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

    Thanks for explaining that one.
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  2. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Re- All of My Friends Were There. It took a few days for all these excellent interpretations and reactions to sink in. I think the song's lesson is the old friends are not supposed to care all that much about the artist's success or failure. Of course, they'll support him whenever things go wrong, sure they won't leave if they happen to be present when he's making a fool of himself. But most nights, they can be found at the old café, 'cause why on earth would they be at every show ? It's not their life, is it? They won't judge him bad if he fails, they won't put him on a pedestal if he succeeds, there's a good chance they won't even be in the audience at all ! That's the beauty of Ray's use of the word "there" in the lyrics : on any given night, his friends could be "there" (present) with/for him, or they could be "there" (elsewhere) minding their own business, simply waiting for him to come by once the show's over. Maybe they won't even know there was a show scheduled that particular night ! They just don't care all that much about this success thing, and neither should he.
    Ruminating about it, it appeared to me that the sensational Sitting in My Hotel (one of Everybody's in Show-biz' masterpieces) is almost a sequel to this. On that latter song, the singer thinks about how his friends would "laugh" if they saw him behaving like a superstar and believing/relieving in his own myth and success. But they would still try to understand him and set him straight. Both songs are probably not even about actual friends but Ray's idea(l) of what true friendship should be.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2021
  3. Martyj

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

    Maryland, USA
    A tradition, of course, not exclusive to this festival...but quite common through out the western world for centuries, only really dying out roughly mid-20th century.

    But this festival...hey, keeping the tradition alive! Preserving it, one might say. Bravo! I'm sure Ray approved.
  4. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Great, great post!
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  5. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    Of course, but at this festival they took things to a new height. There were vegetable-sellers on the way to the festival site!

    Another year an iconic French singer called Claude François was the target. He stormed off stage after a couple of songs saying he'd never sing there again.

    The organisers then nearly had a riot on their hands from the singer's fans. They made the crowd promise not to throw any more vegetables so the singer would come back on stage.
    DISKOJOE and mark winstanley like this.
  6. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Maplewood, NJ

    Not as memorable or unique as many of the other songs on the album, and I could see how some could live without it. That said, it’s such a great counterpoint to the relatively heavier, darker songs that proceed it. There’s a quote: “Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.”

    I never really put this to calypso, I just thought it was a great Kinks song. But, now with my recent discovery of “I’m on an island”, I see that they sometimes did dabble in these Caribbean vibes.

    I also never really analyzed the lyrics before, just thought it was about a popular woman in the village. Ray’s very good at painting these portraits. Makes me think of that line from Surf’s Up: “Canvas the town and brush the backdrop.” That’s what Ray has been doing this whole album.

    This part…

    I, I shall die,
    I, I shall die if I should lose Monica.
    (Oh Monica my love.)
    People can try,
    People can try, but they can't buy Monica, my love

    I count 12 different long “I” sounds in there, including: I, die, my, try, buy. It just ties that whole beautiful section together so well.

    As different as the style is, I can’t picture this song on Something Else or Face to Face. These all just seem so perfect for this collection of songs.
  7. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Earlier in this thread I spoke enthusiastically about "And I Will Love You." I pointed out that more was going on there that met the eye, and that Ray was experimenting with odd-length phrases. One can see that song as a direct predecessor to "Monica," a song with a similar rhythmic feel, and similarly uneven phrases. The phrases in the verses are three measures long, with a one measure pause in two places, like so:

    |G | G | G ||
    |D |
    ||: D | D | D :| |
    | D |
    Another way to think of it is a 4 measure phrase, a 3 measure phrase, and a 4 measure phrase.

    The chorus plays with "3" rhythms into a 4 measure, but at an accelerated scale.

    There isn't that much unusual going on harmonically in this song, but what IS going on harmonically is in service of this rhythmic tension.

    Pretty cool!

    Sorry if this has been mentioned, but the bass is doubling the vocal melody throughout the verses. The initial acoustic guitar is recorded so thinly that it's hard to hear the chords being played. I'm not sure if that was an intentional effect, but it creates a nice harmonic ambivalence and openness in the whole first part of the song.
  8. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    I have a dear, dear cousin from Eastern Europe named Monica.
    One kidney and poor health but still making the world a better place by remaining in it at 74.
    She used to listen to much of the 60's rock music in real time (That we adore on this forum) though secretively as doing so was risking arrest!
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2021
  9. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member


    Always enjoyed this song and it is certainly not my least favoured cut on this great and diverse album.

