The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    Money & Corruption/ I Am Your Man

    We are totally in musical theater now. It's quite brilliant how we are now completely thrust into the play both lyric wise and the sound of the music. There will be much more of this on Act 2. Then he breaks into another beautiful Kinks melody with I Am Your Man. Everyone has already made so many great points about the similarities to some of the song on Arthur.

    I'm not always a fan of the female vocals, but they do add that extra theatrical touch that Ray was going for. I can visualize everyone running about on the stage and singing together. I love these lyrics and Ray's little loopy story has sunk its hooks in me. I am as impressed as ever with everything about this record.
     
  2. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    :kilroy: I'll just state the obvious. Man, does this track need more stereo separation! I'm listening on headphones, and for the first 3½ minutes, everything is crammed together in the middle, with maybe one or two items panned to 11:00 and 1:00 o'clock at the most. This is especially apparent because there are so many instruments and vocals that are all begging to be spread across the full width of the stereo spectrum. Especially the drums. There should be a tom way to the right, a snare way to the left, high hat and ride symbol at 9:00 and 3:00 etc, but instead we get all of those things crammed together at high noon. It's making this track sound really muddled. It isn't until 3:32 that we finally hear some choral vocals panned a little further to each side, but it's too little too late. I wonder who's decision it was to make the first half of this track borderline mono.
     
  3. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Production and sound quality on this album isn't great. Act 2 is actually better in that respect.
     
  4. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    Money And Corruption/ I Am Your Man

    So this isn't really the topic I really like to listen to in my lyrical content, but no matter, this is a great song. For me, the first half is particularly compelling, especially musically. I love the acoustic underpinnings, the very English folk sounding core, and Ray's stellar vocal (augmented nicely by both Dave and the wordless female howls) as the topping.

    It's also pretty clever linking essentially two separate songs together here as while they are different characters and different styles, it's clear that the second is clearly an outgrowth of the conditions laid down in the first half.... and yet is ultimately no better despite its promise of being the antidote. Yeah, that works.
     
  5. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    Another peak of the Preservation albums, and I don't even have the time to comment. Quickly, I'll just say that to me this is one of Ray's best musical achievements. The female vocals used to bother me, but now I have fully endorsed them. They help the song achieve the ridiculous greatness that is the true glory of pop'n'roll (someone used "pop'n'roll" here, I love it and steal it). To me, Rock and Pop are the supreme arts of the ridicule, where grandeur and silliness meet and merge, releasing a nuclear blast of exhilarating energy. This song is perfect in this respect. Who else than Ray could sing such a line as "And we will nationalize the wealthy companies" ?... I love both parts, it's a great epic.

    I love Mr Black, I see him as the dictator in V for Vendetta (the graphic novel, not the movie). @Vangro may be right about Ray favouring Flash, but personnally Black moves me more. Probably because I supply an absent subtext, though.
     
  6. joejo

    joejo Well-Known Member

    Location:
    toronto
    I am sure I have made it pretty clear what I think of the KINKS already. I fell off 150 pages back. I have been listening to Muswell Hillbillies exclusively since then. British in disguise, I don't know that I would have ever figured it out. What a thread. What a band. Wow, Oklahoma U.S.A.
     
  7. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    A technical point : the long version. I've been listening to a recently remastered digital version, instead of my 1991 CD. If this CD is the same Rhino release as the one mentionned by @Fortuleo, it would mean I also have the long version of Money and Corruption / I'm Your Man. Trouble is, I don't remember having Preservation as a first track. But on Discogs, I can't find a Preservation Acts 1&2 with the same cover that wouldn't have the song Preservation as the opening track. So either I'm crazy, or I have a different Rhino edition. I'll have to check when I come back home. And I have to rip my CD, which is supposed to have a better sound according to many.
     
  8. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    Also, I heard this song the other day in a café (that has a great playlist, with occasional Kinks). It's a French singer-songwriter. The beginning of the verses is eerily similar to the beginning of Money and Corruption. At least, I thought so, but now my PC has no sound so I can't check. I count on the community to confirm. (There is no youtube link, sorry). Le Diamant
     
    Steve62, mark winstanley and DISKOJOE like this.
  9. Paul Mazz

    Paul Mazz Forum Resident

    You caught me taking a minute of down time, while helping the wife prepare to host people Christmas Eve and Christmas. Yes- the opening melody definitely sounds like Money and Corruption. Now I just have to figure out what she is singing about. My french is not that good :)
     
  10. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Location:
    Florence, SC
    There’s only one release from Rhino back in 1991 in the US and Japan.

