The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    ‘Flash’s Confession’: a very clever song, well crafted.
    It begins as almost a Rick Wakeman type of synth-prog (not that I know what I’m talking about. My Wakeman days begin and end with a couple of albums in the early-ish 70s) with wah-wah guitar thrown in for good measure.

    As noted by many, there’s three vocals at play; a deep opening vocal, then a change and, quickly, a third switch to the “I’m just a number…” Bowie voice.

    Maybe even a fourth voice because it isn’t until the “been a cheat, been a crook” introspective verse that I think “Flash!”

    At the tail end you can hear Dave’s backing vocal.
  2. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Maplewood, NJ
    Flash's Confession

    Musically, this song can stand on its own just fine. That seems to be how we are evaluating these songs lately! :laugh:

    That wah-wah guitar tone from Dave is something we haven't really heard since Lavender Hill? That effect is certainly used differently here than on that track! It is very menacing and adds to that Flash's Theme riff. In fact, I think Dave is the star of this track, with that engulfing guitar tone and his solo near the end that really stamp the uniqueness of this song. He's having a lot of fun on this one. Dalton's bassline on the "I'm just a number" section is great, too! And of course, Ray's voices and delivery are great.

    The double-tracked and harmonized middle section is really cool. A second voice (Ray Double-tracked?) on "now I'm facing Hell Fire", and then the next lines all have the harmonized vocal added to the mix. And then there a few lines in there starting with "I confess for the thieves" where the harmonized vocals are removed, and it's just Ray double-tracked again. It's a neat trick to change it up a bit and adjust the sound/feeling of that whole section as it builds up to Dave's solo near the end.

    All that said, I've heard this song probably about a dozen times over the past few weeks, but I couldn't recall how it actually goes until I heard it again this morning. So, it rocks, and I love the sound of it while listening, but doesn't really have a memorable hook or chorus for me. But, that's ok sometimes. Like with today's song.
  3. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Not related to todays track at all, but I only just saw this 2 year old ‘video’ posted by Pete Quaife’s brother on fb, which matches up the early track ‘I Don’t Need You Anymore’ to the two very rare bits of pre Kinks footage that have turned up in docs: one in colour of a Davies family party, and one in b/w of the first Boll Weevils (or Ray Davies Quartet or whatever they were called back then) line up with John Start (EDIT: Dave Quaife just said on fb he doesn’t think it’s John Start but an interim drummer) doing some ‘Running Jumping Standing Still Film’ type antics, pre Beatles I should add! According to Ray’s first autobiography the latter was shot by an amateur filmmaker friend of the band as part of a short film he planned about the group pre fame though it was never finished… goddamn we have to see more of this stuff one day! Another holy grail that’s out there somewhere…
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2022
  4. Luckless Pedestrian

    Luckless Pedestrian Forum Resident

    New Hampshire, USA
    Interesting observation. Where O Where is expressing an affection for simple things that have been lost, so one could argue that a simple construction in the melody is appropriate ("where is joy in simplicity?") - as opposed to Flash's Confession where subject matter calls for more complexity.
  5. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Bass drum said “The Ravens”?
  6. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Good spot! Missed that!
  7. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Flash's Confession

    The grand opening tells us (if we weren't aware) that this is something of serious import.
    Then we have a Spanish feel that throws in an Arabic one that's blown in across the desert and we have some very contemporary rock with world music overtones that sounds at times like a leap into the future and indeed for Flash it is!
    The addition of Dave's Wah and how he rhythmically uses it is just genius for this song, i must mention i love wah wah guitar but not played by just any Spinal Tap ninny!
    Ok it's 1am and I have played it twice so perhaps fatigue won't let me take it all in but Ray's vocal is fine and I get the Bowie comments but I just don't know what else to add in my Konked out state?
  8. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    Flash's Confession
    Another epic
    Great, exotic momentum
    A soundtrack triumph

