The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. pantofis

    pantofis Senior Member

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    I love Artificial Man. Dave‘s vocal delivery is absolutely chilling, menacing and sinister. To me it comes as a surprise that Mr. Black turns out to be the real villain after all. There were hints that Flash was actually quite sentimental, but I didn’t see that turn coming.
    I find this song should be played whenever there is news about genetic advance of human optimization.
     
  2. CheshireCat

    CheshireCat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cheshire
    Artificial Man
    I love this epic. Raymond uses all his various different 'voices' and runs out, so even David gets to sing some of the lines. And doesn't he really lift this song higher? Possibly my favourite track on the album. Just the right side of theatrical. Should have been the album's single release.
     
  3. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    "Announcement 4": Let's just say that the newsreader knows who's buttering his bread now.

    "Artificial Man": Wasn't this supposed to be something about a small village green? Now we're dealing w/the attempted perfection of humankind by science. It seems that Mr. Black wants to make an example of Flash by removing all of his no goodnick tendencies via technology & turning him into a Truly Fine Citizen. A very theatrical, dramatic song about one of the major fears of thinking people the past 200 years or so, the fear of losing one's soul & turning into a machine, a fear that has intensified the past few decades or so w/the coming of computers.
     
  4. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    :kilroy: This track sounds to me like a cobbling together of numerous different boilerplate chord progressions. The first thing we hear is a piano playing what sort of sounds like a sped up "Until It's Time For You To Go." In all fairness, the "I don't want to live a lie, in an artificial world" part predates ELO's "Telephone Line" by a couple of years, but still, I find this track to be a largely tedious endurance test.
     
  5. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    "Artificial Man"

    This must have been a highlight of the live show with both Ray and Dave singing together. I believe in the last part that it's both Ray and Dave trading certain lines? It's always a treat when we get both of them in fine voice together on one song.

    Mr Black and Mad Scientist: Tell the world we finally did it.
    Modified the population,
    Put your senses and your mind
    Under constant observation
    Even when you're dreaming.

    I love this part. It has a hint of Pink Floyd and David Gilmore in some of the vocal. It's hard to even decipher if this beginning is Ray or Dave. I believe this is Ray or a mixture of each, and then Dave comes in and closes it out. Dave's vocal when he sings the drawn out "Artificial hand" is beautiful. Then come the horns and strings that for a brief moment gives me a flashback to the sound of Village Green Preservation Society. It closes out with those fantastic timpani drums.

    Something about the way the song starts makes me think I just put on a Procol Harum album, but then Ray starts singing in a completely dramatic vocal that is delightfully over the top. Dave brings one of his best vocals of the 70s and you start to wonder why he wasn't more vocally involved in some of these stage productions.

    Tell it to the people all across the land,
    We're going to build an artificial man
    With the physique of a Tarzan
    And the profile of a Cary Grant,
    A superior being
    Totally made by hand.
    Throw out imperfection,
    Mould you section by section,
    Gonna make you the ultimate creation

    This may be my favorite part of the entire tune. Ray's delivery on this is fantastic. There is so much going on in this song and I'm a fan of all of it. Another epic song that in my estimation is as good or better than any of the highly lauded comparisons we make to it. This should be regarded as a masterwork of the 70s. It has every right to stand beside the best albums of the early 70s. I will have more to say when we wrap up this record, but I grow more impressed with it every day.
     
  6. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Miami Beach FL
    Artificial Man: Many people have referenced the double album fatigue concept, including myself previously. I think that’s a factor here and probably one that hurt the album upon release as well. When you think about all the negative reviews of this album upon release, keep in mind that most these critics have very little time to review a new album before they post their review. I could never have assimilated all these songs in just a week or so. Which is a shame, because having now listened to this album over time, song by song, this album is just chock-full of great songs.

    My initial reaction to this song was “oh my God, not another song with the word “man” in the title” and I kind of wrote it off from there. Now having listen to it more closely over the past few days, lyrics in hand, what a HOOT is all I can say! It may be a bit fragmented, but I like pretty much every section of it. It may not work as a “stand alone“ song, but I just don’t care, it’s too silly, comical, clever and ridiculous to not include in a playlist!

    In fact, taking into account how many silly, ridiculous, out-there songs Ray Davies has previously crafted for the Kink’s catalog, it’s still has to come down to either this song or Shepherds of the Nation for the most zany song the Kinks have ever done (at least thus far- we still have another 47 years to go!).
     
  7. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Artificial Man
    I just love this song! This is an earworm if there ever was one. This will stick in my mind for days. I'm trying to come up with clever words to describe WHY I like it. it's totally outrageous and OUT THERE. But it just works.

    @mark winstanley brought up Rocky Horror...and YES...there is definitely something to that connection. Who knows if Ray heard of it or saw it? Rocky Horror was London born, yes? As I've said more than once, I don't like musicals BUT i cotton to musicals with an edge like Rocky Horror. It is all too similar in many ways for it to be coincidental, right?