    The Kinks - Preservation (A Play In Two Acts)

    This Money and Corruption/I Am Your Man version with the extra minute of John Gosling getting a rare chance to solo on electric piano has never turned up anywhere else. Ray edited it out for unknown reasons on the original album so this was a surprise when it came out as this was the very first CD release of these albums. It’s the same mix however, just unedited.
    All CD versions of this album start with the song Preservation incidentally.
     
  11. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    I had lunch w/my friend Jimmy today. I told him that we were now at Preservation Act I. He was happy at the fact that it has generally received a good reception here so far, as he started his Kink fandom around this time. He saw them do Preservation in 1974, which he said was the greatest live show he has seen. He also said that they were the greatest opening act opening for themselves for 45 minutes before going into Preservation. While we were eating, "Father Christmas" came on the restaurant sound system & he was commenting that the Kinks actually didn't play it on their December 1984 tour for some stupid reason.
     
  12. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    Thanks for checking! The lyrics are somewhat surrealistic, with the narrator being in a dream that appears to be suspended in the middle of the paddy fields, then someone, a guy I guess, recognizes her in a glass palace, whatever. I think she met some very desirable guy (or girl, I don't know what's her trade), and she just can't believe her luck.

    Anyway, what's interresting and worth noticing is, there's a tramp mentionned. She seems to be feeling "like a tramp in front of a diamond". Well, like a beggar, to be more accurate. This seems to be the chorus.
     
  13. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    Thanks

    So it's official : I'm crazy.
     
  14. Luckless Pedestrian

    Luckless Pedestrian Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    There’s a poetic contrast between Money and Corruption and I Am Your Man that I find interesting, in how it helps establish and contrast the corresponding sentiment and mood of each section.

    Money and Corruption
    Are ruining the land
    Crooked politicians
    Betray the working man


    Here the stress pattern varies between (unstressed/stressed) and (stressed/unstressed) throughout the verses which gives them a lack of stability, an up and down feel. In addition there is a complex rhyme pattern, crossing every other verse which adds to the complexity. Together with the fast tempo (either 6/8 or 3/4 time) this creates a lot of commotion, emphasizing the unease and unrest the population is expressing.

    And we will nationalise the wealthy companies
    And all the directors will be answerable to me,
    There'll be no shirking of responsibilities
    So people of the nation unite.


    Here in contrast we have a nearly constant iambic flow of unstressed/stressed syllable pairs in each verse, along with consistent rhymes at the end of the first 3 verses (companies/me/responsibilities), and an inner rhyme, with people, in the last verse. This is performed over a moderate 4/4 tempo, a further release of the tension established in the first section. This construction emphasizes Mr. Black’s message: he will bring the situation under control, he will bring peace and stability to the people. The precise enunciation of the multi-syllabic words (nationalize, answerable, responsibility) help establish that Mr. Black is a serious, focused person who is capable of solving the complicated issues facing the nation.
     
  15. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Great analysis/breakdown. Well said.
     
  16. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Great way to break down what I was hearing. I couldn't put words to it...until now.
     
  17. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    I had this frustrating feeling too, which can be very annoying, especially with melodies as catchy as I'm Your Man's. And then it happened : I was singing it to myself absentmindedly and after the first melodic phrase, it morphed into the beginning of… Black Messiah, a 1978 tune by a cool band you might've heard of, called the Kinks !!

    The opening lines "I visualise a day when people will be free" / "Everybody got the right to speak their mind" are the exact same notes in the same meter and pace, set on the same pair of chords. Eureka ! A song about a "demon" called Mr Black and a song about a black "Messiah" setting the world on fire… Knowing Ray's tendency to subliminally quote himself, I wouldn't call it a coincidence…
     
  18. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    I think part of the issue is that I heard Act II before Act I, so the bit I am thinking of may just be the bit in "Shepherds Of The Nation" which reprises the melody from "I Am Your Man" towards the end!

    It does sound a bit like "Black Messiah" though (although that's a song I try not to remember!)
     
  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Here Comes Flash.

    stereo mix, recorded May-Jul 1973 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    (Sung by Chorus and Scared Housewives)

    You'd better run, you'd better fly.
    Hide your daughters, hide your wives.
    Lock your doors and stay inside
    Here comes Flash.

    There's no way that you can win,
    You must obey his every whim,
    Or else he's going to do you in.
    Here comes Flash.

