The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    For the live show, perhaps. But for the Starmaker TV show, they had boom mics, so I think this was just a thing Ray wrote into the show - the excesses of stardom. Also, again, having those big poofy wigs on the two women as they undressed Ray for bed and having them hovering at crotch level was just an added bonus of silliness/suggestiveness.
  2. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Maplewood, NJ
    Happy Sunday! Here is a rundown of all the selections on these officially released Singles/EPs on streaming services by the Kinks this week:

    Timeless Classics
    Celluloid Heroes
    Autumn Almanac
    Where Are They Now?
    A Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy

    20th Century Man
    You Really Got Me
    Here Comes Yet Another Day
    All Day and All of the Night
    You Can't Stop the Music
    Do It Again

    Come Dancing
    Party Line
    Juke Box Music
    Too Hot
    Dancing In the Street

    Stop Your Sobbing
    Mirror of Love
    Sweet Lady Genevieve
    Set Me Free

    60s Classics
    Till the End of the Day
    Tired of Waiting for You
    Long Tall Sally
    A Well Respected Man
    Where Have All the Good Times Gone
    Tin Soldier Man

    Some interesting choices, and I really wonder who is responsible for curating these. Again, we see a lot of love for Long Tall Sally. I would have about 25 other songs to put on a "60s Classic" EP before I'd consider LTS, but maybe that's just me. Tin Soldier Man is a bit of an odd choice, when Waterloo Sunset is sitting on the bench! Lola is an interesting choice for Ballads... I certainly don't consider it a ballad, and we have seen plenty other incredible ballads. Young and Innocent Days? Somebody also must REALLY love their cover of Dancing in the Street. I think Come On Now or She's Got Everything would have been good as a Party song. I am glad though to see some representation from both Preservation Acts, as well as one song from Soap Opera!
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  3. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Houston TX
    Soap Opera - I bought this in 1977 (probably as a cutout) and was not impressed. Sold it at some later date. In recent years, I found that I liked the 3 songs on the Celluloid Heroes comp ("Everybody's a Star," "(A) Face in the Crowd," and "You Can't Stop the Music"). A recent re-listen to the album made me think a couple more might be added to the plus column, but I will probably follow this discussion quietly.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2022
  4. Martyj

    Martyj Who dares to wake me from my slumber? -- Mr. Flash

    Maryland, USA
    Okay. I’m otherwise busy today. (If watching NFL playoffs with my son is “busy,” then—yes—I am busy) However, these selections seem almost arbitrary, although maybe there was some thought. I dunno. Anyway, they need fixed, IMO, so here —without spending too much thought—is how I would have offered them up:

    Timeless Classics
    You Really Got Me
    Tired of Waiting
    Celluloid Heroes
    Sunny Afternoon
    All Day and All of the Night

    Till the End of the Day
    Love Me Till the Sun Shines
    One Of the Survivors
    Live Life
    Do It Again

    Come Dancing
    Supersonic Rocket Ship
    Plastic Man
    Have Another Drink
    Wish I Could Fly Like Superman
    Jukebox Music

    Stop Your Sobbing
    Young and Innocent Days
    The Way Love Used To Be

    60’s Classics
    (Just pick ‘em. Tough to go wrong here. Just stay away from any cover except maybe Milk Cow Blues.)

    Now, back to the game. Go Rams!
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  5. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    It is a ballad in the original sense of the word... but then in that sense of the word, the other ones aren't ballads (except arguably "Genevieve"?).
  6. pantofis

    pantofis Senior Member

    Berlin, Germany
    Soap Opera is my favorite Kinks album along with the live portion of Everybody’s In ashowbiz. I understand, it’s no masterpiece like VGPS, but it’s the album I go back to the most.
    I discovered it in 2004 when I was mailing my own demos to record companies and somewhat identified with Norman. At the time I was busking outside in the evenings and played a few tunes from the album, most poignantly (A) Face In The Crowd, and it was always emotional.
    It’s always a light hearted sprightly album with Ray in excellent mood. I guess he was really knowing it would not be a hit. It’s almost like a capitulation after the overwrought Preservation, but with Ray still smiling in the end. It also has an endearing very English kind of tacky feel with a bit of a Benny Hill vibe.
    I like the album so much, I even re-purchased it as SACD (along with the previous three). There is really a bit of difference in the sound compared to normal CD, but it’s very subtle. For example the bass drum sounds more natural.
    Now if only the SACDs were multichannel, but no… I read somewhere that Ray is not into surround, which is a bit of a shame.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2022

