The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Stellar. Absolutely sublime. Thank you so much for posting this stunning little clip. How many of Ray songs do this trick of the long title «singing itself » as the first melodic phrase? Made me think that in keeping with this tradition, Some Mother’s Son could’ve been called « Some Mother’s Son Died in a Field. » Anyway, it’s the best version I ever heard of this, the straightest, prettiest and even funniest. And the deeper/older voice elevates it even more. Fantastic.
  2. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Yeah, I agree. I like this better than the original, too. Worth the 100 quid!
  3. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    So there was no day off yesterday? I don't always get notified about posts which is somewhat annoying. I signed in today and I was several pages behind! Now I realize I have two songs to catch up on. I'll start with "Mr. Churchill Says".

    How wonderful to not only get thoughts on a piece of music, but also have it be a history lesson. These albums should be taught in high school. The world would be a whole lot hipper. @mark winstanley writes these posts like he has a masters in Kinkography.

    How did I know that I would have a better appreciation of this song after the discussion? I always liked this song, and it's one of the key pieces of the album, but it's never been one that I would mention as a favorite. It helps to have some more detailed background on the lyrics. Now I am hearing it as the perfect song at this point in the album. We get another Dave jam, another quirky Ray vocal, and more fantastic bass and drums. I love the part that comes after the sirens and the way Ray again goes through several different voices. The comments about the guitar having a Doors quality is spot on. Maybe after the jam on "Australia" this can come off as yet another uncharacteristic extended Kinks jam? When did The Kinks move to Haight-Ashbury and start smoking bongs with Jerry Garcia? I am only kidding. It's beautiful playing and I actually love the slight bit of jamming on this record. We are back into familiar Kinks territory on the next tune.
  4. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    "the award for best use of a kazoo in a song from the 20th century goes to...
    She's Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina" :pineapple:
    In regards to the lyrics, i go back and forth on whether I want to judge this couple (or is it just two different people unrelated, hard to say). I'm guessing these were knock-off hats so maybe it's the only positive thing they have going in their lives? But obviously if it took food out of their families' mouths, that's an issue. I'm conflicted. I don't always love the consumer culture, BUT I do occasionally do some 'retail therapy' and it sometimes is a true pick-me-up.

    Anyhoo, the music is really what I'm here for and it's a blast, especially as the song goes on. The kazoo makes me giggle and it somehow fits. I would have thought a kazoo is NEVER EVER a good choice, but once again the Kinks pull off the impossible.

    And as always, i love Dave's whoopin' in the background when they go into the last verse. and the energy the band produces, in general, channels through my headphones quite clearly. FUN! And the drums and Dave's lead bit are a "treat".

    I am not really keeping track of how this song fits in the story, but it's obvious this could offer some comic relief since there is a fair amount of heaviness on this album.
  5. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I'm starting to get the impression that Ray likes to put people in that zone. It's always a dangerous place to stand.

    It reminds me of a movie I saw called A Good Woman, based on Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan ...
  6. jethrotoe

    jethrotoe Forum Resident

    United States
    I used to dislike “She Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina.” I’m not really the biggest fan of showtunes/Vaudeville/music hall stuff. However, I’ve more recently grown to appreciate this song. I actually think the part starting with “Buddy can you spare me a dime” and then the following guitar solo with joint vocals sounds very Beatles-ish. It sounds like something McCartney would write around Abbey Road (so same era as Arthur), like the part of “You Never Give Me Your Money” that goes “Out of college money spent…” Dave’s guitar solo sounds pretty Harrison-ish to me. Dalton’s boogie woogie/rock and roll bass line is reminiscent of something like “Lady Madonna.”

    I normally get annoyed when people compare other bands (especially The Kinks) to The Beatles, but I think its appropriate in this song (and a few others, like “I’ll Remember,” although Ray dismissed that comparison).

    Something about the song’s structure and arrangement reminds me a bit of Hendrix’s “Long Hot Summer Night” too…I guess with the sort of bend-heavy, soaring guitar solo with vocals over it. That song is more blusey, but has some music hall influenced too, I think. At least in the piano.

    Lyrically, it’s a sort of typical Ray character study/observation of human behavior about lower middle class people desiring to appear or emulate the upper class, despite their limited means.