    Even if the music is simple i do love the gentle calypso styled rhythm's tension and groove and could definitely picture it in a cabaret performance as has been mentioned up thread.

    Greater still is Ray's storytelling lyrics (as usual) that for me are very cinematic as they lead you into a scene and i don't find it takes much imagination to find myself there observing or digging around for evidence.

    Ray was prepared for this with his pre homework as i recall in one documentary he stated that there was an actual Monica and he did speak to her and go as far as share a stroll with her.

    You can just see men falling for her, feel crippling self doubt, fear rejection amidst hope and basically have their lives turned upside down by such an imposibbly ravishing and sassy woman.

    If Monica had been written 40 years later it would have been written with inspiration from Monica Bellucci who coincidentally has played similar all intoxicating high class temptresses!
  10. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    People Take Pictures Of Each Other.

    stereo mix, 15-track VGPS version (2:11), recorded Jul 1968 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    People take pictures of the Summer,
    Just in case someone thought they had missed it,
    And to proved that it really existed.
    Fathers take pictures of the mothers,
    And the sisters take pictures of brothers,
    Just to show that they love one another.

    You can't picture love that you took from me,
    When we were young and the world was free.
    Pictures of things as they used to be,
    Don't show me no more, please.

    People take pictures of each other,
    Just to prove that they really existed,
    Just to prove that they really existed.
    People take pictures of each other,
    And a moment could last them forever,
    Of the time when they mattered to someone.

    People take pictures of the Summer,
    Just in case someone thought they had missed it,
    Just to proved that it really existed.
    People take pictures of each other,
    And the moment to last them for ever,
    Of the time when they mattered to someone.
    Picture of me when I was just three,
    Sat with my ma by the old oak tree.
    Oh how I love things as they used to be,
    Don't show me no more, please.

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

    In 1969 Ray said "I'm not very witty at all. I feel intensely about a lot of things but it might come out in a funny sounding way. If you can make a funny song and then have one very hard line, you reach people. That's just a construction thing."

    This song has so many different emotions running through it. There is the somewhat sarcastic lines, the touching and poignant lines, reflection, sadness .... this is like an all encompassing look at how weird it is that we take pictures of each other, and how emotional it can be to look back at them.... it is kind of like a hard focus at the idea of photos, and seems to logically follow the ideas put forward in Picture Book.
    Another thing that strikes me, and possibly the reason why I think it is such a good album closer, is it works like a summary of the whole album. We have been looking at the people and places that have come to our memory while thinking about the Village Green, our childhood, the place we call home in our mind .... and this song beautifully wraps up the whole experience.

    We have had the beautiful journey that started with a proclamation that We Are The Village Green Preservation Society, and then we have a series of songs that seem to state, to varying degrees why.
    Because Walter was worth remembering, and we had something special as kids, even if it doesn't exist now. This remembrance seems to trigger the idea of looking through our Picture Book. We remember the town rebel Johnny Thunder, and who's to say there wasn't a picture of Johnny in the book somewhere, or a picture of his bike outside the old cafe.
    This experience led us to feel like an out of date old steam train, but rather than be sad about that, we embrace it.
    All this reflection led us to ponder the Big Sky and the machinations of the powers that be, and in turn we ended up Sitting By The Riverside for the soothing relaxation of mind that it brings in this swirling mess of a world.
    While we sat by the river we thought about our ideal home on Animal Farm, and we reflected on the fact that the Village Green is not what it used to be.
    This is followed by a series of portraits of people and events in our life that seemed significant, and now as we come to the end of this particular batch of mental wanderings we return where we pretty much started off, considering the photographs that we as humans seem to love so much and how they take little edits of our lives and remind us of days gone by, people gone by, places as they were, and there is a certain comfort in that.

    I probably said this in Picture Book, but oh well. I never liked having my picture taken, but now I'm an old codger, I like looking back at pictures, and if I'm in them, it doesn't bug me, it sort of comforts me, that that young person existed and lived a life, and he loved those people around him, and he misses many of them.....