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    Speaking of the Starmaker TV show, don't you think the weirdest part was having the cameras at the front so that the first row of seats had to duck every time the camera moved?
  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I don't think anyone really knows what a ballad is anymore lol

    Technically it is a poem or song narrating a story in short stanzas .... but in the modern world it seems to mean Love Song lol
  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Although quite different, I am seeing a lot of connection to Everybody's In Showbiz, and not just the lyrics to tomorrow's song.
  10. JTemperance

    JTemperance Forum Resident

    Been loving all the Preservation talk! My father, for all his faults, was a vigorous supporter of Act 2 when I was a little kid and loved the Kinks, so I never had some of the baggage that came with approaching it. It's frequently ludicrous and I'm with a few that "Nobody Gives" ranks amongst my least favorite Dalton-era Kinks songs, but the melodies! A few favorite moments - that great slow build-up in "Second Hand Car Spiv" with the power oozing, when Ray comes in with a relatively unaffected voice just for the "down with nudity" verse in "Shepherds Of The Nation." I hadn't heard in many years and just listened to it again and I still think most of it is great even when Davies' obsessions veer towards the preposterous.

    I always find it funny that Pitchfork apparently gave it a 9.5 at some point (wildly contrasting with all other reviews on the Wiki page). And I wish I had access to a YouTube link, but there exists a rather killer garage-punk take (demolition, if you will?) of "Salvation Road" by a band called Lamps. Had the 7" buried on an old hard drive but I remember my eyes bugging out when I saw what the B-side was.

    Speaking of garage-punk, etc, The Blind Shake out of Minnesota put on one of the greatest gigs I've ever seen, and when I approached the merch booth they were offering a new 7" - with a cover of "Such A Shame"! They play it pretty straight and calm, but that's a great pick for a cover!

  11. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    Soap Opera:

    This is another album from the time period from Muswell to Schoolboys where I knew none of the songs going into this thread. So I fit very nicely intoMartj’s excellent analysis as to how, in the timeframe in which I was coming of age and discovering the kinks, there was no internet access (I was 16 in the early 80s) and the few reviews that could be found of this kinks era (and Soap Opera in particular) were so negative, coupled with the dismal sales performance and the lack (for me anyway) of any of the songs ever having been heard on the radio. The result was a death knell on any interest on my part in exploring this album or era.

    When I like a band, I am typically a completist, I’ll dig for rare B sides, soundtrack one offs and bonus tracks. Its worth noting though that, of the group of bands that I really like from the 60s (the stones, the kinks, and to a lesser extent the who and the Beatles), I failed as a completist. They are all bands which I never went back and attempted to purchase and explore their early discographies. In the case of the Stones and the Kinks, like many, I made do with greatest hits albums (for example with the Stones, between Hot Rocks, More Hot Rocks and especially Rolled Gold, it felt like I had all their early hits, which somewhat negated my need to find the early albums, so I picked up with Beggars Banquest and everything thereafter). For the kinks, Greatest Hits and then Kronikles seemed to cover me, and the RCA era never caught my interest enough to explore, so my first true kinks album was Sleepwalker (actually Misfits first upon release, then Sleepwalker and all that came after).

    Which was probably a good thing as a teenager, pre-internet, since as we here all know, the kinks albums, like the early stones albums, were a mishmash when you consider how the albums released in the US were different than the ones in the UK, and were often hard to find anyway.

    Without this thread, courtesy of the Internet, and the reappraisal it allows and even ignites, I would never have gone back and explored the kinks early 60s albums or this stretch of albums from Muswell to Schoolboys. That would’ve been a real shame as I am enjoying these albums immensely.

    In particular, I put Soap Opera on for the first time a few weeks ago and sat and listened to it with headphones. I think it’s quite good. First time though I really did like all the songs and thought it flowed well. The story was fine, though I am sure I really only got a surface view from one listen, the upcoming song by song and the intelligent analysis you all bring to the table will surely deepen my understanding.

    I guess this long ramble is intended to thank you all for helping me discover this period of the kinks music. While I may not ever like it as much as I like their first golden era or the upcoming Aristo era, you all have helped me to find a whole other great batch of really cool Kinks music that I’ll be listening to for a long time to come.

