The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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


    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    I once worked with someone named Monika, who was from Eastern Europe (I forgot where). To me she was an combination of Latka Gravas (Andy Kaufman's character in the sitcom TAXI) & Za Za Gabor.
  2. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I had a crush on a girl named Monica in high school.... I didn't know the song back then, but these days it brings her back to mind
  3. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident


    Correct me if I'm wrong ... but Ray seems to be saying that he knows Monica is a prostitute but he also knows she won't fall in love with and marry one of her clients (hence the importance of the word "propose").

    This reassures him because Ray's her true love (or at least he thinks so ... maybe all her clients think that!).

    In which case I don't think it's a situation often treated in a pop song. This doesn't bother me of course, but, as some have already pointed out, it makes this a strange song for the village green.

    I'm not a fan of Ray's calypso songs and using a fake West Indian approach (like dropping the "s" on "every guy think").

    Why the name Monica? Presumably for the alliteration midnight/morning/moonshine/Monica and ... money.

    It's an interesting and clever song. Rhyming" knows" with "nose" works surprisingly well.

    But overall it doesn't engage with me emotionally as Ray's best songs do.
  4. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Evanston, IL
    In the context of an album, especially when as packed as this one, lighter songs are needed to break up the intensity. The same thing goes for long, multi course meals where palate cleansers and lighter dishes are placed throughout the progression.
    Steve E., FJFP, donstemple and 2 others like this.
  5. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    :kilroy: This is the only song on the album with lyrics that up until this very moment, I've never really paid any attention to. What's going on musically is what draws my attention. It's essentially Ray compensating for the fact that the tune includes only three diatonic chords in the key of G (G D7 and C) by incorporating an extremely busy melody, with lots of long notes, short notes and a few fancy syncopations. The interesting part occurs in the "I-Yi-Should-Die" bridge, which briefly gives the false impression that the song is actually in C, as it resolves to that chord on the word "Monica." This would definitely have been considered one of the highlights of Donovan's "Gift From A Flower To A Garden" album. Very much in the same vein as "Under The Greenwood Tree."

    To me, this track always conjures up images of a bunch of folding tables and chairs set up somewhere on the Village Green, with people eating eating corn on the cob and watermelon off of paper plates, with perhaps a canopy over them, while light Caribbean music plays in the background.
  6. Paul Mazz

    Paul Mazz Senior Member

    My first girlfriend was named Monika. Was dating her when I had this album. Fortunately she had little in common with the Monica in the song. I did sing it to myself many times after we broke up though. :)
  7. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Senior Member


    A short intro using the dominant D with a fragment of the melody.
    The verse is basically G, G7 and D but the melody is snappy and not bluesy. The G chord until at :14 when the shift to D hangs on many bars. Hear that bluesy D7 th chord at the word "guy". The verse turnaround on the D chord...blues again. But still no blues in the vocals and that where it counts....then the chorus at :47 goes to the G chord with a blue F note that highlights the longing in the lyrics. I, I shall DIE indeed. The IV chord of C finally shows up in the chorus to complete the blues landscape.
    Everything repeats just like a good blues does and the song ends squarely on the G.

    One of the simpler Ray songs but the arrangement and melodies make it uniquely Kinks. Great lyrics that have already been discussed. Brilliant use of when to use blue notes and when not to. Funny to think that the guitar arpeggios that Dave uses became popular in a lot of rock and roll that were not really a calypso type rhythm. Think Crocodile Rock. Calypso blues. Great song.

    Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
  8. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    Yes, but lyrically this is not a light song.
    mark winstanley likes this.
  9. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    I would love to hear those demo's!
    FJFP, DISKOJOE and mark winstanley like this.
  10. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    So when I went on a deep dive with VGPS earlier this year, this song came on and I was transported back to childhood. For me, I particularly remember the "I, I shall die" part. it stuck in my memory and turns up again 35-40 years later. Wild how the memory can operate.