    As always, love to hear Dave appear, both vocally and good guitar sounds.

    In every way possible this may be one of the highlights of the album. Bravo!
     
  8. pablo fanques

    pablo fanques Somebody's Bad Handwroter

    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Count me as another who picked up on the Rocky Horror influence however many decades ago I first heard "Artificial Man". No way Ray wasn't aware of that show at the time. It was probably something of a source of inspiration for him
     
  9. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    I never heard or saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show. There used to be a cinema in Paris who programmed it every week on end, and I used to live nearby, but I never crossed the threshold. You had to go there with easily whashable clothes, because the unshakable and age-old custom was to send flour and eggs on each other during projection. I suppose it's a worldwide thing, is it ? Or is just a Quartier Latin student tradition ?

    Side 4 fatigue is a thing, and there are few exceptions. Side 4 songs tend to take on a grey hue in my mind, independently of their intrinsic quality. It takes songs on the level of The Wall's The Trial to reverse the malediction. Artificial Man is not quite up to challenge, in my opinion. Among the album's epics, it's the least appealing to me. There is a nice variety of different parts, but each of them taken separately sounds a bit generic to me. The baroque and grandiose silliness of the words partly redeems it though - especially since I took better notice of them thanks to this thread. Musically, the song would benefit from a better sound, with greater dynamics, or maybe a less cluttered arrangement.

    I retained it on my mock Preservation Acts 1&2 double album, for want of a better choice.
     
  10. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    Which sides are these ?
     
  11. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    :kilroy: The original stage production of "The Rocky Horror Show" premiered in 1975, and the movie came out three years later. Perhaps "Preservation" influenced it.
     
  12. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
  13. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    I've seen screenings in the UK and Australia, and there were costumes, singing, people using props etc, but I never saw eggs and flour!
     
  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Not saying you are wrong, but the info for Rocky Horror says
    "Having premiered in the small 60-seat Royal Court Theatre, it quickly moved to larger venues in London, transferring to the 230-seat Chelsea Classic Cinema on King's Road on 14 August 1973, before finding a quasi-permanent home at the 500-seat King's Road Theatre from 3 November that year, running for six years.[14] The musical made its U.S. debut in Los Angeles in 1974 before playing in New York City as well as other cities."
    "In 1975, The Rocky Horror Show premiered on Broadway at the 1,000-seat Belasco Theatre"

    The movie though debuted August 1975
     
  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Yea, in Perth it was things like Rice for the wedding, Newspaper for the walk in the rain and things like that .... I never saw anybody trying to make damper lol
     
  16. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Scrapheap City.

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

    Sung by: Belle and The Floosies
    (as Flash's empire is being dismantled piece by piece)

    There ain't no beauty
    And there ain't no style,
    There's no quality
    And there's no purity.
    Honour's dead and buried
    Because it's unnecessary.

    Look at all the people,
    Why they all look the same.
    They're walking to the factory
    In their cloth caps and trilbies.
    They've got no style,
    Ain't it a pity.

    They're tearing old quality down
    Without any pity,
    Now they're coming to take me away
    To Scrapheap City.
    They say that good manners belong on a heap,
    They say they're outdated and they're obsolete,
    And now they're coming to take me away
    To Scrapheap City.

    There's no quality
    And there ain't no style
    Just miles and miles
    Of Scrapheap piles.
    There's no quality
    And there's no purity.

    They're digging up all of the flowers
    Because they look pretty
    And erecting identical concrete monstrosities.
    They're killing off all of the animals too,
    The only ones left are the ones in the zoo.
    Now they're coming to take me away
    To Scrapheap City.
    Ain't it a pity,
    Scrapheap City.

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

    We drop into this one nicely, and I don't think it's coincidental that the opening bassline sort of reflects Happy Trails...
    Maryann Price,
    Angi Girton,
    Pamela Travis,
    Sue Brown.
    I'm assuming these ladies are doing the vocals here, and I personally like the vocals.
    The way, I assume, Ray uses the overemphasised rhymes, to me, is brilliant, and whoever organised the phrasing of the delivery of the lyrics here, and I again assume it was Ray, did a fantastic job. The way the vocals delivery the lyrics is one of my favourite parts of the song.
    This song reflects the heart of the original Village Green Preservation Society, but it works almost like a Requiem....
    It also sort of works as a follow up to Here Come The People In Grey and Muswell Hillbillies .
    and Somewhat oddly with the lines
    Look at all the people,
    Why they all look the same.
    They're walking to the factory
    In their cloth caps and trilbies.
    They've got no style,
    Ain't it a pity.
    It brings to mind She's Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina, even to some degree it draws a line back to Dedicated Follower Of Fashion .... in my mind at least....