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    "Flash's Confession".: a dramatic song, with Ray doing several voices to convey how far gone Flash has went in his life & his regrets in living his life of greed. A good song for what it is, to keep the story going.
  10. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Wow killer stuff there which for the Kinks may be the near equivalent to the Who's discovery of a 1964 hotel set with Keith Moon.
    In the colour close up profiles of Ray does he have a little bit of a young Roger Federer going on?
  11. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    I thought the coolest bit was seeing Dave dancing with his niece Jackie!
  12. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    This underlines an intriguing fact about Ray's impersonation of Flash on the whole Preservation project : his voice's never the same from one Flash track to the next! Not once. Be it his speaking voice (in Flash’s Dream), his pleading voice (Scum of the Earth), his loving voice (Nothing Lasts Forever), his youngster voice (Second Hand Car Spiv, if that song's indeed about the young Flash), or the multi-voices and self-harmonizing of Flash's Confession, he never sounds the same (which by the way must have something to do with the fact we could never identify with him). Two possible reasons : either Ray decided Flash was multifaceted, bordering on schizophrenic, or he doesn’t so much play the character but sings the songs. I like both interpretations and in all fairness they could both be true. In Flash’s Confession, it certainly works both ways (and back again). The constant changes in the vocal tone and delivery show Flash acting out his crisis of conscience, self-examining himself and experiencing a genuine epiphanic moment, so it is theatrical in that way. But Ray’s vocals also serve and follow the music, which itself works as an expressionist device, exteriorizing the character's state of mind. I must say it's quite a sophisticated approach, and brilliantly executed.

    On a side note : my favorite moment on this song may be the very last "I'm Just Another Fa-ace", with this fantastic chord change on the last syllable, to help the song reach its resolution. This is so, so very cool…
  13. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Dearborn, MI
    It's catch-up day! May I no longer be annoying. I found side 2 of this surprisingly enjoyable.. I think I enjoy the album more when I let it play and not by studying one track at a time.

    "Scum of the Earth" - I loved the first half of the song most.. the instrumentation (great brass).. like an updated Cab Calloway or something. While there are 2 choruses listed in the lyrics here, I don't sense this song has a real chorus as nothing repeats. I'm not big on musicals, and after a couple tracks on Act 1 I was worried how this record would sound. But so far I am enjoying the theatrics.

    "Second-Hand Car Spiv" - Too bad it's so wordy as this music underneath is very interesting.. the horns, the harpsicord (or is it just keyboard?) I'm not a prog-guy, but this strikes me as what can be classified under that label. It's a hard one for me to get into, it's a bit too fast vocally, but it's still interesting and I'm sure serves a purpose for those who care about the overall story.

    "He's Evil" - The "Money Talks" of side 2.. just relentlessly repetitive. I guess I can see it on stage, or in some arena rock show, and get it.. but I just want it to end. The riff is catchy and it starts off fine, but that ending won't end, haha.

    "Mirror of Love" - I really like this one! But I'm having a hard time explaining why. I enjoyed it on first listen and it's catchy in a subtle way I really like.. The piano is great and Ray's vocal is wild. Very enjoyable.

    Let's keep going...

    "Nobody Gives" - Like others have said, it's a heavy & epic track. I go from liking it, to not liking it, to it's too long, to "this ending is pretty great!" At least there's a chorus this time and a clear understandable point. Though don't get me wrong, I love vague as well. I'll need to spend more time on this one in the future.

    "Oh Where Oh Where Is Love?" - Uh I dunno.. This one is kinda lame lol I apologize.. I do dig the bass and the bridge part is excellent: "This world is spinning and turning / And my head is full of learning / But my thoughts keep on returning / To the things I used to know." Outside of that, I don't like the female vocals and it just sounds it could be some Kenny Rogers soft rock duet.

    "Flash's Dream (The Final Elbow)" -

    "Flash's Confession" - Overall I enjoy this one. It's wordy again, but it has some poignant moments. I like the return of the "Here Comes Flash" riff and the "it's time for confessing it all" hook. "I've opened up my body and looked inside / And I'm everything that I once despised." When is the last time a politician admitted that? Even after seeing video evidence, not necessarily examining yourself..

