The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    People Take Pictures of Each Other

    Earlier, I noted an apparent redundancy between the opening cut and Village Green, although it's easy to see the different purpose served by each of those songs. Here, we have another seeming redundancy between this track and Picture Book. Interestingly though, the real connection here is between this song and that opener, despite them both having similar titles and subject matter to other songs on the album. This and the opener make perfect bookends, the first introducing us to the conceptual theme of the album and this providing the capstone.

    This song perfectly encapsulates both the joys and pains of nostalgia. It really is brilliant in that regard.

    I personally have another takeaway from this song, one that I do think Ray intended to be one of the many layers reflected therein. The recurring theme of proving that someone or something really existed is key. People really get carried away trying to document their experiences, ostensibly so they can remember/relive/relay them later. The downside to that is that we are sometimes so adamant about documenting our experience that we aren't really experiencing it in the moment. I like taking/having pictures as much as the next guy, but sometimes I just want to fully live in the moment. You know how the mere fact of observing something can change it? Stopping an event in an attempt to freeze time is a perfect example of that.

    While maybe less tangible, sometimes the mental pictures we retain from truly living the moment are more meaningful than posed stills. Both have their place and balance is key, just as is remembering the good and the bad of our nostalgic pasts. All that said, I'm very glad that Ray retained and so beautifully expressed so many characters and moments from his nostalgic past, painful though it may have been. We are all greatly enriched as a result.

    Adjectives fail me when trying to describe this album. It is all everyone has said, and more.
  2. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Maplewood, NJ
    People Take Pictures of Each Other
    The perfect closer for this incredible album. The mix of emotions, the reflection on the canvas that Ray has brushed over the previous 14 songs. The specific mention of the "old oak tree" where he met a girl called Daisy and kissed her. The double-meaning and usage of "picture", with the first obvious being a photograph (a noun), but the second meaning of "imagine" (a verb), with the line "You can't picture love that you took from me". That's what Ray has been doing throughout the album. He's not just talking about photographs and memories, but also imagining what the Village Green was like "when he was just 3". All is he has is pictures of that time. He doesn't have any actual memories of those summer vacations with fat old Uncle Charley in sunny Southend. He has to imagine what it was like, what the Village Green was like. He knows the old oak tree is still there, but for other things, he has to picture it in this mind. Pictures to prove they really existed, and picturing what may have existed and how things used to be. After seeing what it was like, maybe that's why he doesn't want to see any more... It's too much.

    The "la la las" at the end of the song are a great way to end it. I prefer that over the alternate coda. I can imagine Ray and the rest of the Preservation Society riding off into the sunset, singing "la la la, la la la la la" as they find the next Village Green worth preserving.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2021
  3. Paul Mazz

    Paul Mazz Senior Member

    Nice post. I tend to try to err on the side of experiencing things in the moment, even though I sometimes wish I had more photos or video to document an event, or had more photos of friends that have passed. I end up singing this song to myself often when people I know are so wrapped up in taking photographs that they seem to forget to enjoy themselves.
  4. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    I remember reading a 1968 interview with Ray at the time I discovered this album (in the mid 80's), and they discussed the big band coda as if it was the standard end of the album. Ray made some comment about some tendency he had to finish things in a grand way, or to put a bow on them or something (forgive my vagueness.... I read this some 35 years ago). The exchange confounded me, because I did not hear this ending on the album as I had it. So, the interview must have been over the 12-song version, or at least some advance copy that still had that ending. I'm presuming this version was axed by the time of the 15-song UK release?

    When I finally heard the alt, I was further confounded, because I had presumed that there was a version with a dixieland band actually playing along with the Kinks, when what we have here is clearly an imported sampled track that had nothing to do with the Kinks' performance. I mentioned this before -- does anyone know where this recording came from? Is it a left-hand Mellotron sample? Or something from a tape library?