    It’s not one of my favorite Kinks songs or Arthur tracks, but I don’t dislike it either. It’s fun. Gets it’s point across. And is well written and well performed. And look out for Mick’s drumming! Oh yeah, and Dalton’s kazoo!
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2021
  7. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    I have had that Kinks Village Green box set in my cart since we started discussing it. I was hoping I could catch it one day when the price dropped. It was $128 for the longest time and then it barely dropped to $124. Now a few days later and it is $157. I think it’s slipping out of my grasp. Darn it!
  8. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    I had a similar thought and even checked the lyrics to Oklahoma USA to see if it was more than dreams.
  9. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Oh no. Gambled and lost! :( I got it it while it was around $128 (we're talking on Amazon). And with Xmas in the offing, I would think it may only go up in the next few months.
    GRAB IT!:agree::agree::agree:
  10. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    I can’t do it now! $30 more than it’s been the last two months. I can’t really afford it, but it’s gonna make me crazy when I see them for $500! If it comes back down I’ll grab it. Now I also wish I grabbed Arthur! But I think that should have included a stereo vinyl copy.
  11. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    "She's Bought A Hat Like Princess Maria"

    I never really thought much of this song. A brief little tune that brings us back to a style that would be at home on Something Else and even has a hint of Kinda Kinks when it breaks into the piano rock n roll part at 1:37. Then comes the impressive drumming from Mick and it becomes a song where I can picture Ray and band in top hats tap dancing across the stage. It has really sunk its hooks in me this last week. Sounds like classic Kinks to me. This is a type of song The Kinks do so well. It really could fit on any Kinks album and not sound out of place. I previously thought the first seven songs were impressive, but here we are at song number nine and I am still very impressed. I also find the lyrics to be amusing and it lightens the mood just like "Drivin'" did on side A. What a record! I must mention I also love the sound of the bass. I think this John Dalton is gonna work out fine.
  12. Toad of the Short Forest

    Toad of the Short Forest Forum Resident

    90220 Compton
    She's Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina's

    One of my favorites from the album! I think that part of the beauty of Arthur (and the Kinks in general) is their ability to balance fun/upbeat tracks and still be serious. The transition from She's Bought a Hat to Young and Innocent Days is a great example of this - really shows the versatility of the group and Ray's ability as a songwriter. I think few artists are able to create that balance ... and it's very self aware too I think; Ray can write a beautiful ballad like Young and Innocent Days but still place it after an almost comic vaudeville song.

    On a smaller scale, however, even Princess Marina itself is a perfect dichotomy of seriousness and lightheartedness. And I think in a way this is sort of a fusion of their early garage/proto-punk energy with their late 60s introspection and maturity. That is, the lyrics in Marina are about poverty and the war and all sorts of unfortunate things the Brits were dealing with during the war era, but there's also kazoos and it rocks real hard.

    But we all already know what the song's about and how brilliant Ray is ... what I really love about this song is the performance.

    This has got to be the Kinks at their absoute peak playing-wise imo. Even the simple-sounding slow harpsichord intro is full of complex diminished and 7th chords that is incredibly harmonically dense but sounds simple. Then there's the guitar solo and kazoos... Side note: has there ever been a bad song with harpsichord and bike horn? Tbf, the only others I can think of are the Beach Boys You Still Believe in Me and maybe the Small Faces' Just Passing...

    The rhythm section absolutely kills it on this track. The bass tone is really fat and twangy (especially in mono) and the drums are top notch. One of my favorite drum tracks for sure, next to maybe a few Soft Machine and Meters songs.

    Really, here's a video of someone covering the drum part, just to show how intense Mick''s part is on the song:

  13. jethrotoe

    jethrotoe Forum Resident

    United States
    Avory channeling Moonie.
  14. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Maplewood, NJ
    “She’s Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina”

    This is perhaps the one song on this album, if I had to pick one, where I think the album would be just as good without it. Again, only if I had to pick one. It took me a while to figure out how it really fit into the theme. But I guess I kinda get it now, after reading some of the analyses today. It kinda fits, I guess. Not sold on it.

    All that said, it’s a good fun song. I like how the kazoo comes in for that “buddy can you spare me a dime” section, and then sticks around for the fast “she’s bought a hat” section at the end. I like the sound effects. I agree with @jethrotoe on it almost being Abbey Road medleyish:

    I can hear that for sure, and was thinking something similarly.
  15. WHMusical

    WHMusical Chameleon Comedian Corinthian & Caricature

    This seems as good as time as any to mention Mick Avory's time-keeping on Arthur.

    Having revisited Arthur this past two weeks for this thread (the recent 2 cd version with Dave's "Lost Album") my big take-away was how much I'd missed how kick-ass his drumming was/is throughout this record.

    Lola and Muswell are my two favorite Kinks records, but Arthur is now getting right up there in my ever-evolving Kinks Pantheon, and a large part of it is realizing how great Mick's Sticks are on this record. That and the band are all in-syn, instinct and firing on all 4-Kink-Koiled Cylinders.