    I think one of my favourite lines is "There Tearing Old Quality Down, Without Any Pity" ... closely followed by "They're Digging Up All Of The Flowers, Because They Look Pretty"

    It seems like the main thrust of this song is the unreasoned, and illogical removal of everything that came prior, purely because it doesn't have the new leaders stamp on it...... that is a measure of narcissistic overload, and sociopathic excess that is abhorrent on every level.
    Again, although we aren't given many songs that directly flesh out Mr Black, we are given more insight into the kind of man he is than may be at first apparent.
    Many of these songs reveal a huge amount about this man ... and in many ways, it may be better not to know lol..... This is one of the lowest forms of human being there is...

    Lyrically we open up in an observational role.
    Style, beauty and quality are being erased.
    The purity that was preached by Mr Black, is nowhere to be seen. It appears his idea of purity is a scorched earth policy that is soaked in bleach.
    Honour is dead and buried, because it isn't needed anymore, because the automaton society just needs to move from concrete box to concrete box to perform the tasks of the totalitarian state, and sleep.... and that is all that will be required thank you ... otherwise you will need to visit the official Mr Black attitude correction program.

    The idea being put forward here seems to be that everything needs to be erased, so that the people can just be good worker drones, and not be distracted by anything. Destroy the natural world, so it isn't a distraction .....
    Actually, this comes across as quite an Orwellian vision ....

    Musically I really like this. It is a style I enjoy, and I think it presents well, and as I say, I love the way the lyrics are written and even more so how they are presented, with the intentionally exaggerated rhymes, and some really neat rhythmic flows inserted for special effect.

    From the Happy Trails bass, to the sort of street corner skiffle? that moves into a swinging New Orleans Blues? I just really love the feel and flow here ... in fact this song could have ended the album for me ... but

    That brings us to something that may possibly be a contention for many/some/a few .... A Kinks song with no obvious Kinks member singing it!?!?!
    Well that doesn't mean anything to me ... Have A Cigar is no less of a Pink Floyd song for Roy Harper being the vocalist on it.

    Again, we get some really nice use of horns for accent points, and they add a little swing factor too. Some nice off the cuff lead guitar from Dave....

    I'm not sure what else to add here to be honest ... it's been a strange week, and my brain is fried, so I'm just going to say

    I really like this song. I think it can stand alone. I think it fits the theme.... and there isn't much more one can ask

     
  17. Scottsol

    Scottsol Forum Resident

    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    You have just summarized the album as a whole.
     
  18. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Scrapheap City
    With the Inkspots-esque chord sequence intro and the hayseedy vocal, this continues the exploration into American roots music. It's fine. I still like the vocalist (Price?) a lot. But like with the countryish numbers on Muswell Hillbillies, I miss the pop hooks.
     
  19. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Here's Ray Davies in his customary saloon mode. You could put this track just as it is on either of his recent Americana solo records, it would fit right in. This version has this easy going american(a) feel about it, with great guitar and mandolin by Dave all over it, tap dance rhythm and excellent band singalong on the backing vocals (Ray is definitely there, Dave probably also). The western feel is more pronounced than on the Ray driven B-side we covered a few weeks ago, that was more blues oriented. It seems months have gone by since then, doesn't it, so deep our dive has been in this Preservation puzzle (and puzzling) world… Weirdly, after Nothing Lasts Forever followed on the heels of the break-up song Moments (by way of Sweet Lady Genevieve) and Artificial Man repeated Ray's defiance and disgust towards modern technologies already expressed in God's Children, we get a third reference in a row to a Percy track on today's lyrics, namely Animals in the Zoo… Beyond that, the three Side 4 tracks so far are clearly devised as a triplet of songs about things not being preserved at all. Just look at the titles : Nothing Lasts Forever, Artificial Man, Scrapheap City… If there ever was a preservation society, it has long been defeated. We should've seen that coming. Even back in 1968, it was all a reverie. It never stood a chance.
     
  20. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    When I was going to school in England in the late 1970s. I had an older brother in London attending University College (where Coldplay later formed) whom I would visit. We went to the King's Road Theatre to see Rocky Horror (my guess is 1978). It was pretty mind-blowing especially Fran-N-Furter's entrance and "Sweet Transvestite" (long ramp the length of the theatre stage right). When thinking of the literary reference (Frankenstein) for "Artificial Life", it escaped me that Rocky Horror is a Frankenstein story so I think you were onto something right from the start.
     
  21. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Location:
    Molde, Norway
    Exile sides B and D, of course. The Who's Who's Next side B for most people on this forum it seems, but I prefer the second side of Jailbreak by Thin Lizzy (Black Rose (a rock legend)) runs it pretty close. Hence my avatar or profile picture. For me it seems strange to dislike the side of a record because of the number of tracks... ;)

    All this comes down to personal taste and preferences, of course. And I'm just pulling your leg, man :cool:

    On topic: In other njus, I like "Scrapheap City" and the album a tiny bit more than @Scottsol :D
     
  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Courtesy of @DISKOJOE here is the Program for the 1993 Boston Rock Opera production of Preservation

    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
     
  23. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  25. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

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