    Once again I feel like I'm working on a trivial point, when I have almost too much to say about the song. Perhaps I feel that addressing the song itself is a little like dancing about architecture.... or, given my workday, I'm just trusting that others will address it beautifully enough.

    Well, OK, here is something I have to say about this one, but it's more about the song in context.

    This song is actually one of at least a trio of songs that addresses people trying to capture something intangible in pictures -- and failing.

    Picture Book:
    "Picture book, of people with each other, to prove they love each other a long ago."

    People Take Pictures of Each Other:
    "People take pictures of each other, And the moment to last them for ever, Of the time when they mattered to someone."
    "You can't picture love that you took from me, When we were young and the world was free."

    This second line is nearly mimicked in the rejected track "Pictures in the Sand," one of the two songs from the "Great Lost Kinks Album" that Ray did not allow to be re-released until very recently (which confounds me, as I like it a lot):

    "If I didn't have a dime,
    Would you still be loving me?
    While I spend my whole life through,
    Drawing pictures just for you.
    But I could never draw my love,
    It's so very hard to do."

    I know we'll get to that track soon enough, but this seems like a decent moment to look at this concept as it extends over all these songs. "Pictures in the Sand" is not about photos, but it does seem to acknowledge the transience of any artistic gestures to freeze in time our connection to others. At the same time, it also connects these songs to a few lines in "Monica":

    "And every guy think he can buy her love,
    But money can't buy sweet lovin' from Monica."
    "People can try, but they can't buy Monica, my love."

    So, we can't hold onto love through photos, or our art. We can't buy love, either (though it can perhaps lead to certain transactions that can have us confused and asking questions about whether we are being loved at all). And we can't buy the souls of people, which is almost saying the same thing.

    But love seems to be there, to have in flickering moments, if we can be in the moment at all. Which is not the easiest thing to do. Which brings us back to "Sitting By the Riverside," perhaps the song on the album which has our characters most successfully in the moment.

    I think there is a separate post to be had detailing the pairings of songs on the album. The two "Village Green" and the two "Picture Book" songs are the obvious ones, but I am noticing, for the first time, that the entire album seems to be set up such that most songs are adjacent to another song that is in direct conversation with it. Sometimes a song can be paired with one on either side of it, too. I have to think that was deliberate. It's all the more remarkable, because the _musical_ progression of the album is so very satisfying. When I talked about moving songs around to accommodate the addition of "Days," I found that I didn't want to change any of the song positions because each flowed so perfectly into the next, as is.

    I do feel that the album *does* have the weakness (and maybe only that weakness) of missing a climactic "11th hour" number. Side two flows effortlessly, and compellingly, but doesn't really build and give us a catharsis. Night falls, and it ends. "Days" would have fit the bill of a catharsis, and there was actually room to fit it as a 9th song on the side, timing wise -- But I agree with donstemple's assessment that "Days" also doesn't quite fit, as it would be the one song where the narrator is specifically "you":

    A song that might have worked between Monica and the final song, and was recorded during the album, is "Til Death Us Do Part," even though it's not as dark as "Days." It does have the same problem donstemple talks about. More to the point, though, I think Ray didn't even consider it, because it was a movie theme, and perhaps something Ray thought of as hackwork (even though it's in my top 10 Kinks songs).
  5. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    If you’ll pardon the pun, there were quite a few (At The) ‘11th Hour’ songs that could have potentially gone on this album, although ‘Did You See His Name?’ was the only one The Kinks recorded properly.

