The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Adam9

    Adam9 Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    "Where Have All The Good Times Gone" was covered by both David Bowie and Van Halen so its popularity was sort of resurrected.

    John Mendelsohn waxes rapsodic over "I Need You" on the liner notes of the U.S. Arthur (or elsewhere, I'm not sure).

    I heard "I'm Not Everybody Else" in a TV commercial not so long ago.

    The last time I saw Ray Davies in concert, he performed "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" and "Where Have All The Good Times Gone".
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2021
  2. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Announcement 1
    Question: who is the voice on the announcements? it can't be Ray. if it is, he's doing an excellent imitation of someone who is not him. LOL
    I'm not enamored by the announcements. Feels a bit too War of the Worlds to me and maybe over the top or unnecessary. We'll see as the story goes on if they really add anything. I'm doubtful.

    Introduction to Solution
    The name of this song doesn't make sense to me, but whatever.
    I love the initial drums. They really get my attention, and I use crappy headphones, but those beats come through nice and strong. And then the initial guitar sound hooks me too.
    The best part of the song is clearly "but meeee..." - hands down. With regard to the lyrics and the beginning of this story...I'm not sure if I care at all. :(
    and between the flute (or whatever instrument that is) and Ray's vocals - I'm hearing Jethro Tull. Which ain't helping matters.
    I'm not overwhelmed or all that excited with this one.
     
  3. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
  4. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    mark winstanley likes this.
  5. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Location:
    Florence, SC
    Yes, you should. I suggest picking up the 1 disc 1995 CD which is a stereo remix of the original album plus a good selection of bonus tracks. Like several albums by The Kinks from the same era, there are later 2 disc and 5 disc mega sets collecting the original mono and original stereo mixes plus tons of bonus material, but that’s a lot to absorb if you’ve never heard the original album.

    The Who – The Who Sell Out (1995, CD)
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2021
  6. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Miami Beach FL
    I was already a long time Kinks fan before I ever heard Van Halen’s cover of the song.… But I must confess, it was the VH version that I heard first. I suspect that that may be true for many people, and if so, I suspect that may be where the song’s reputation actually comes from.

    I have seen nothing but negative comments towards Van Halen thus far on this thread, but I think they should be commended for bringing both Where Have all the Good Times Gone and You Really Got Me to a whole new audience. Say what you want about that band, but obviously someone (I am betting Eddie) was a big Kinks fan.
     
  7. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston TX
    I guess this is where I fall. There is a lot to like about the track, but it feels like there is a musical payoff or release that doesn't come. Maybe that's intentional, idk, but it falls short for me.

    The announcements do feel a little corny but at least they are brief.
     
  8. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    Maybe this is why Ray decided to call it an introduction? The payoff comes tomorrow!
     
  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    The payoff works for me here lol
    I'm not sure what everyone else is hearing lol
     
  10. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Location:
    Dearborn, MI
    Please be patient with me as I now try and catch up from before Christmas. I was super busy at work getting ready for Christmas and then busy being single dad for Christmas.. and then I got sick which I am still getting over.

    "Where Are They Now?" - This is a great track but feels like it could have been a classic if he didn't name drop so many people nobody knows. As it stands, it's quite dated. I get his point, but nobody knows who these people are. I used to think the vocal was a bit tired but I've grown to appreciate that it fits the song well. The "where are all the protest songs" bit is telling. Soon the punk movement would come about, which was anti-establishment. But then 90s punk just became the groupthink mouthpiece of one side. Even bands like Green Day who say "question everything," question nothing when their guy is in charge. Sadly it's only awful stuff like new country that criticizes leaders these days (in the US at least).

    "One of the Survivors" - A real fun song. Prominent Dave backing vocals. The band sounds more confident here than anywhere else on the album so far. Nothing too deep here. Just an ode to early rock & the rockers who brought it to us.

    "Cricket" - I love this track musically. Lyrically, I feel I'm missing some context here. That doesn't damper the enjoyment, though. I very much appreciate quirky tracks like these. I did notice how loud Ray's vocals get, which is not a common thing in the post-Lola catalog thus far. So it CAN be done.. lol.. they do remember how to push that fader up! Beware the Demon bowler.