    Three sides in and there is much more to enjoy on this album than I ever thought before. The bad reviews, especially that inaccurate AllMusic one, did me a disservice.
  14. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    "Flash's Confession"

    I love the opening with the call back to "Here Comes Flash" but sounding like a darker psychedelicized version with the wah-wah and the Eastern sounding synths. It sounds like they are playing the role of a snake charmer. The playing on this is magnificent from everyone. Is Dave also on the acoustic? The bass and the drums are on fire! Another song that is broken into many different parts and vocals and each is equally great. There is another similarity to Diamond Dogs with the song "1984" which also employs some wah-wah guitar to a sinister effect. This also makes the last song better and probably should be viewed as one long tune. It's really epic stuff. Another show stopper for Mr. Flash and his gang.
  15. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Yes, that was adorable. I've seen gifs around with some of these scenes, but love that David Quaife put this out. I believe I read that Pete did a lot of picture taking during these years (can't remember if it was still or film(or both)). Wish they would unlock more of this stuff (Raymond D Davies, I'm talking to you).
  16. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Flash's Confession is an excellent track (using Flash's Theme will do that!) with a good ominous tone, and one of the better ones on the second LP.
  17. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Molde, Norway
    Three of the best sides of any album ever has got four songs. But now I understand why you hate Exile so much that you want to hack it down to the size of an EP.

    With four songs ;)
  18. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Molde, Norway
    And "Flash's Confession" is the mutt's nuts, me laddies n ladies.
  19. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Flash's Confession
    Wow...this is SO Bowie-like, it's almost scary. I would put the sound and the first part of the vocals all the way back to The Man Who Sold the World LP(also Bowie's song from Diamonds Dogs came to me upon another listening - 1984 - "beware the savage jaw..." which was around the same time period as this song). Up until the Preservation albums I would never thought that Bowie and the Kinks were so closely connected. Obviously they're rock musicians and all that, so I shouldn't be shocked. And definitely some mutual respect. But there's some shared DNA here, but didn't realize how much until this song hit my ears.

    Once again, Ray's voice is like a chameleon - or is that a poor simile? You know what I mean.

    Like the nod to Here Comes Flash at the start. And Dave is definitely well-represented in this. Glad to hear that!

    I'm totally digging this song and will be listening to it more closely in the future.
  20. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    Flashes Confession: I like this one a lot. It’s got a heavier, more aggressive vibe than the majority of this album, which always appeals to me. Great vocals by Ray and fantastic guitar work by Dave. Every time I’ve listen to the song, Dave’s wah wah guitar reminds me for some reason of Brian May’s snaky sounding guitar work on the Queen song “Flick of the Wrist” from Sheer Heart Attack. This song came out before the Queen song by a few months (May of ‘74 versus November of ‘74 per wiki, if it’s to be trusted) but hey, sounding like either Dave Davies or Brian May is never a bad thing.
  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Nothing Lasts Forever.

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

    Scene: Flash is on the run and he goes to Belle for help.
    He sings this song with Belle.

    Flash: When we were young and green
    We shared our dreams together,
    And you were my friend.

    Belle: We had our good times pal,
    We thought they'd last forever.
    But nothing lasts forever,
    Nothing lasts forever.
    Time goes by and people change
    It's best we go our separate ways
    And it was wrong to think our love would never end
    My friend
    Nothing lasts forever,
    Nothing lasts forever.
    Time goes by it takes us all,
    Nations crumble and empires fall
    And who are we
    To think that we would always be,
    You see nothing lasts forever,
    Nothing lasts forever.

    Flash: I know that you'll survive
    And you'll get by whatever.
    Though you say goodbye.
    My love will never die,
    It will last forever.

    Your love will die but mine will last forever,
    Your love will fade but mine will last forever.
    Your feeling might go but mine will last forever.
    And though you're gone you're in my mind forever.

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

    This is a really interesting song....
    After his epiphany Flash runs off to see Belle.