    I only hope that those of you that champion this RCA era so highly and have otherwise written off the upcoming Arista era will make the same effort to see why I and others here like those records so much. You may get the same payoff that my patience rewarded here.
  12. pantofis

    pantofis Senior Member

    Berlin, Germany
    Now that you mention it, Everbody‘s In Showbiz does seem like a prequel, the Starmaker‘s everyday life. With Sitting In My Hotel as a moment of clarity which is paralleled in Soap Opera‘s Face In The Crowd.
  13. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Yes as he could have easily had a wardrobe malfunction and we wouldn't stand for that would we....... er @Wondergirl ?
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  14. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    :laugh: Right! :angel:
  15. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Clearly Ray likes audience participation!
  16. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Everybody's A Star ( Starmaker).

    Single by The Kinks
    from the album Soap Opera
    "Ordinary People"
    Released April 1975
    Recorded August - October 1974 at Konk Studios, London
    Genre Rock
    Length 2:57
    Label RCA
    Songwriter(s) Ray Davies
    Producer(s) Ray Davies

    stereo mix (2:57), recorded Aug 1974, additional overdubs done Oct 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    I am a creator,
    Inventor and innovator.
    I observe the people,
    The ordinary people

    No matter what your occupation is
    Everybody's in showbiz.
    'Cos I'm a Star (gonna make you a star),
    And I can make you a Star (gonna make you a star),

    I believe that everybody's a celebrity,
    And we've all got personality
    And individuality.
    We all read lines,
    And we all act a part,
    We all need a script
    And an audience to play to.
    No matter what you do,
    Or who you are,
    Everybody's a star.

    I'm the magic maker,
    I'm the image maker,
    I'm the interior decorator.

    I can take any man
    I see standing in the road
    And put rouge on his cheeks
    And put some powder on his nose.
    I'll teach him how to act,
    I'll remould and reshape him.
    I'll put him in a stage suit
    And I'll teach him how to pose.
    I can turn the most ordinary man in the world into a star.

    I'm a starmaker (gonna make you a star),
    Yes, I'm gonna make you a star (gonna make you a star)
    No matter how dull or simple you are
    Everybody's a star.

    I'm the magic maker,
    I'm the image maker,
    I can make or break you.
    l'm a star maker (gonna make you a star)
    Yes, I'm gonna make you a star (gonna make you a star),
    Gonna make you a star,
    'Cos everybody's a star.

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

    The opening track on Soap Opera is an uptempo pop/rock track that could well have been a hit in the seventies.
    It was released as a single in the US and Australia, but it didn't trouble the charts.

    The opening chord sequence is strong, but reminiscent of many rock tracks. The feel seems to be in line with the somewhat declining Glam scene of the day, to the point where some thought that Ray was making fun of the Glam scene with the styling, and somewhat suggesting that the Glam scene bands were very much products of a starmaker type character.
    I don't think this is the case, but I guess one could come to that conclusion with some broad strokes.

    I think the lyrical theme actually brings Shakespeare to mind more than anything

    "All the world’s a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players;
    They have their exits and their entrances;
    And one man in his time plays many parts"
    As You Like It - Act II scene VII - William Shakespeare

    We open with a pretty straightforward statement from Starmaker, that he is a creator, inventor and innovator.
    Then the premise that Everybody's in Showbiz is presented, and it just takes some of that magic dust to then turn them into a star.
    The idea that everybody's in showbiz is amplified with the idea that we are all delivering rehearsed lines and putting on an act, and we are all playing to an audience, though sometimes the audience isn't paying with money, but attention and laughs, or whatever.

    Starmaker goes on to say that he can polish up any of the amatuer actors in the world and turn them into professionals, with a bit of a remodel, the right clothes, and a bit of stage make up.
    That in itself doesn't really flatter the actors of the world, because essentially it is suggesting that it is merely the facade that creates the star :) . Anyway....

    At the end of the day, that is pretty much the whole lyrical idea being put forward here. We are just being introduced to the main character, however you interpret who that character is at this point.

    Musically we have a track that is more in line with sixties Kinks in terms of its presentation... Under three minutes and presented in a way that should appeal to the pop/rock music market of the day..... but songs need to be played for people to hear them, and it would be interesting to know if this song was ever played on the radio anywhere.

    After the initial four chord punch in, with Dave's, again, nice sounding guitar, we get the bass and drums come in with the keys, and then the horns accenting the chord pattern.
    The organ is texturally really good here.

    When we get to the "I believe everybody's a celebrity...' section, the horns break free with a really nice counterpoint rhythm that sets this section up beautifully.

    The interesting thing about this song is that to me it is the arrangement that makes the song work so well. There really isn't too much going on in here, but the way the arrangement is put together it gives the feel that we have changing sections, but for the most part it is pretty much the same chord structure but with different accents and a couple of minor additions. It is actually a pretty clever way of writing.

