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

    I agree all round really.
    I reckon Starstuck is a great track, but yea, possibly the least of the tracks here.

    I'm terrible at singles, I've never even bought one lol.... but the singles I would have picked off this would have been, any out of

    The title track
    Animal Farm
    Johnny Thunder....

    But the interesting thing is, to me at least, although I love these songs, and this album, there really aren't any obvious singles.... I'm not sure anything would have torn up the charts, because these aren't really those kind of songs...

    It is weird to me, that I never heard a single song off this until I bought the album (except for the Steam powered Train cover I posted).

    I suppose in the late seventies early eighties when radio was a thing for me, it wasn't in vogue.... if it ever was.... talk about a lost classic
  2. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    We’ve all been discussing which song should’ve been THE single, to help the album's sales. But in truth, this wonderful little Starstruck tune was as good a fit as any. Excellent melody, superb singalong chorus, complete with handclaps, babababas harmonies, good singing, good lyrics, good title… I agree it's far from the best song here, but yes it could’ve been a hit and it seems Ray, the band and the record company thought so too, since they released its twin song Drivin' as the lead off UK single for Arthur… with even worst charts results!!
    And if it failed, my guess is the title song(s), Picture Book, Animal Farm, Big Sky or Walter, for all their superior brilliance, wouldn’t’ve fared better in the charts.
    And I’m ok with that. With its theme and preoccupations, this music was designed to be out of touch, out of fashion, out of time. That was the whole Village Green concept, after all, wasn't it ? To paraphrase Brian Wilson and Tony Asher, I guess it just wasn’t made for those times.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2021
  3. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    If you're on FB, there is a Battle Royale going on between VGPS and the Stones' Let It Bleed LP on a page called the Greatest Album of the 60s. Only 9 more hours left to this poll, so if you're so inclined, vote away.

    Log into Facebook
    (get to the page and scroll down a bit and simply click on your fave)

    i'm sure the Stones are going to win...cuz they're the Stones and the Kinks never make the "pantheon of 60s greats", but worth a shot. :)
  4. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Maplewood, NJ

    I was thinking earlier why this is not considered "top tier" on this album like some of the other songs we've listened to earlier. It's a great, catchy song. That consistent sound of Pete's bass and Mick's drumming is there, along with the mellotron, to continue the atmospheric sound of the entire album. (The conga drums are a nice addition, though). I think what it comes down to is that this is more of a regular, straight-forward song that it wouldn't be out of the realm that some other band did this song with these lyrics. And songs like "Big Sky", "Animal Farm", “Do You Remember Walter?”, "Picture Book", "Last of the Steam-Powered Trains".... are just.... not… regular, straight forward songs with lyrics that other bands could produce. They are just SO unique to this album and this album alone (in my opinion). To me, those other songs cannot possibly exist anywhere else. The sound of Starstruck fits in with this album, but the style of song could be found elsewhere. All that said, it is another great song that had potential as a single.

    Lyrically, it ties in with the overall theme of things changing, and I think it's interesting that Ray describes the world as "not so tame", to borrow a term that is often used with animals.
  5. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    The theme of this album works in so many ways....

    Village Green as pointed out, a while ago now, is somewhat the centerpiece and root of the album, and the idea here.

    The idea of "I miss the Village Green" had always seemed to me to mean that Ray (via character or as a person) was no longer there, and wanted to return.
    @donstemple sparked my imagination this morning with the even sadder story that Ray is still in the Village Green, but it has morphed into something else.....
    I don't know why that had never crossed my mind, as it is perfectly logical....

    This also mildly morphs the theme's context as well though.

    The first three tracks still hold true, except maybe slightly more nostalgia, due to the extra circumstance.

    Johnny Thunder kind of becomes one of the new ingredients in the Village Green though. His rebellious outsider attitude, directly conflicts with the people of the town, who want him to change his ways, to fit in... be part of the Preservation Society/Village Green.

    Last of the Steam Powered Trains starts to more sharply define what a relic the protagonist has actually become, as the Green has become more and more modernised.

    Big sky almost becomes the power that has allowed the Green to be consumed in the way it has... whether via corporate bodies or something bigger than our minds have the ability to compute (our self importance and smugness causes this)

    Sitting by the riverside becomes an escape from the now altered Green, a last bastion of peace and solitude.... but when we close our eyes, perhaps the swirl is the overwhelming feeling of what has been lost overcoming us.

    Animal Farm seems somewhat removed from the Green in general, or perhaps a Daydream of an idealized home near the Green....

    Then Village Green is a sad reflection on what's been lost....

    I don't know just ponderances as I myself escape reality for a few moments to wander in Ray's nostalgic imagination filled story.
  6. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident


    This song has single written all over it. A great catchy tune and well-constructed.

    It wouldn't have made number one in the UK but surely could have made a reasonable showing.

    Oh, well, we'll never know.