    "Money and Corruption/I Am Your Man" - Who put on the Hair soundtrack? This sure comes out of nowhere. A sudden theatrical production emerges after our little Cricket ditty. I don't care for this one at all. The 2nd half is more tolerable than the first, though I don't love females moaning on my tunes. I am assuming Ray is playing a character of the man who wants to be all to everyone. Either way, it brings things to a halt for me.
     
  11. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Location:
    Dearborn, MI
    "Here Comes Flash" - Awesome track.. great intro, great ending.. great riff.. Dave is back. Lightning fast vocal here.. and sounds even better coming after that "Money and Corruption" song. I like me some Flash.

    "Sitting in the Midday Sun" - He's not sitting on his sofa, or by the riverside, or in his hotel. Now he's sitting in the midday sun. Very nice sentiment. Romantic, even. Just a real lovely track. I always think of "Genevieve" when I think of this album, but I should be thinking of this song as well. The intro is concerning.. a bit soft rock.. reminds me of 80s educational programming :) but the first verse knocks that out of the way.

    "Demolition" - The Kinks not being themselves. I guess there was only one acceptable theatrical sound in 1973. We're back to the "Money and Corruption" style of drama and shrieking. Not my cuppa. This does make me concerned about Act 2, an album I've never heard before. My favorite tracks on this album are the ones where the guys aren't trying to be something they're not. Maybe I just get weary of all the political/class talk.

    Act 2
    Never heard this album before. I am taking the shrink-wrap off my CD now. The AllMusic review didn't help me much. They said, "Simply put, the record is a mess, an impenetrable jumble of story, theater, instrumentals, "announcements," unfinished ideas, guest singers, and, on occasion, a song or two."
     
  12. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    That is wholly inaccurate on just about every level, and sounds as if the reviewer has never even heard the album.
    You may well not like it, but that review isn't what we have here.
     
  13. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Location:
    Florence, SC

    The reviewer gives their ignorance away at the outset. Instrumentals? There’s not one to be found on the entire 2 LP set, so wtf are they referencing?A song or two? Lazy criticism that provides no enlightenment whatsoever.
     
  14. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    That’s a classic ‘I’ve played the record once while doing something else and now I’ve got to deliver this complete discography review by 5pm’ piece of writing. The sort of thing it was easier to get away with pre YouTube and streaming before anyone who wanted to could hear this stuff for themselves at the click of a button.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2021
  15. anth67

    anth67 Purveyor of Hogwash

    Location:
    PNW USA
    Ray wrote it, and performed it consistently (many years later) on the tours for After the Fall (including Austin City Limits) & Working Man's Cafe. Was a definite highlight when I saw him on the latter. Hearing him sing it underscores how personal it is...seems generous, in retrospect, that he gave the vocal to Dave, who nailed it but I'm glad Ray reclaimed it.

    This is one song the usually gushing John Mendelsohn missed the mark on per his Kronikles/Great Lost liner notes, leaving it off the former collection and dismissing it as a freak flag anthem on the latter. It was an important Ray song, IMO, comparable to Help!'s autobiographical significance for Lennon.

    (And, yeah, it rocks.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2021
  16. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Location:
    Molde, Norway
    One would think so, but according to rumours and/or Diamond Dave Lee Roth the reason for these covers was that he or one of the other of them bought one of those cheap K-Tel 'best ofs' of the Kinks and learned all the songs on side 1 to add to their set list when they used to play backyard parties when they started out. Later as they started recording albums of their own (or perhaps more likely needed more songs to 'fill out' their very short lps, they remembered how great these tracks went down a storm and covered them). Eddie didn't really listen to much rock other tham Cream.

    When I was around 13 or 14 I tried to learn how to play guitar, mainly after getting into lots of seventies rock albums, includng some VH records, in my father's collection. I had heard "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks since I was a child but "Where Have All the Good Times Gone" was new to me at the time. Turned out I liked listening to guitar a lot more than playing it and I didn't become the next Ed or Dave Davies on the ax. All for the better, I'm sure.

    This has been a very longwinded way of stating my endless love for both bands, BTW :D
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2021
  17. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    He wrote in the UK in 1972/73, he didn't write it for a US audience, certainly not one in 2021! No-one knows who Princess Marina is either, for that matter. American artists sing about people no-one outside the US has heard of all the time and no-one complains about it.
     