    We open with a sort of languid guitar arpeggio, with some nice volume swell lead accents from Dave (I presume)
    Ray comes in on the first vocal, and it is a very different sounding Ray. He has a sort of falsetto vocal that has an ache, and a sensitivity that shares the characters emotions here pretty well.
    Flash here takes the place of the Tramp in reflecting, and here he is reflecting on His and Belle's relationship.
    It has a sort of Young And Innocent days opening, with the idea of "When We Were Young And Green" .... We shared our dreams ....
    You were my friend....
    This interestingly has Flash somewhat bearing his soul to Belle....

    Now, when we look at Belle's words here .... it changes perspective a lot...
    Not so long ago, we had Belle singing of how much she loved Flash, even though he treated her badly, but the tune has changed quite substantially here.
    It is quite striking that in her first line she dismisses him as "Pal" ...
    In fact all of Belle's lyrics here are completely dismissive of Flash, and this seems to be the end of their relationship altogether...
    Now although Belle has certainly been treated badly by Flash, from the info we got in Mirror Of Love, the reaction from her character in this song is somewhat disappointing, because it paints her as being no better than him really.
    Now the money is going to dry up, and the elite status is going to disappear, she is essentially telling him to get lost.

    Flash closes us out, and the impression it leaves is that he actually has changed. He doesn't get mad or annoyed that she has refused to help him .... as we see in the scene setting up there, he went to her for help .... she has also put an end to their relationship, and in our closing we get Flash stating that he knows she is going to be ok, and in spite of it all, he will love her forever....

    To some degree, I can't help but wonder if this was written after Rasa had left Ray.... I am not suggesting that Ray is ascribing Belle's attitude or actions to Rasa at all, but in light of Ray taking it so hard , it seems he would certainly have had some songs in him about her, and their relationship.
    I somewhat wonder if Ray wrote a slightly different song, and then modified it to suit the narrative of the story?
    It is mainly that four line ending that makes me wonder that.
    "Your love will die but mine will last forever,
    Your love will fade but mine will last forever.
    Your feeling might go but mine will last forever.
    And though you're gone you're in my mind forever."
    No matter how much of a Cad or Idiot he may have been, it seems pretty certain that he loved her, and we all know how complex and difficult human relationships are ... anyway, just a ponderance....

    Musically this is also quite interesting.
    The reflective melancholy here is palpable. It has a cocktail jazz feel about it, and Ray has a really nice chord progression thats tonal centre shifts through major and minor, which sort of represents the bitter/sweet feel of what is going on here.
    I'm not knowledgeable enough to give this a good theoretical run down, but it moves through different keys, and modes, and I wonder if the chord progression actually has any base in traditional jazz chord progressions at all?

    Anyway, the arrangement is really quite brilliant.
    From the opening delicacy of the interaction between the arpeggio and volume swell guitars.
    It is really interesting how the electric piano comes into the picture. It feels like it almost swells up underneath the acoustic guitar.

    When we move into the first "Time goes by ..." section. The bass leads us into it beautifully, the drums come in, and again, almost as if by magic we get this beautiful horn arrangement come in underneath... it kind of sneaks into the mix like the electric piano did.

    We drop back out to the guitars when Flash comes back in with his vocal.
    It gets accented by some horns, but the whole feel and arrangement of the song changes here, and we get a coda proper.

    We get a nice drum fill and the swooping bass, and a really wonderful layered vocal, and it has this dreamy depth and richness. The end of each line is followed by a nice melodic phrase from Dave, and on the last line we get a tacet and fade.
    Musically this is quite superb.....

    This is a really interesting song. Musically it is quite stunning. Lyrically it is quite interesting. It is quite obviously driven by the heart.... and a broken one at that.
    Ray has kind of modified his vocal delivery to have that soft feminine edge, which on first listen has you wondering if he even sang the first couple of lines....