    The eleventh hour Ray Davies Kinks demos?
  6. Allthingsmusic

    Allthingsmusic Forum Resident

    I have had as much as I can handle. "Don't show me no more, please" Life can be so many things, memories, experiences, we have to step back sometimes. Thanks Mark and everyone else. What a thread!
  7. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Ha ha!! good one. And that track was sent to the US for possible inclusion on their weird unreleased 1968 album.
  8. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    "People Take Pictures Of Each Other"

    Just been reading the previous comments and there is no way I am going to be able to match those! I'm surprised that the word "flamenco" hasn't been mentioned yet, as that is what the middle section brings to mind for me - just another of the vast range of musical styles pulled off successfully on this album. The style of the main part of the song is pretty unique - I can't think off hand of another track which has that kind of "oom-pah" bounce. Lyrically of course it is fantastic, and ties up the themes of the whole album - and the way that the title itself fits into the metre is superb. It is an ideal closer for the album, although like others I would maybe have liked to have it preceded by a bigger track to which PTPOEO would be a postscript.
  9. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Davies performs his usual trick of dressing up a sad lyric in a jaunty tune. There will be more of these.

    Being the youngest of my family I was the last to get a camera. By the time I did we must have amassed thousands of prints and, like all other families, we would carefully arrange them in albums for future viewings. I took thousands of slides because I loved the beautiful life-like colours they produced and it was much more fun gathering everyone around for a slide show than simply passing a photo album around. My slide collection in now up in the loft and I haven't taken any slides for many years. A few family members are no longer with us and so I think I would now find a slide show a bit difficult. I mention this because of the 'don't show me no more please' line in the song. We all know exactly what Ray means here - viewing old photographs can be a painful experience. It seems it took Ray a few years to finally learn this lesson though. Andy Miller mentions that it wasn't until 1976 that he was belting out 'No More Looking Back'.

    Is the Village Green a real place or just a state of mind we can all visit in our own way when we look at old photographs of our friends and family and remember all those young and innocent days?

    It's another great song that we can all relate to and a fantastic closer for the album. The only other track I think would be a good choice is 'Days' but that doesn't really count because it wasn't on the album released.
  10. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    That track is definitely on my own personal Village Green playlist.
    ajsmith and mark winstanley like this.
  11. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    :kilroy: I love everything about this. From that Katchaturian's Sabre Dance meter to that Greek folk-dancing instrumental break. Here in the states, there was a children's program called "The Soupy Sales Show" which had theme music with that same manic energy. It's always reminded me of it:

  12. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident


    "Picture yourself in a boat on a river ... "

    The Beatles , Lucy In The Sky

    Some things you can easily picture and some things you can't. But you can always try to understand the motives behind a picture.

    And that's where things get complicated. Pictures can contribute to reassuring nostalgia which we get a lot of on this album. But pictures can also remind you too acutely of things and people that no longer exist and have gone forever.

    Hence the line "Don't show me no more please". Too many pictures of the past can lead to emotional overload.

    They can remind you cruelly that the past was a better place and that you no longer have the love that was there.

    Musically fun and ironically upbeat. I don't think it should have ended the album, but we'll talk about that more tomorrow.
  13. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    People Take Pictures Of Each Other
    Yep, not sure you could have ended this sensational album with a better song.
    I'm about to head off on vacation/holiday in two days and yes, I will be taking pictures of the family while away. I know someday I will be looking back on them as the good ol' days. Maybe. At this moment, there is family stuff going on where I may be say someday "don't show me no more, please". Past, present, future...we're all conflicted. The good thing is that time helps smooth out some of the bumpy bits of the past, eh?

    Ray's voice cracks me up though. It's almost like he's half holding his breath. Love that Ray experiments with his voice in what could be considered odd ways. Part of the reason I love this band. they're not conventional.

    and I love the little sigh before Ray sings the final refrain. this reminiscing sure is tiring.
    Thank you Kinks for an interesting journey. :love:
  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Have a great vacation, I hope to see you back afterwards.
  15. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Thanks! But I won't be going anywhere as far as you're all concerned. Hee! I'll be checking in regularly. Just having a relaxing vacation and the Kinks will be a part of it. :D
  16. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    People Take Pictures Of Each Other

    So we reach the finale of this incredible musical journey. I was just on an overnight trip visiting a close friend that I haven't seen in a couple years. By the end of the visit I realized we didn't take any pictures of each other! We were just enjoying being able to hang out. Often the best times are never captured because you are simply living the moment. Nowadays there are plenty of people who live behind this camera lens. It didn't happen if I do not constantly document it, and in the process you forget to enjoy the moment. Thankfully, an iPhone commercial didn't hijack this song for todays selfie crowd.