  18. Zack

    Zack Forum Resident

    Location:
    Easton, MD
    I am shocked by what I am reading here but you all are smart people and are, as others have posted, showing me I don't know as much about the Kinks as I thought I did in the course of this awesome thread. Therefore I am immersing myself in this album again from a new point of view. Brb

    P.S. This is why I :love: this forum.
     
  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    When a Solution Comes.

    stereo mix, recorded Jan-Mar 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    Sung by Mr. Black in an attic somewhere in suburbia

    When a solution comes,
    It's gonna breathe right down on everyone.
    When a solution comes
    It's gonna cover up the clouds
    And eclipse the sun
    And black out a pale blue sky,
    And everybody's gonna be terrified,
    Because they're all going to feel the bite
    And there's going to be a revolution

    When a solution comes.
    It won't take sides with anyone
    Regardless of race or creed,
    The whole wide world is gonna feel the squeeze.
    The red, black, yellow and white
    And even the Arabs and the Israelites
    They're all going to feel the bite
    And there's going to be a revolution.

    I've been searching a long, long time,
    Looking for a final solution
    Searching here, searching there,
    Searching everywhere.
    Now my day has finally come
    It's time to shout to everyone

    I have waited a long, long time,
    Biding my time and waiting on the sidelines
    Watching it all go wrong.
    Witnessing the disintegration,
    Rubbing my hands in anticipation.

    Everybody's searching so desperately,
    They've got to run to someone
    And that someone's going to be me.
    Yeah, I'm gonna change the world,
    I'm going to use a little manipulation.
    I'm going to build a new civilisation.

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

    This track is sort of in two parts, with a bridge link in the middle to join them together nice and smoothly.

    Here we have Mr Black sitting in his attic postulating ...
    The two opening verses have Mr Black seemingly contemplating what happens when the solution comes, and some of the side effects it will bring.
    In the bridge we get him saying that he has been waiting for a solution for a long long time.
    The last two verses bring it all together though ... he wasn't looking for a solution to come, he deeply believes that he is the solution. This paints very clearly that Mr Black has a kingsize messiah complex.

    We open up with fairly vivid descriptions of the impact this solution will have, and that in Mr Black's eyes it can only come in the form of a revolution.
    We also get a little insight into Mr Black's somewhat sociopathic tendencies ....
    I find the line
    I've been searching a long, long time, looking for a final solution
    to be quite chilling, and it instantly brings an Adolph Hitler type character to mind, and I wonder if that was an intentional use of that particular pair of words

    The second section of the song has Mr Black getting excited that the pieces have fallen into place for him to execute his plan. He has been patiently waiting for this moment to arrive, and has his plan set in place.
    He has been rubbing his hands together in delight that things have been going wrong, because that has set up this opportunity for him to inflict himself on the people of the village.
    To me though, it gets even more sinister than that when he suggests that he is going to use a little manipulation .... does this mean that in some way he has already been manipulating things to suit his purpose already? Perhaps that is reading too far into it.

    It really seems like in this song we get quite a deep look at who this Mr Black person really is.
    One thing that stands out to me here, and it is with knowledge of what is to come that generates this thought, so forgive my slight sidetrack early on here.....
    When Mr Black gets on his soapbox and starts firing up the people, his angle comes from getting rid of the ungodly behaviour, and somewhat manipulating the people's perceived faith, or beliefs, or biases or whatever...
    Here though, when he is on his own, and in his own thoughts, there is no inference whatsoever that he has the slightest interest in goodness, or righteousness, or any of the things he uses to manipulate the people....
    I'm going to change the world
    I'm going to build a new civilisation
    and he is going to do it through manipulation. Manipulation of the scenario, and manipulation of the people

    So to me, Mr Black comes across as an evil, self righteous opportunistic sociopath, with a Messiah complex ... yay, just what we need.