    We get some spoken parts that also help to break up the sections and of course Ray has all the character and delivery needed to make this work.

    We also get a really nice Dave lead break that also adds a nice little change up to the song.
    We get cowbells and handclaps and all the fruit, and we get a really choice little bass line from John Dalton.

    So we open the album with a really solid track, that engages without really exciting, and introduces the whole theme, without having to say a great deal.
    I suppose one can either see that as brilliantly economical, or annoyingly lazy, but the truth probably lies somewhere in between.

    I like the opening track quite a bit, in spite of it not doing anything more than it needs to.

  17. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    "Everybody's A Star (Starmaker)"

    Firstly, some have commented how much better the sound quality is on this album compared to Act 2. I haven't really noticed that - the main thing I notice about this track is how little use is made of stereo. Everything seems to be mixed into the centre, which is a little frustrating when I have a wide stereo field in my headphones which isn't being used.

    It's probably harder to rate individual tracks on this album than on any of the other concept albums, because each track plays its part in the telling of a linear story. If The Kinks were Yes, Side One would probably be listed as a single track with six movements.

    This track's job is to set the scene, explain the concept and whet your appetite for what's coming next, and it does it well. As a song it's a serviceable 70s rocker, although there's nothing about the tune or the words which would make me put it on any list of great Kinks tracks, and nothing much to analyse. It's basically the start of the show, and it has me sitting down with my popcorn at the ready. So it's "job done".
  18. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    I like the track, and it sets up the story perfectly, but the intro is a bit too close to 'I Can't Explain' for me. But it's Ray, so I forgive him!
  19. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Is "I Can't Explain" the song Ray claims the Who ripped off from the Kinks? If so, I think he's stealing it back here. Punchy uptempo rocker, which does sound a lot better sonically than Preservation Act 2. Not a bad single but Ray's spoken word parts are a drawback. A much better album opener than some silly Announcement too.
  20. Ex-Fed

    Ex-Fed Not Fed Ex

    New York State
    "Everybody's a Star (Starmaker)”

    We need to hear those same three churning guitar chords from Dave every couple of years. They are reassuring. All is as it should be.
  21. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    I was laughing alone as I listened to Everybody's a Star this morning… For years, I thought it was an absurdly campy self-parodical comical number. And it is, but this morning, it didn't seem like a bad thing anymore. So many aspects about this track I’d deem undefendable when in my right mind: low sax ballroom rock (I'm aware of the exceptions, but this shouldn’t be one of them), over the top female vocals, pop pastiche, glam parody (a pleonasm if there ever was one)… But as I was listening, inspired by the thread's spirit of looking a little on the sunny side of songs, it all came together as huge fun. Even the sax. Even (and especially!!!!) the female voices. “Gon-na-make-you-a-star!”, damn if this isn’t some crazy great hook. “Woooo !”. Catchy as hell. For some reason, it always used to annoy me and be one of my least favorite tunes on the LP. If only because it shouldn’t be allowed to create such a novelty good natured throwaway tune out of one of the most touching philosophical ruminations about pop culture ever written (Celluloid Heroes), while recycling the most basic rock riff you could think of (I Can’t Explain, which the Kinks come back to every so often, be it in Brainwashed, Top of the Pops, and soon again on the next LP's The Hard Way). This should never work, and if @Vangro or others have nasty thing to say about it, I will probably agree with most of them. But man, this is fun. Put it loud, and enjoy. The guitar break (bettered in The Hard Way, incidentally), Ray’s acting/singing, the Taxman bass + handclaps section, but also the sax, and those stupid and irresistible female voices, at the same time mocking and celebrating the myth of rock music. Yeah, "job done" indeed. If you're not in your right mind but in the right state of mind, that is.
  22. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    To be fair to Ray , from what I read I'm pretty sure that the ever self-deprecatory Pete Townshend has openly and often admitted to copping 'I Can't Explain' from 'You Really Got Me', although I've never heard the riff as that close tbh: I guess it was more that Pete T was inspired by the innovative brutal staccato ness of the Kinks hit and moved to created his own version.

    This track is the Kinks kontribution to that great odd rock tradition of 'the (almost in this case) title track that appears on a later LP', eg The Doors song 'Waiting For The Sun' appearing 2 albums after the LP of that title.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2022
  23. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Same riff as "Do Ya" (The Move then later ELO)?
  24. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    And possibly "Fox on the Run' by Sweet? Oh, and hundreds of others, I imagine.
  25. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Molde, Norway
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