    I love old photos and photography, but there is a point were it's overkill. There are 30,000 photos on my computer from the last ten years. I'm glad they are stored there and not in a 100 shoeboxes in the attic, but nothing beats the actual photo book you find in the attic. Anyhow, the song is a perfect way to end the record. A snapshot that will last forever. Such a brilliant album and an amazing thread of insightful commentary.

    Thank you @mark winstanley for proving that super Kinks fans really exist!
  17. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly 1964-73 rock's best decade

    People Take Pictures Of Each Other
    A kind of fun jaunty good time music feel, but like much of this part of the album-not the elite stuff.
    zipp and mark winstanley like this.
  18. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Dearborn, MI
    I'm glad we're not doing 2 songs a day, because I've been playing catch-up this entire album.

    "All of My Friends Were There" - Verses so vaudeville. So jovial. Not sure if it's considered a chorus as the lyrics are different each time, but the touch of the organ in the left and acoustic in the right, when we reach the end of each section is sublime: "All of my friends were there" the first time & "I went to that old cafe" the next. I can't see any of their contemporaries doing a song like this.

    "Wicked Annabella" - Last year I put this on a Halloween playlist. A good Dave vocal on this dark and eerie tune that teaches you not to travel to far from the village green. Who knows what may lurk on the outskirts? "She's in perpetual midnight / She shuts out the day / And goes about her sinful ways." The ending is great with that drum and feedback combination.

    "Monica" - I never thought of her as a prostitute but what I'm reading suggests she is. Not the most wholesome of village green experiences. Maybe she's found in the dark areas by wicked Annabella's house. "I, I shall die, I, I shall die" is one of those great vocal hooks like "BAY-bee, you don't know what you're SAY-in'" in "Starstruck." There are plenty of catchy melodies just oozing out of these songs.

    "People Take Pictures of Each Other" is the perfect way to end the album. It's a sad topic but performed so briskly. We return to the idea of pictures again and the uses people have for them. "People take pictures of each other... of the time when they mattered to someone." While he enjoys the pictures, they bring him sadness.. memories of happier times. I totally get that. I take a lot of pictures of my kids but it's hard to see them smaller.. just like it's hard to see relatives who have passed on. I think fondly of them, but it's the passage of time that brings me down. Pictures seem to make us realize how fast time flies where we may not feel that otherwise.

    I love this album.
  19. Safeway 2

    Safeway 2 Forum Resident

    Manzanillo Mexico.
    People Take Pictures Of Each Other-While there’s no epic closer, there is, though, is a closing of the book, an end to our visit to the Village Green at least for now. The song takes a more jaundiced view of the human obsession with photography. In this take, photography is a tool used to raise one’s status or give someone a sense of identity in our depersonalized world. It means something so different in the modern age of the selfie where everything must be documented, but the message remains: being involved in life is preferable to just looking at it. The melody is so catchy and this is done so well. I think we can all truly empathize with the line, “Don’t show me no more, please,” especially in this phone-camera dominated world of selfies. I love the way this song fades out with The Kinks la-la-ing the melody, as it is the perfect way to end this most melodic record.
  20. Safeway 2