    I really like the music here too.
    We open with a really nice sounding acoustic guitar strum, and then the electric piano comes in, and without copying them at all, it brings to mind Led Zeppelin's No Quarter or the Doors Riders On The Storm, and it sets a very distinct, somewhat ominous tone.
    Again here, Mick is laying down a really nice drum groove, with really well applied fills.
    John Dalton is grooving along with Mick, and as we move into the second verse, it is almost a slow, pulsating funk, or something.
    We also have Dave come in with some really tasty lead fills coming in at the start of the second verse, and as we move into the second half of the verse the lead guitar morphs into some really effective arpeggiated guitar, with another nice guitar tone .... I had never really noticed Dave's guitar tones before this thread, but it seems like he generally got some really good guitar tones.

    I think that Ray's vocal again comes in for special mention.
    He opens up with this delicate, almost fragile kind of vocal delivery.... in context with the lyrics, it suggests the character of our maniacal character.
    It is also quite interesting/poignant to me that when we get to the revolution part of the verse, the vocal moves into a more bold and more powerful feel. Kind of suggesting an excitement or confidence in the subject matter. The second verse seems to build on this, and the second verses revolution section seems to be sort of a melancholy celebration from the tone of the vocal.

    This brings us to the bridge section, which flows in really smoothly, even with the rhythmic accent changing, it just seems to naturally flow out.
    The bridge has a tone of anticipation in the sort of staccato chording and the way the melodic feel of the vocal comes across... again Ray and Dave uniting to create a little bit of something essential.

    Then we move into the second section, again smoothly and flowing.....
    Quite interestingly to me, this change kind of reminds me of Black Sabbath's song Megalomania from twelve months later .... it even thematically could be linked to this song, with a broad bow ... but anyway. They are very different in structure and execution, but this change keeps reminding me of that song.

    The feel changes again, and there is again a feel of resolve and confidence in the way this is put across.
    Musically it is excellent, and it sounds and feels very different for the Kinks. That is certainly not a criticism, to me it is melodically quite brilliant, and although this was perhaps two songs/pieces of music that may have coincidentally been linked together really well..... it actually more seems like an inspired piece of writing to me.

    Is that a mellotron in there? Synth?..... The whole texture of this section is just ear candy to me, it is thick and texturally rich and I love it.

    This leads to a sort of musical accent point where we get the .... I don't know .... warning feel of that staccato section at the end.... I love it..... If I had any criticism, I almost feel like it may have been more effective to leave it unresolved on that section, without the final chord that brings musical resolution..... but it is no biggie, I love it anyway.

    I find it intriguing that many find this album to be a sign that Ray has lost his sense of melody to some degree, or something along those lines, because from my perspective, two songs in at least, this is melodically strong, and musically it comes across as a confident step into new territory, without losing the feel and sound of the band.

    Personally I love this track. I think it sets up a pretty good picture of who this Mr Black is, and it does it with an exceptional piece of music to accompany it.

    As I say, the announcements don't bother me in the slightest, in fact, I see them as being integral, and not just for narrative purposes.... but taking the first announcement out of the equation, these first two songs are brilliant, and the album starts as well, if not better than anything the Kinks have done

     
  20. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "When A Solution Comes"

    My favourite tracks on this album are the ones that are more musically interesting, or different for The Kinks - and this one certainly qualifies for that. Love the opening burst of acoustic guitar and electric piano. After the second verse it becomes a song of two halves. We get full on "warbly Ray" here, but it's that ethereal keyboard and guitar feel that really makes this section sound great. And then we get those dissonant blasts of organ at the end which sound like they've come off Relayer - which doesn't exist yet!

    Lyrically it makes Mr Black sound very sinister, although I have to admit that the first few times I listened to this I didn't know which character was supposed to be singing it. This one works within the plot, but also has enough that is musically attractive to give it a life outside the album.
     
  21. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    This is one of the best songs on the album even if it does get a bit overblown and bombastic at times. I've never analysed the lyrics too closely but Mr. Black comes across as a mash up of all sorts of autocratic and authoritarian figures, it's far too over the top to be taken seriously and yet it seems like Ray wants us to take it seriously.
     
  22. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    It's true Introduction to Solution doesn't appear to be a very good title… until we come to the transition to the next track, a transition I find utterly sublime. Almost as great as the I Want You/Here Comes the Sun segue on Abbey Road… except that one was not planned at all, and only happened by accident when the CD came about.
    But I digress.

