subject matter two albums from now with the radio classic “Apeman”. But let’s not get THAT ahead of ourselves. “Animal Farm” is one of the best songs on album full of best songs.
  20. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Village Green alternate vocal.

    this version is also excellent, but the vocal may be a little too acted out in parts

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  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  23. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Such a lovely melody and instrumentation on Village Green.
  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter


    German single cover
    Single by the Kinks
    from the album The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
    "Picture Book"
    Released 8 January 1969 (US single)
    Recorded November 1966 – October 1968
    Length 2:18
    Label Reprise
    Songwriter(s) Ray Davies
    Producer(s) Ray Davies

    "Starstruck" was the first U.S. single pulled from The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, but besides hitting #13 in The Netherlands, it did not chart. The track was also released as a single in Germany, Norway, Sweden, and in Australia.[1] However, in the Australian version of the single, "Starstruck" was switched with its B-side, "Picture Book" as the A-side.[2] A promotional video, starring all four band members in a London park, was also filmed by Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

    On the appearance of "Starstruck" on The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, Ray Davies claimed that "It is strange to think of this song being recorded by The Kinks, because it is definitely a song that should be on somebody's solo album."[3]

    As well as being the tenth track on The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, "Starstruck" has appeared on the compilation album The Ultimate Collection.[4]

    Billboard described the single as "an infectious rhythm item that has all the ingredients to bring the group back to the Hot 100 chart with impact."[5] Billboard also praised the "smooth vocal work and arrangement."[5]


    stereo mix, 15-track VGPS version (2:20), recorded Jul 1968 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    Baby, you don't know what you're saying,
    Because you're a victim of bright city lights,
    And your mind is not right.
    You think the world's at your feet.

    'Cause you're starstruck, baby, starstruck.
    Taken in by the lights,
    Think you'll never look back,
    You know you're starstruck on me.

    Baby, you're running around like you're crazy.
    You go to a party and dance through the night,
    And you'll drink 'till you're tight,
    And then you're out on your feet.

    'Cause you're starstruck, baby, starstruck.
    Taken in by the lights,
    Think you'll never look back,
    You know you're starstruck on me.

    Baby, watch out or else you'll be ruined,
    'Cause once you're addicted to wine and champagne,
    It's gonna drive you insane,
    Because the world's not so tame.

    And you're starstruck, baby, starstruck.
    You're taken in by the lights,
    Think you'll never look back,
    You know you're starstruck on me.
    Don't you know that you are,
    Starstruck on me.
    And you always will be,
    Starstruck on me.
    Starstruck on me.

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Noma Music, Inc./Hi-Count Music, Inc. BMI

    So we relax sitting by the riverside, we relax at the natural and inclusive Animal Farm, we head back to the Village Green, which is home, and then we encounter this lady? who is Starstruck by this guy returning from the big city to the Village Green.
    It is an interesting inclusion, that some feel doesn't quite capture the theme of the album, but it is a contrast song. This lady? has been to the big city lights and tied to the action the city has to offer.

    In the first verse we get a pretty straight forward breakdown of what is happening here. You have been to the big city and been hypnotised by the bright city lights, and their mind is not right anymore. On returning to the Village Green they feel bigger than the Green, thinking the world's at their feet.
    Partying til they are drunk and laid out.
    A cautionary tale of the way one can be hypnotised by the glitz and glamour of the city and all the trappings that it has.
    I think the key here being once you're addicted to wine and champagne, it's gonna drive you insane, because the world's not so tame, and Ray is warning that this lifestyle will lead them to ruin.

    One of the interesting things about the lyrics here is that to some degree this person is starstruck by the city lights and the parties etc, but the line in the chorus ends with Don't You Know That Your Starstruck on me ... which suggests that somehow Ray is tied into this.... I kind of assume that again to some degree, Ray is the successful city slicker that return to the Village Green to settle back down and return to his roots, to a more conventional lifestyle that is good for the heart, rather than the adrenal gland ....

    It is like the subject of our song here is being warned by Ray that the life they are seeking, or have been participating in, is a place he has been, and it isn't all it seems, and this is going to end in tears and ruin.

    This is another excellent track and here we do get a very definite mellotron.

    We open with a snare fill and move into a bass and piano opening.
    The instrumentation for the most part here, is really quite minimal in its presentation. The main agents moving this forward are the bass and drums with some textural help from the piano and mellotron.

    The backing vocals are excellent and the feel of the song is really wonderful.

    With the main vocal I love how Ray accents particular words in phrases, putting them directly on the beat with a staccato delivery. Ray actually steps up his vocal delivery all through this album, and he was doing a great job previously anyway.
    We get another ba ba ba ba section, but for me, it is again perfectly suited to the track.

    This is another of Ray's excellent vignettes, that paints a quite clear picture and in fact does really fit in with our theme, as it is just giving us the alternative and some of the issues with it.

    This is just another excellent track for me... there is nothing here that isn't, but it is the Kinks sixties album that I was most familiar with before we started the thread, and I already had a deep love for it.

  25. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Starstruck alternate mix.

    Some subtle differences here, but it seems like they had the delivery pretty much sorted out already, and this adds to the story, but is more some different levels than approaches.


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