    Safeway 2 Forum Resident

    Manzanillo Mexico.
    People Take Pictures Of Each Other-There’s no epic closer. What there is, though, is a closing of the book, an end to our visit to the Village Green… at least for nowThe album ends with the bouncy romp, “People Take Pictures of Each Other,” a song that takes a more jaundiced view of the human obsession with photography. In this take, photography is a tool used to raise one’s status or give someone a sense of identity in our depersonalized world: Finally, “People Take Pictures Of Each Other” (“to prove that they really existed”) means something so different in the modern age of the selfie where everything must be documented, but the message remains: being involved in life is preferable to just looking at it.The melody is so catchy and this is done so well that it's hardly worth complaining that they tried this sort of song before...I think we can all truly empathize with the line, “Don’t show me no more, please,” especially in this phone-camera dominated world of selfies. I love the way this song fades out with The Kinks la-la-ing the melody, as it is the perfect way to end this most melodic record
    mark winstanley likes this.
  21. Safeway 2

    Safeway 2 Forum Resident

    Manzanillo Mexico.
    The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society-As I try to shake the cobwebs of my teenage mind some 50+ years ago I can still recall the release of this epic. After the incredible run up to Someting Else what pleasant surprises lurked inside the shrink wrap of this new Kinks release? Certainly they couldn't top the previous releases. Well on paper they didn't. It wouldn't even chart in the US. But what was most peoples loss was all of our gain. Yes they topped F2F and Something Else
    IMHO.. I realize some of you on here would disagee, but it's all good because we are still members of this fraternity. Picking a favorite Kinks release is as difficult as picking a favorite child.
    The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society is the musical equivalent of the perfect trip to favorite vacation. Sunny weather with cool breezes, no crowds, no lines, no drama, no *#{holes trying to push to the the best seats. A rock classic. A peerless 60s album in style, tone, and attitude. A gentle iconoclastic work from a great songwriter. This is a story of passionate commitment to an artistic vision. Sometimes an artist simply must do what must be done. I'm sure Ray and Dave wished to be "Rock Stars" but they never compromised their commitment to the thing they wanted to create. Each song is like a little sanctuary where you can spend moments immersed in a story, a character, or a perceptive observation of human nature while listening to melodies and harmonies that provide delicious stimulation. A natural and technical high. (And of course you could add your own condiments if necessary).
    My favorite song? I'm sorry, all of them!
  22. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    I will let my sweet slice of heaven (that’s Courtney) know you ladies would like her to step up and represent as well by getting her own log in. She is a huge music fan and huge kinks fan, but would not typically approach music by listening to an album or by analyzing it song by song (or comment about it on a nerdy site like this). I figured I could lure her in by doing the “hey, you can comment under my name” schtick. Once she sees these messages, I am betting she will join you in a show of support!
  23. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    Animal Farm: As noted previously, I am really listening to this album (other than the two songs which appeared on Kinks Kronicles) for the first time. Although I have been listening to it pretty regularly now for the past two weeks, Animal Farm had not really jumped out to me as one of the top songs initially. In this case, this thread really helped me focus. Seeing how highly it was regarded by the majority here, I went back and re-listened to it more closely, with a focus on the word play, musical ebbs and flows, etc. which others have brought out as attributes here. You guys are right, this one’s a great song too! I previously mentioned two weaker songs on side two, now we’re down to one weaker song.
  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    That would be cool. Hopefully she'll chill and join in.
  25. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Been putting off commenting on People Take Pictures...

    It's a nice song and I like it. Contrary to the vast majority of people posting here, I don't think it's a good song to end the album on. Musically, it doesn't feel like a grand finale, nor is it one of the very best songs on the album IMHO. It sounds like it should be tucked in the middle somewhere. As for lyrically... I can see how it fits really well with the theme of the album, but it seems quite a downer note to end on. "All My Friends Were There" would have made a brilliant final track (if it's not too much of a cliché to end with the music hall track, e.g. Between the Buttons).

    But then, why ask me, because there is clearly a lot about this album I'm still not getting. It's fine but its overall unified plan as a concept album is still something I'm reading about rather than directly feeling from the record.

    I should probably read Andy Miller's book. I love Andy Miller and his podcast, so I'm sure I'll enjoy it. I've been holding out for a cheap used copy somewhere. But it seems to be pretty highly sought after.

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