    The way both Solutions work together is a thing of beauty. The opening acoustic twelve strings riff (not a guitar guy, here, but that’s what my ears tell me?) is wonderful, a bit reminiscent of Cat Stevens' Father & Son intro, but with a sound and attack that make a huge difference. The other day, working from memory, I said Ray’s delivery was lennonesque and I was of course dead wrong: Ray sings it in a decidedly Harrison manner. At some points in the first half of the song, it pretty much sounds like a Dark Horse outtake (if George didn’t have laryngitis, that is). Very close to Simply Shady or Far East Man in many ways. And probably better, in my opinion.

    Lyrically, the protagonist is not entirely making sense, but that's the whole point. He plots his revolution, and it’s to be noted that he doesn’t mean it as a liberation of “the people” (no mention of it at all) but as a threat to “everyone”. It’s the first hint at his megalomaniac impulses and dangerous twist of the mind. Revolution doesn’t mean freedom or empowerment for the oppressed, it means mayhem, apocalypse, “final solution”. Woah, ok, now we get it, the guy’s a lunatic… We don’t know it for sure yet, but we can already feel it. And the music brings the point across. The melody starts “steady”, anchored, but soon enough it becomes rambling. Following the “-and”, “-and”, “-and”, “-and” pattern of the lyrics , the music comes back to the F chord to start every line before drifting in different directions each time, both obsessional and irrational, leading to a 100% nutcase moment (“and there’s gonna be a revolu-u-uuu-tion” five chords for that last word alone). Now, we’re a long way from mellow George…

    Does it make for good pop music? I say yes. It’s powerful, alienated, anxiety inducing, Dave’s acid guitar licks are like migraines or facial tics… When we get to the “I’ve been Searching for a Long Long Time” part, we’re in full Spiders from Mars mode, with Ray’s delivery channeling Bowie, Dave’s mimicking Ronson tones, the chord progression making it sound like a direct deliberate reference. And then it builds into a purely manic section, where the tempo speeds up and the whole thing threatens to spiral out of control. It’s quite a prog crescendo, extremely dramatic. A lot of music of that same time comes to mind (from T-Rex to 1985, or No Quarter – good catch @Mark), we’re beyond any conventional song structure now, we’ve entered the mind of a mad man, consumed by his appetite for power. If you’d only read the lyrics, it wouldn’t be so clear, but the music is key, it’s a song that needs to be acted out, and that’s what Ray’s doing vocally while the band’s doing it instrumentally. But it's not strictly theatrical either, it would work out of context too, no problem, as a dissection of politician sociopathy. A killer track in my book.
     
  23. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    When A Solution Comes

    Whereas the previous track had a beautiful chorus ("But meeeee...") this song feels all verse and no chorus to me. But that's OK.
    We're deep into musical theatre stylings here, moving the story along. Though all I really understand about the story is that a populist leader sweeps to power who turns out to be an oppressive dictator. Which is not a new idea but it's one that's useful to keep in mind at all times.
    Not one of my standouts from the album but I like it.
     
  24. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Interesting to read everyone’s comparisons to contemporary artists as I’ve long thought of this one as notably classic Floydian: that Dark Side Of The Moon via an anticipation of ‘Comfortably Numb’ so 70s rock quintessentially Quaaludey ‘music from the deepest darkest depths of my black-painted quadrophonic stereo room’ vibe, the air close and laden with pot or maybe cigar fumes and years worth of built up misanthropy.

    It certainly potently evokes the atmosphere of a lair inhabited by one very self important and alienated individual, whether it’s a basement dwelling teenager or a would be political revolutionary (or both). If Roger Waters had written this it would have soundtracked a hundred thousand comedowns and divorce settlements by now, but I get the impression it’s not what people want to hear from Ray Davies so it’s not even given a chance to register properly for many who hear it. I admit I can see this pov to an extent: there is no humour here, none of the balancing, reassuring levity that we expect from Ray and the Kinks. I think that absence kind of pervades the whole double album and is the key to the real reason why such a fantastic collection of music has come to be so easily dismissed by so many.

    Maybe a case of a fantastic track that happened to the wrong band to reach the audience it deserved? I know that’s not fair, but that’s kinda how it seems to me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2021
  25. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    I like todays song much more than yesterdays - both parts work really well, and I quite enjoy Ray when he uses his Bolanesque voice as on the second part.
     

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