    He will smile at you, be a friend to you,
    Then he's gonna screw you just like that.
    He is going to use you, his heavies will abuse you,
    And then he's gonna lean on you,
    Here comes Flash.

    He is gonna rough you up,
    Duff you up and touch you up,
    And then he's gonna screw you up.
    Even though he's mean on you,
    There's nothing else that you can do
    Just sit back and take his abuse.
    He will smile at you, be so sweet to you.
    Then he's gonna cheat on you.

    You'd better run, you'd better fly.
    Hide your daughters, hide your wives.
    Lock your doors and stay inside.
    Here comes Flash.

    Once we loved and trusted him,
    Now his thugs and bullies make us live in sin.
    They suppress us, oppress us, molest us, possess us.

    You'd better run, you'd better fly.
    Hide your daughters, hide your wives.
    And lock your doors and stay inside.

    He will smile at you, be a friend to you,
    Then he's gonna screw you just like that.

    You'd better run, you'd better fly.
    Hide your daughters, hide your wives.
    And lock your doors and stay inside.
    Here comes Flash.

    There's no way that you can win,
    You must obey his every whim
    Or else he's going to do you in.
    Here Comes Flash.
    Here Comes Flash.

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Davray Music Ltd.

    So in the last song we have Mr Black introduced to us, and the direct follow up is his direct competition, Mr Flash/Flash.

    This song has such rapidly delivered lyrics and a slightly unusual mix, that I have never really heard the lyrics, except for a word here and there.
    I really like the intro, the lead guitar riff is very cool, and it sort of brings to mind The Shadows a little, crossed in a hybrid of sorts with some Surf guitar type stuff, while also making me think of some kind of spy movie music …. So I am doing an awful job of nailing it, but hopefully that makes sense…. That’s just what it feels like, to me….

    Lyrically we actually have a fairly simple and straight forward lyric. Flash is no good. He is somewhat like a gangster boss in the description laid out, and he managed to get into power via some charisma that people were drawn in by. Ironically enough, the same thing is going to happen with Mr Black……
    I think there are some real subtleties underneath Ray’s somewhat obvious lyrics….. and it makes me think of the Who again “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.

    So essentially, we need to stay away from Flash, because he is a user and abuser. He is like a cheating partner, who sucks up when it suits, but will always just do what they want, in an almost sociopathic way.
    We also find out that he has thugs, like a gangster boss, who are his enforcers. Essentially, he is going to do exactly what he wants and needs to, to get his desired ends…. So yea, another person who should not be leading anyone. A self-involved person who is certainly looking out for number one and feathering his own nest.

    Interestingly we have the lines
    Once we loved and trusted him,
    Now his thugs and bullies make us live in sin.
    They suppress us, oppress us, molest us, possess us.

    So, he sweet talked his way in, and then it was revealed he is a fraud, and a liar, and is taking everyone for granted.
    The main thing about this line that I don’t really like, conceptually, is we can’t blame others for our actions and reactions, if we are living in “sin”, that is a choice of our own making.
    Certainly though, thugs and bullies oppressing and suppressing etc, is not an ideal scenario to find ourselves in, though these days these types of folk manifest in all forms of life …. and particularly it seems, on internet platforms, where they can hide in the shadows while throwing their bitterness into the world.

    Musically we have a fast paced track that isn’t really very easy to define. We go through a series of sections that link together nicely, but they are quite different in their styling.
    We open with Dave giving us a lead vocal, and that is nice to hear. One of the things about Kinks albums I enjoy, is Dave stepping in to change the tone a little bit and add to the diversity that their albums generally give us.

    The sound of this track is a little odd, and I am not sure what it is, perhaps one of our audio experts can step in and illuminate me on what it is. It is like everything is there, but it doesn’t quite sound right. Perhaps it is just a slightly unbalanced mix?

    We do get a chorus of vocals with, I think, Dave, Ray and the ladies mixed together, and at various times a different one will rise to the surface.

    This is kind of a rock song, but it has these somewhat odd showtune type sections coming in and out of it, between the rock bits.
    I will look forward to reading some other folks thoughts about this one, because I am finding it hard to put my finger on it. It is a kind of odd song and is very structurally unusual.

    I don’t dislike this track at all, but it is likely my least favourite of the tracks we have looked at so far, but there again, it is somewhat essential to the story, as it lines up nicely with the story, and where we are in it.