    As it is, I don't think its in its place on this album.
  7. joejo

    joejo Well-Known Member

    There was a thread awhile ago where members posted suggestions for the track order for the once envisioned 20 track double album VGPS, does anybody know what happened to that thread?
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  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    No idea, but collect your thoughts.
    When we have looked at the album, and extra tracks, we are going to have

    The Village Green Imaginarium

    Where for one day everyone can discuss
    - track sequence
    - closers
    - double albums layouts
    - etc

    pablo fanques, FJFP and Steve E. like this.
  9. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    I haven't read everyone's responses, so sorry if I'm repeating something that's been already said.
    I LOVE this song. what a fine pop tune! I remember being obsessed with this song at the beginning of the year. this should have been a single for sure.

    But when I listened to the album in its entirety initially I was thinking "this song does not belong on the album". As someone has said the rest of the songs on VGPS are 'different' and this is straight on pop music. And there is nothing wrong with that, of course. We know that Ray could churn out a pop song in his sleep. but maybe because it IS so different than the rest of the album it somehow fits in.

    Love the strings that sweep you away during "Baby, you're running around like you're crazy". And throw in the little film they did where they're acting silly and this song makes me happy. And sometimes that's all I want out of my music. Thanks boys!

    So I'm not going to talk about HOW this song fits into this album, because I just don't care. I'm just glad it exists.
  10. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Clearly Ray had a horrible run in with a pair of scissors and a bowl. LOLLLL
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  11. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Not sure about the bowl... his fringe (bangs in the US - which still bewilders me) is really uneven... looks like someone just hacked at it lol
  12. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    I think it’s a bad photo of an ok haircut: he had a shorter ‘do in 1967, it was longer before and after that: Gawd we really have reached Beatles thread levels of nerddom now!

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    Your thoughts just reminded me of one of George Orwell's novels called Coming Up For Air, which came out just before WWII in 1939. It was the story of an average guy who lives in London who's a salesman & lives an ordinary life. He constantly day dreams about his youth in the country, especially going fishing in a certain pond. One day he plays hooky from his job to go back to his childhood home & to live the life he once knew. Needless to say, everything about the place had changed & that beautiful pond that he remembered was now a small polluted puddle.
  14. joejo

    joejo Well-Known Member

    Yes, and I appreciate that. At the same time I am perplexed that a thread can disappear? Surely somebody remembers this one?
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  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    But what colour socks was he wearing...
    And who sang the baba ba's :)
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  16. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    He’s definitely wearing white socks… as mentioned in Nick Cohn’s book ‘Awopbopalobop’.
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  17. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It's almost disappointing that somebody knows lol
  18. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    LOL. True. That was their attempt to fix this travesty.
    A surrey has a fringe on top, not hair. :winkgrin:
    mark winstanley likes this.
  19. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Based on hearing Ray loves Orwell and this book in particular, I read Coming Up for Air a few months ago. That book encompassed everything Ray is looking at when he does nostalgia. The present ain't so great, but neither is the past. LOL
  20. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I heard Steve Forbert’s cover of Starstruck before I heard the original. Off of Solo Live in Bethlehem. Always liked the song.
  21. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Ok, this video makes me like the song more. Could this be more charming? Aj's posting of it is having sync problems on my computer. This one has a dumb vinyl graphic covering Dave most of the time. (When will these video DJ's and republishers leave well enough alone!?! ) Anyway, thanks to both of you for this. Toooo lovely.

  22. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico

    Is actually a nice fit for the album, themewise. Yeah, the main character loves the bright city lights... but her "mind is not right."

    This was probably my least favorite song on the album when I first got it, but I really appreciate it today.

    I'm continually amazed at how I continue to hear new things in these seemingly simple little three minute songs.
    The MEZ, Zeki, DISKOJOE and 4 others like this.
  23. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Dearborn, MI
    "Sitting By The Riverside" has always been a favorite of mine, which is why I was disappointed it was the only song from Village Green not mentioned in that recent "Echoes of a World" documentary. In the song, Ray sings "I can close my eyes." And so can we, since he paints such a charming scene for us. I don't picture myself sitting by any random riverside. You need a steamboat and maybe people riding around on old timey pre-automobile bicycles. I don't know what instrument(s) that is before the final line, but it's perfect.

    "Animal Fun" is tons of fun with a lot of great changes, but it was never among my essential Village Green tracks. It doesn't seem to fit topically and I'm so in love with the theme that runs through most of the album that I don't like to leave it. Gotta love that bridge: "Girl, It's a hard, hard world, if it gets you down." Like "Picture Book" this thing just stays in your head all day.

    "Starstruck" - I enjoy it when songs have quick drum intros, like "Glass Onion." The rhythm section sounds like they're going to be stealing the show on this one, but then the strings come in. It's another very catchy song, but it's not as interesting at the other productions on the album. My favorite section is the instrumental bit from 1:05 to 1:25 with the "ba ba ba"'s and the strings. These lesser tunes on the album are too fun and catchy to dislike.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2021
  24. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    :kilroy: The main thing that's interesting to me about this song is that it's almost, but not quite diatonic. It's in the key of F but each verse does contain that one Cm chord. I think my favorite part is the brief instrumental break at 1:25. It's just an elongated C7 chord, but it's a welcome change in texture.
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  25. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    Another interesting book in this respect is Steinbeck's Travels With Charley.

    He travels across America in a camper van from East to West, but when he gets to the part of California where he was brought up, he realises everything has changed and his past no longer exists.

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