    I love that the first verse is so steeped in sarcasm. People take pictures of the summer just to prove that it really existed, and family members take pictures of each other, just to prove that they actually love each other.
    The thing is though, the change comes in ... is it the verse, or bridge ... I almost give up trying on this album ... but we get a hard dose of reality here.... as many pictures as are taken can't capture the pain that was caused by someone removing their love from us, when we were young and the world was free ... now is that freedom impeded by the reality that change is constant and people will be in and out of our lives, and remain only in pictures? that may well be too painful to look back at for a long time?
    Picture of things as they used to be ... we have just spent 40 minutes listening to how Ray's imagination pictures how things used to be .... sometimes this is overwhelming, and so in a painful twist we are told "don't show me no more please". I just can't look back at how happy and good everything looks in these pictures, and now I am old and jaded, and the innocence and sweetness of the world seems so far away, and my heart is breaking at the thought of all this loss.

    The next section has us looking really quite deep into this idea. We take these pictures just to prove that we really existed.... we really lived. there was a time when we were in the thick of it, living loving laughing ... These pictures are little moments snapped to last forever ... but here it is..... of a time when they mattered to someone.
    This whole album we have noted that this guy in his mid twenties is writing like an old man, who has witnessed 80-100 years of life, and as it is starting to run out, he is noting that he once mattered to someone, but now they are either gone, or the feelings are...

    The final section compiles the ideas from earlier sections together, to place emphasis on it.... then we end with a new thought. A picture of me when I was three, sat with my Ma by the old oak tree ... these pictures of things as they used to be are long gone. Ma has moved on to what comes next, and I won't see her in front of me anymore..... Please don't show me no more pictures, my heart can't take it.

    This is a remarkable song in so many ways, and the inevitability of some of the things we have here, causes a bit of a welling of the eye ducts.... Mum is getting on in years and has some health issues, and on the exact opposite side of the world...
    Yet again, Ray has juxtaposed this very sad and somewhat painful remembrance song, with this bouncy, fun music.

    We get a sort of showtune opening with the hesitant piano, and then race into this sort of oom pah type feel, with Peter making that bass work.
    The piano keeps on bouncing running unison lines with the vocal.
    We get a really cool variation on the la la's here with the pinched vocalisation, as if the singer is holding back tears and can't quite get out the clean la's.... his jaw is clenched in stoic rebellion of falling apart .... but the musical accents are excellent, and the guys actually get the handclaps right.

    This is a remarkable song, that caps off a remarkable album..... don't show me no more please, I may well just fall to pieces under the pressure of existence.

    Last edited: Jul 26, 2021
  11. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    People Take Pictures Of Each Other European stereo mix, with big band coda.

  12. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    This is a remarkable album album in so many ways. It is among my very favourite Kinks albums, and for so many reasons. There is a humanity about this album, that can be hard to attain in songs. There is a broad sweep of nostalgia, sometimes mixed with a hint of fantasy or idealism, but we have dark and light, and for all the fantasy leaning ideas that exist in here, there are a lot of harsh doses of reality.
    This is almost like the heart of the writer being exposed amid some jokes to soften the blow.

    We still have a lot of songs to look at, and we will be in this zone for a while, and I am not really sure what else to say about this album, but it is a very important album, and from my perspective it is hard to imagine someone not being moved by the sheer force of emotion contained within, and so many variations of emotion. a remarkable piece of work.
  14. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    This bouncy track is so pulsing and bright, with those ever-kinksian eastern european flavored lie-la-lies and handclaps… So pulsing and bright that we might miss out on the sad sentiment. But it’s definitely there. The fitting bittersweet ending to a bittersweet record, where humor and panache successfully blend with nostalgia and everlasting regret.
    I like the intro, I never noticed until today that it was the chorus’s musical phrase. It works as a “rewind” button, before Ray’s voice comes in as only Ray’s voice can, with that trumpet/fanfare phrasing that is so atypical (in general), but so typical (of him). Once again, you can only sing the title when you read it. And it’s as triumphant as it is bittersweet. An apt definition of the Kinks’ music if I ever thought of one.
  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Spot on mate...
    I like that... " as triumphant as it is bittersweet".
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  16. ajsmith

    ajsmith Senior Member

    I already posted this video for 'Picture Book', but posting it again here, cos tbh it's probably more appropriate for this song: 'People Take Pictures Of Each Other' was a regular in The Kinks setlist in early 1973 (not 1972 as it says here!) performed in a medley with 'Picture Book'.. however whereas the spritely-on-record 'Picture Book' was somewhat disappointingly slowed down for the 1973 reworking, PTPOEO got taken up a level and extended/extemporized into something just as dynamic but more expansive than the LP version, with additional almost muezzin-like vocalizations on nostalgia induced pain by Ray, and in this performance, the interpolation of 'David Watts'!