    The Village Green is not the idyllic place it one was, in many ways. We have all these innocent bystanders living their lives, and it all seems peachy…. We see there is going to be a change in the weather (circumstances/situation), then the Vicar warns us to play with a straight bat and follow good principles…. Then we have yesterday’s song which suggests something caused some unrest, and Mr Black stepped up, seeing it as an opportunity to enforce his form of leadership on everybody. Today we have a little backstory I guess, and we find that Flash is essentially a kind of mafia type leader who enforces his rules and ideals on everybody with force, and oppression.

    Here Comes Flash seems like an odd title at first, because he has already been there, and all the people know him, and they used to love him. This seems more like here comes Flash to try and regain control of the Village Green, and using some pretty questionable methods to do so.

    Although the story is starting to come out, we are still in a mode of setting up a scenario and introducing characters. It is like act I is really, just setting the scene and giving us the backstory before we get to the heart of the matter.

     
  20. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Here Comes Flash"

    We are very much into the theatrical/stage show element here. Starts off with a nice groove, and I like the main guitar riff. A rare chance for a Dave lead vocal as well.

    I like the way that the timpani drum replaces the title words after the first verse. Not so keen on the operatic middle section. Of all the tracks on Act I, this one is probably the one with the least mileage outside the album context. Also probably the track which would most have fans of 60s Kinks reacting "WTF?".

    Why is it only the housewives who are scared? Shouldn't the men (and ladies who aren't housewives) be concerned about Flash's antics too?

    Anyway, it's completely bonkers but I like it. Within the album context it's an entertaining diversion, and if you like that main guitar riff be prepared for it to reappear in Act II for "Flash's Confession".
     
  21. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Yeah, the intro is almost a song in itself. What a fantastic sound ! This is “Flash’s theme”, and it will indeed come back with a vengeance (and some wah-wah effect) in Act 2, for one of the greatest unsung Kinks masterpieces, Flash’s Confession. So this intro is Flash incarnate, and then the song’s all about the villagers reacting to his arrival. What a great way to introduce the main character of the story, as fantastic and fascinating an anti-hero as there ever was in pop (he’s a bad guy, and he’ll lose against somebody worse than him). Now, I agree the song itself is so-so, especially the recording, which somewhat lacks punch and power, despite the timpani blasting the "here comes Flash" hook. The mix is really awful on some of these tracks, as @idleracer observed yesterday, especially on the vocals. I like the Dave’s lead well enough, but the other singers are a bit of a mess (as opposed to the Weather song, where I find the effect absolutely magical). But man, this intro is something else with this fabulous dramatic theme/riff played together by guitar and bass an octave apart, with a real punkish attitude. Just this recurring theme makes this song unforgettable. Well, this theme and the timpani. Any use of the timpani in pop will always get my vote. I might even do a playlist of those, sometime.
     
  22. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Don't like this track much. I can imagine it would be fun on stage but I'm sitting at home listening to it so that's not much use to me. It has a sort of silly capering feel that the Kinks have done before, but much better - something like "People Take Pictures of Each Other", for instance - but here wedded to a bombastic mock-operatic show tune approach and it's not a happy marriage in my opinion! Lyrics are very cleverly put together again, he certainly could write a lyric that boy!
     
  23. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    That 'rough you up/ duff you up/ touch you up' lyric is delicious though I imagine non-UK listeners had to guess what 'duff you up' meant.
     
  24. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    'Flash' is a fantastic track, and really gives Dave a chance to shine with both his vocals and guitar. Another highlight on this unfairly dismissed album.
     
  25. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Many have observed that the rhythm and meter of this one (in particular the 3 note refrain at the end of each thunderous verse) is highly reminiscent of Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’* and I’d have to agree. It’s perhaps the first instance of Ray and the Kinks ‘borrowing’/taking inspiration from not an antecedent or peer but an act that came after them. Makes me a bit sad in a way, like it’s one of the first signifiers that they’re falling behind the frontiers of rock music and are playing catch up. (I know I’m reading way too much into this probably) .

    On the other hand, that spiderweb sinister riff is just brilliant, maybe too good for the rest of the song and was indeed cannily repurposed across the second Act as a highly effective theme for Flash. It seems to needle with Cassandra like forbodence not only for the evil that Flash will do, but also with knowledge of his own inevitable undoing. Can’t help but have a hunch that Dave came up with that key phrase.

    *(I know everyone here will be familiar with Paranoid, but I wanted an excuse to post this neat early colour Top Of The Pops performance):

     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2021

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