    I think this song is clearly about a lady of the evening. I don't think you need to name her that in the song to get the point across. But somehow the singer thinks he can turn her around and get her to love him. He's hopeful.

    I love the groove of this song and Ray's vocals are great. Love it!
  11. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    I dated a Monica. In two different periods, five years apart. She was the meanest person I ever dated. I knew this the first time, yet dated her again. So there was something there. I was crazy about her, or just plain crazy. I bumped into her in a grocery store recently, after a good 15 years, and she was even meaner.

    I did sing her this song back in the day.
  12. Martyj

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

    Maryland, USA
    Did she turn up her nose and say what a fool you are?
  13. Safeway 2

    Safeway 2 Forum Resident

    Manzanillo Mexico.
    Monica-"Monica” describes another woman of the town, in this case the hooker with a heart of gold. There is a mild latin tinged tropicana island feel and the “I-I shall die” section always wins. Like the bossa nova "No Return" from their previous album, this one is a distinct song that was completely thought through. It’s a great song with a fabulous, stutter-step chorus.
  14. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    I can go one better than that. Once had a girlfriend named Monica. Fortunately, for her, she never proposed. I think she knew, you know.

    I don't dislike this song but it may be the only song omitted from my own personal Village Green playlist. Not sure yet but the upcoming discussion about peoples optimal Village Green tracks ought to be interesting.

    Wasn't Monica the track that Ray boasted that the BBC had played despite it being about a prostitute, only for them to ban the next single because it contained the word bum?

    His spat with the Corporation seems to have gone on for decades.
  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Part one, yes, I read that, and thought it was pretty funny ... the second part, I'm not sure, but that sounds pretty much how the BBC goes ... I mean they didn't ban Start Me Up either did they, and there's a pretty dodgy line at that end of that.... It seems to depend on what caught their attention.
  16. tables_turning

    tables_turning In The Groove

    Mid Atlantic, USA
    Sounds like ride/crash/ride/crash to my ears.
    FJFP, donstemple and mark winstanley like this.
  17. tables_turning

    tables_turning In The Groove

    Mid Atlantic, USA pic might be '64-ish -- Mick still has his English Rogers kit (made under license in the UK by Ajax) here, as evidenced by the distinctive lug housings on the tom. He'd switched to Ludwig by '65.
  18. FJFP

    FJFP Host for the 'Mixology' Mix Differences Podcast

    Just read that review of ‘Days’. “Not one of their better efforts” eh? I think this thread had a few things to say about that!

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    That's true. It also reminds me of a UK review of "Time of the Season" by the Zombies when it first came out, saying that it was "too complicated" for the charts. It was only one of the most played songs on US radio.
  20. malco49

    malco49 Forum Resident

    mark winstanley likes this.
  21. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    I'm taking note of this smart statement for the sake of analysis of some (not all) of his lyrics of a a bit later on.
  22. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    That and worse.
  23. Orino

    Orino Forum Resident

    Good sir, I give you "Sunny Afternoon", "Cheap Sunglasses", "Sufragette City", "Hello Earth".. and they're just ones within arm's reach.. er, "Revolution 9"... ;)
  24. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    This photo Mark posted of the Kinks in 1968 is from a festival in Belgium which took place for a few years in the sixties in the town of Châtelet.

    There was a strange tradition at this festival which was to throw tomatoes and even other vegetables at certain performers.

    The article accompanying the photo of the Kinks describes the unlucky girl singer Nicoletta who must have been considered too middle-of-the-road for the audience. She was thus pelted with tomatoes and was reduced to tears.

    Makes you wonder if this didn't inspire Ray for All Of My Friends Were There!
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2021
  25. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    I know there are some notable exceptions - e.g. "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" for one, and of course "End Of The Season", but in my experience, more often than not, if there's one track on an album that's going to pass me by, it will be the penultimate track.
    Orino and mark winstanley like this.

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