    Last edited: Jul 26, 2021
  17. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    What a great track - after countless listens I still chuckle at the line about summer.
  18. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Yeah, I would go as far as guessing this last song was written to wrap things up conceptually. In a way, the album’s become an audio “picture book” that we’ve just leafed through. As you noted, Ray’s shown us photos of Walter, Johnny, Monica, Annabella, the steamed train, the farm, the riverside, the old village, the old crowd, the old oak tree, the cat in the old oak tree (is it a cat at all ?). This is the meta aspect of the album : aren’t the songs themselves written to prove all of this really existed? Is “preservation” such a good thing after all (more on that in later records!)? And now Ray's representing us, saying "don’t show me no more, please !" It's too much to take. Too many memories fading away, too many happy moments turned sad because they are no more, too many people and places that can’t be preserved despite our best efforts. But too many songs? Hmm… I guess we’ll discuss that later this week, won’t we?

    (***please give us a little heads up about how you’re going to run it in the next few days/weeks!)
  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I was hoping to do that this morning, but I was engulfed by Pictures.
    I'll try and get something down today sometime.
    Essentially, we'll be following the super deluxe. Disc 3 and 5 will likely be first, and then probably the BBC section in a somewhat overview type way.
    A couple of the instrumentals and such are quite short, and so I will likely throw them in together, but I'll try and lay it out today some time :righton:
  20. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Somewhere Else
    Mark, just like to say you have written some great posts on this thread, as have many others. This morning's contribution is probably the most insightful of them all. A big thanks.

    Hopefully, will post something about this fantastic song later on but you are a difficult act to follow.:laugh:
  21. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Molde, Norway
    Me neither. Each and every song is a part of a bigger picture and all the better for it.

    And it is still not even close to being my favorite Kinks album :D
  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Cheers mate. It's a great thread with lots of knowledgeable folk.
    This song really digs deep for me, and this look at the album has really solidified it for me.... it's going to be a hard day, almost too much nostalgia to bear lol
    DISKOJOE and LX200GPS like this.

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    "People Take Pictures of Each Other": It seems that Ray was about 50 yrs. too early in satirizing the selfie thing, but people took many pictures of each other when the cell phone was only something found in spy or sci-fi movies. As the other Avids have pointed out, there's a mix of emotions going on here. I'm also reminded about reading somewhere that some Native Americans were leery about photography because there were concerned that part of their souls could be captured by it. I also think that there's a fear in some people that we won't be remembered after we are gone & it needs to be satisfied by having pictures taken of them to justify their existence. It's like the reason behind why I feel people are into genealogy, to show that their ancestors were great people & justify their current lives somehow.

    Anyway, it's a great & appropriate way to end this masterpiece of an album, although I do like the one w/the alternative ending that has a band that forshadows "Come Dancing".
  24. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    Today in Kinks history

    Waterloo Sunset and b-side Two Sisters gets released in the US today in 1967 - The song is listed in 2004 by Rolling Stone Magazine at number 42 in the top 500 greatest songs of all-time.
  25. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    People Take Pictures of Each Other
    First, I want to clarify that a comment I made for Picture Book belongs under this song because I just read about it in Andy Miller's 33 1/3: ...the song had been inspired by a wedding Ray and Rasa attended where he saw the bride and groom taking turns to take photos of each other.
    Second, I agree that Mark's review of this song hits the mark precisely. The light music hall-type tune tilts the emphasis of the song onto Ray's layered lyrics, which impressively work both for the song in isolation and as an overview of the album as a whole. The village green and its inhabitants are no more than photos or mental images of places and people that no longer exist - or perhaps were an ideal that never existed.
    Finally, I get the same warm feeling after I listen to this song - at the end of listening to the entire album - as I do when I've finished watching one of my favourite movies, Casablanca: it's the feeling of having just finished something that is so life-affirming I can't imagine I will ever tire of it. Unsurprisingly, this is my favourite Kinks album.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2021

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