    Although, like every story ever written, there are some things that don't quite line up, this has been working for me as a plot line on the album so far.
    I can see the connection to the old Village Green, and I can see the Preservation album setting this up, and as we have gone through this album, aside from some debate over Village Green, Major City, Whole Country ... and in context with Ray being a Londoner, I don't really see that all three can't be true.....

    There is a lot going on here.... and this sort of ends up becoming a story of redemption.
    From the start, most have been asking why Flash gets most of the character development, but as we move on, it seems like the political landscape is a backdrop for the redemption of Flash. He went in to politics with good motives, and by the time we see him he has lost his way.
    Mr Black is a consequence. The battle of the Village Green/City/Country is a consequence. His loss of respect among the people is a consequence.....
    Flash has the epiphany that
    "I've opened up my body and looked inside
    And I'm everything that I once despised."
    It is too late to change the consequences, because there are always consequences to our actions, but it isn't too late to correct your path.
    Another thing is, Ray doesn't feel the need to make this a happy ever after tale. Flash loses his job, his respect, his self respect and his girl, but it is ok, because he regained himself.... Anyway, that's what strikes me this morning ... it may change tomorrow, or over the last little bit of the album, I'm not sure lol

    Although this is not a traditional sounding Kinks song, and I think mainly it is due to the dominant female vocal, I think this is a very good song, and it seems to fit in the album really well in terms of plot line, flow and all that kind of stuff.

  22. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    "Nothing Lasts Forever"

    Is "double album fatigue" a thing? Might explain why nothing on Side Four has made that much of an impression on me yet. Listening to it now in isolation, of course it comes across as a lovely track - not necessarily one that you would expect from The Kinks, but you can imagine it as a tender last moment between Flash and Belle's army comes along and turns them into robots (or something like that). I suppose it also depends how invested you are in the story and how much you care about the fate of the characters as to how affecting you find this track, so that's perhaps another reason why it doesn't quite have the same effect during the album for me. In any other context it could just work as a sad end-of-relationship song.
  23. Ex-Fed

    Ex-Fed Not Fed Ex

    New York State
    “Nothing Lasts Forever”—I’ve always liked this song, mostly as the prelude to the four line coda, which knocks me out. Something about the sound, Ray’s plaintive vocal, the harmony, even the drum pattern has always appealed to me. I was disappointed, at the Felt Forum Preservation, that the woman playing Belle sang it solo, capering across the stage and scatting in between the lines. I missed the solidity and solemnity of the studio cut's conclusion.
  24. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    The music here is absolutely lovely. The chord sequence is brilliant, very unusual for Ray, maybe less trad jazz than a Hawaiian country song or something (like I have the slightest idea of how a Hawaiian country song should sound like). I could almost add it to my Karibbean Kinks EP, as it has the same leisure-y island feel, and works as a kind of sequel to the bossa grace of No Return. I see a thread here, from his first real love song on record (to Rasa) to what may well be his very last, at least on a Kinks record. I love the “And though you’re gone” throwback to Days, I think it’s a nice touch but I'm one who always adore these light “auteur” moves, when Ray instills personal depth by self-referencing and using his own body of work as a kind of echo chamber. The duet works superbly, she's so blunt and cold, it puts him in a very vulnerable place, especially in the coda, when he forcefully contradicts the title by repeating “mine will last forever” but to no avail, with extreme sadness. I don’t hear Flash in this song, it’s another voice yet for the same character, tender, frail and exposed. Not the same guy at all, even defeated… But at this stage, I understand (and accept) that the Preservation parable works better than the story itself. I agree with @Ex-Fed, the sound and arrangement of the song is great (and quite surprising). With the dry drums, the way bass and keyboards are recorded and Maryann Price's “no frills” singing style, it’s a bit rough around the edges, never adding sugar on top of the sweetness, thus transforming what first presents itself as a melancholy lament into a matter-of-fact moment of disillusionment.
  25. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    I have to take issue with one thing here, in what way did Flash go into politics with good motives? There's absolutely no evidence of that. Flash's motives, and methods, throughout seem to me to have been pretty reprehensible.

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