    So, I just wanted to give Avory his due props and to say I like Arthur much more than when this thread started, mainly due to all the great different and differing and well-spoken insights shared and contained up-thread, recently...:tiphat:

    Last edited: Sep 7, 2021
  16. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    She's Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina

    I like how @Fischman has spelt it out here as i feel the key point of the hat procurement (which could be represented by potentially anything) is linked to at least some or all of these feelings; pride, escapism, dignity, denial & inclusion.

    I can't imagine having my town (and perhaps home) heavily bombed and enduring years of poverty, food rationing and restrictions.
    That said i am certain i would look for any small pleasures that could be stretched over time and for our protagonist's why not a fancy a hat of the well off....even or especially when you are scrubbing the stairs?

    So I call it a spirit salve, even if the neighbour looking on believes it more than you appear to you may well benefit mentally from the pure knowledge of that fact.

    Excellent song, melody and arrangement but it sure sounds and feels like it's from a song and dance musical that aches for it's visuals and so for me it is essentially second tier to the towering edifices we've viewed.
  17. WHMusical

    WHMusical Chameleon Comedian Corinthian & Caricature

  18. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    :kilroy: I like how the second verse has the same meter as the first, but a slightly different chord progression. Beginning at 2:10, it sounds like the Jim Kweskin Jug Band doing a send-up of George Formby.

    :kilroy: 45 seconds into this, one can hear where he probably got the inspiration for most of this tune from the second verse onward:

    Billy Murray / Take Your Girlie To The Movies
  19. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    :tiphat: Oh, I don't know. There are quite a few other worthy nominees in that contest.

    Mothers Of Invention / You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here.
  20. FJFP

    FJFP Host for the 'Mixology' Mix Differences Podcast

    Boy did I fall behind. Work, Babies, and a Bank Holiday will do that to ya.

    Australia I've always had a blast with, and ever since marrying an Aussie and looking to move there it's been a little bit fun, a little bit hopeful, and a little bit bittersweet all at once. The extended outro as heard in the album context works fine for me, and has never bothered me as it does others.

    Shangri-La is just Kinky perfection, especially in Andrew Sandoval's remix on the Super Deluxe, adding all the clarity and the full dynamic shift the chorus was begging for. This and Victoria are the songs I've listened to most out of the album context, as this song is just too dang good. Every section a gem. The flow between them perfect. The edit in the bridge jarring.

    Mr Churchill Says always starts and I expect a 2:30 song. I forget just how long the instrumental section goes on for, but I love what it does. I remember reading Ray or Dave saying this was the benefit to albums at this later stage, and it certainly pays off. A bizarre choice to play on the BBC though, but I assume this was due to it being the flip to Victoria.

    ...Princess Marina initially pleases me in the same was as ...Churchill..., as I'm a sucker for all these history references! But where this track excels again is how it develops as it goes along. The soft harpsichord driven intro, the almost wonky sounding verses that follow, the kazoo stomp, Mick's insane drum break, and then the utter rave up of an outro, with the ambient yelps making the party take off. This is how you build a song, and this is hoe you pay it off. We get a little break in quality for the next 6 minutes or so, but it's still been quite the experience so far, and never does the magic truly go.
  21. FJFP

    FJFP Host for the 'Mixology' Mix Differences Podcast

    Did he give him the money?
  22. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    You too then, i had been meaning to ask for the last 150 pages if anyone else is not getting notifications of new posts besides me?
  23. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    About once a week I stop getting notifications (despite 'liking' posts) and have to do a search for the thread.
  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It's common. I often don't get notifications of my own threads lol
    Generally it seems to be something to do with a change of page... not sure why
    palisantrancho and croquetlawns like this.
  25. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Young And Innocent Days.

    stereo mix (3:19), recorded May-Jun 1969, remixed Jul 1969 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    I look back at the way I used to look at life
    Soft, white dreams with sugar coated outside
    It was great, so great
    Young and innocent days

    I wish my eyes could only see
    Everything, exactly as it used to be
    It's too late, so late
    Young and innocent days

    I see the lines across your face
    Time has gone and nothing ever can replace
    Those great, so great
    Young and innocent days

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Hill & Range Songs BMI

    So far on the album Ray has covered the Victorian Age, via the Queen herself. The First World War. The explosion of the car’s popularity. The early onset of the consumer culture and the requirements to participate. The British migration to Australia. The Western Dream of owning one’s home, as a conclusion to striving. The Second World War. The explosion of consumerism and the need to have something to make one feel like it’s all worthwhile…..

    Now we have a reflection.
    This reflection is almost like the final piece in the puzzle, that is the connection to The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society.

    It seems more and more as I go through this album, it has a deep connection to The Village Green album. Ray spent the former album ruminating on his lost Village Green, and where all those wonderful days are now. We start Arthur (The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire) with some clues as to what happened, and I think when thinking about this album and its meaning, the section in the brackets is terribly important.
    Arthur goes through a series of major events in English history, and some are world history, particularly the wars, but England was in the forefront in those wars for the most part.
    The wars also seemed to hand the baton over to the USA as the next major Empire, and the USA ran with it.
    In the process of this though, England was laid bare, and the changes in the world, and the destruction because of the wars put an end to the fairytale Village Green.

    This lyric could be about the individual and/or the country.
    It is also possible that in some way Ray is singing to the country when he says “I see the lines across your face…. Probably not, but it is possible in a poetic sense. As in the country has grown old, and the wars have put and end to the youthful empire, and now it is a shell of its former being…. I don’t know, that could be bunk, but it seems possible, if not likely.

    Lyrically this is actually quite beautiful, no matter how we interpret the way it fits in on the album.
    Either the events of life have worn us down, or we get the tandem idea I just played with.
    “I look back at the way I used to look at life”
    Soft, sugar coated, it was so great.
    There is definitely something special about innocence, and sadly few of us keep that innocence very long… it is one of the most beautiful things in the world… and I think that is why some evil people seek to take it away … but that’s a rabbit trail.
    I don’t know about anyone else, but I miss being innocent, not young so much, but innocent. There are things you can’t unsee, or unhear, and we build up a crust, and it all joins together to melt our innocence away… anyway, that’s another rabbit trail….

    “I wish my eyes could only see, everything exactly as it used to be” …. But it’s too late, so late. The innocence, or at least perceived innocence has been torn away. The ravages of the world have taken their toll, and the doe eyed wonder is gone. It can’t return. We can learn to live with it all, and we do every day, but that pure soft centre has been damaged, and it isn’t the kind of thing you can repair. You can patch it, but the scars still show.

    I See the Lines Across Your Face….
    Ok, so this is a play…. So who is singing. Is this Derek singing to Arthur, before he takes off for Australia?
    Is this this Arthur singing to Rose, or perhaps Rose singing to Arthur…
    Is there a subtext of Ray singing to England.

    Either way, time has gone, it’s too late, those young and innocent days are over.

    In many ways, when I listen to this album, I don't really hear it as a play, and I guess that's because I never really knew about the play until we started doing the album. For me it works beautifully with or without the idea of the play and the characters, because the narrative is really very clear either way you look at it. From a play perspective, I am frequently unsure who is singing what to who, but as a straight narrative that isn't part of a play, it seems to make perfect sense to me, and is almost a journal of English history, probably up to the point where rock and roll came in and changed society once again.

    We open with a really gentle and sweet acoustic guitar. It even sounds like it may be a nylon string guitar.
    Then we get these cascading lines of guitar, with the bass sitting with it beautifully. It has a baroque feel, and it works beautifully. I believe its the harpsichord coming in with some solid chords in support of the guitar and bass lines.
    You could almost hear some Bach? references here, in the way the music is constructed.

    Ray is delivering one of his most tender vocals, and there is a seriously reflective feel and vibe here. Again I don't hear any sarcasm or attempts to be witty, this is a pure and clean reflection on innocence lost, whatever context we try and sew it into.
    Dave joins Ray in a lot of the lines, and their voices blend perfectly, to create this gentle smooth melodic vocal section, that is again something that seems slightly different for the band.

    The second verse, takes on a slightly baroque dance styling, with the keys adding a rhythmic pulse to the melody.
    We get the three beat accented by the drums, and then we move into a really nice instrumental section, that is really a beautiful melodic progression. In some ways, this seems like one of those Ray songs that is more complex than a cursory listen would suggest.

    The musical layout here is really excellent, and perhaps something new again for the band.

    The final verse moves back into a more arpeggiated musical theme for the first half, and then a slightly more full second half, and again the layering here is wonderful.
    We move into a ritard to close the song.

    Then we get this almost John Williams-esque guitar close out section, and again for me this is a really wonderful addition to the album, musically and thematically.

    To some degree, I haven't really appreciated this track as much as I should have up to this point..... but the closer I look at this album, the less I see any kind of drop off..... at this point I don't see a drop off at all. I just see a perfectly constructed story, that is backed with the perfect lyrics and music to support it, and from a song perspective, all the songs here stand up on their own, even if they aren't songs I would necessarily consider to be singles. There's no denying that together these songs are a stunningly musical and historical document, but for me each of these songs stands up on their own as well.


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