The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Location:
    Dearborn, MI
    This week has been my first experience with the "Soap Opera" album. Like "Preservation Act 2," AllMusic did a number on this one, and for whatever reason I just never got around to it. I don't have the ability to dig as deep as you guys do, and I don't care about following the story/plot of the album, but I will say I enjoy 3 of these first 4 songs a lot. "Everybody's a Star (Starmaker)" and "Ordinary People" are solid tunes to open the album with. They get stuck in my head. The only thing I don't like are these female backing vocalists, though they aren't as annoying as on "Preservation Act 2." I would like to hear Dave handle some of these. I get the showbiz side of it, but I wish most (if not all) musicals of the time didn't feel they had to resort to it. "Rush Hour Blues" - I don't find as good or enjoyable as many of you. Just seems kind of long and unfocused to me (so far). "Nine to Five" reminds me of "Oklahoma USA" in a way. I wish it was a bit longer to feel more finished, but it's a good one. "He's checking a list that's been checked out before and he's starting to lose his mind." Whoever mixed this album finally got Ray's vocals up to a decent level. The sound surprised me as I didn't expect it to rock so. The album cover giving me false impressions.
     
  2. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Location:
    Dearborn, MI
    "We were concerned about whether we were steering too far from the group's sound, so we really viewed Soap Opera as a separate project Ray wanted to do. It wasn't an easy thing to sell: the record company would have been happier if we'd just done tracks with a running theme but not take it as far as we did. We all knew the recording wasn't going to capture the imagination of the masses." - Mick Avory

    "I feared that Soap Opera might have been the Kinks' last album. It seemed overindulgent, and there was little interaction creatively. Although some of the songs were really good, I thought it was an exercise in Ray disappearing up his own a$$, and that we should just get it done as efficiently and painlessly as possible." - Dave Davies

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston TX
    I've read this quote a number of times, and it still makes me laugh. A very colorful and...picturesque way to make his point! I didn't previously know he was specifically referring to Soap Opera though.
    I learned this a couple of months ago and I just can't comprehend that a band together for over 30 years did not have a charting album in the UK after 1967. Heck, you'd think at least one would have snuck in sometime.
     
  4. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    It's crystal clear that this album is the RAY SHOW! I can't imagine the guys having any say in it whatsoever other than minor in nature. BUT they all signed on with it because they also knew what they had in Ray. I do think he's a genius. But genius doesn't mean perfect.
     
  5. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I too have giggled at this quote. It is quite on target. :D
     
  6. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    A few more quotes from Dave. These are a little more complimentary than some of the other quotes. These are from the book Kink. Maybe he will have new thoughts on his upcoming biography?

    "Soap Opera was an obvious opportunity to make a commentary on how ridiculous life can be in show-biz, particularly the people in it- the so-called 'stars'. When we began routining for the stage show, it was fun to dress up in high heeled boots and glittery shirts, silver and pink Afro wigs and gold satin suites, Glam-Rock style. It was really daft and actually hilarious at times. Luckily, the album didn't take too long, which was a blessing in a way, but there was not enough attention given to the arrangements and the sound. It remains my least favorite Kinks album, but I do urge the reader to check out "Holiday Romance" and "Ducks On the Wall".

    "After touring Soap Opera I felt much more confident about myself and my playing."

    "It was time to rehearse Soap Opera, which was the album based on Starmaker, and I decided to try and enter into the spirit of it. Some of the ideas were very funny, yet it was a searching and questioning time for us. I wasn't sure where the concept albums were taking us as a band, if indeed they were taking us anywhere at all. It was obviously a very creative time for Ray. But at the time these ideas meant little to me, aside from the humorous side of them. I was content to just go along with it, but in private I was pursuing my own spiritual interests."

    "I suppose on reflection that Soap Opera was a novel idea."
     
  7. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    Since Lola and Come Dancing were hits, I'm most surprised that the albums with those tracks didn't at least make the top 100 in the UK!

    I'm also surprised by Arthur in the US as you often read how it was a success and got their career back on track there.
     
  8. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Dave got to review some very good and interesting singles here that were very much of the time!
     
  9. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    OT but is their something very ironic going down here whether deliberate or not?
    I am a Floyd novice but given they are singing about nine to five i assume that when this was a reality for them they were playing blues styled music in mediocre fashion that they realised would not be the key to their great success.
     
  10. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Perhaps it's so we can dream of lounging on our desert island following our "eventual" windfall?
     
  11. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    None To Five is good but Time Song clocks it!
     
  12. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    When Work Is Over.

    stereo mix, recorded Aug 1974, additional overdubs done Oct 1974 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    When work is over he likes to hit the bars,
    And at the boozer we'll have another jar,
    Because drinking can help ease the strain
    Of his boring occupation,
    Dull conversation,
    Living by the book
    And the rules and regulations.

    Drinking helps us to forget what we are,
    We leave the office and walk straight to the bar.
    Don't stop to think,
    Have another drink!

    Drinking helps us to relax with the chaps,
    A double scotch and we forget where we're at.
    Don't stop to think
    Have another drink!

    When work is over he likes to hit the bars,
    Go down the boozer and have another jar,
    Because drinking can help ease the strain
    Of his boring occupation,
    Dull conversation,
    Living by the book
    And the rules and regulations.

    Boring occupations,
    Dull conversations,
    Living by the book
    And the rules and regulations.

    Drinking helps us to forget what we are,
    We leave the office and walk straight to the bar,
    Don't stop to think,
    Have another drink.

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

    This is a really cool little track. The guys dabble in some elements of seventies (sort of) funk and mix and match it with some nice changes that give this track a lot to like about it.

    This song reminds me of my first job in the bank.... in fact in many ways the majority of this album does. I was 15, so I would catch the bus to work, spend 8 or so hours playing with those horrid mid eighties computers, answering phone calls, chasing cheques, processing payments, balancing accounts etc etc and then at lunch, go to the pub, after work go to the pub, when in doubt go to the pub .... By the time I had been in the bank for a year I generally couldn't even remember getting home, such was the amount of drinking that was being done.
    I left the bank when I was about 19, and in many ways it was an act of self preservation....

    So I can completely relate to this lyric, I lived it at a young age.
    Ray covers all the major bases well, and this is another track that shows Ray's ability to observe and report accurately the goings on. Solid lyrical addition, that adds to the narrative of the album, and also speaks to reality very well.

    Musically this is a great track.
    As stated yesterday, just rolling the bottom end off the bass allows it to be mixed up a bit, and although it isn't always the way to go, in these instances here it does exactly what it needs to. It seems odd that Dalton doesn't like this album, because his playing on it is great.

    We come firing in with the bass, guitar and keys punching out a really neat three note riff, that is rhythmically very engaging, and it just really pops for me.
    Underneath Mick is rocking out a really nice bit of drumming, and the whole opening section moves beautifully and comes together tightly wrapped in a very engaging package.
    It is accented really well with horns, and pretty much from the moment this song starts I'm in it.

    It is really cool how we go into the first verse... it is written more like a bridge or chorus. We move from the root note riff up to the IV.... and so it makes the opening verse run as a IV, VI(m), I Then the "boring occupation" section is V, I, V, I ... it is a really nice piece of writing and keeps the song engaging with nice changes and interesting rhythms.
    Another thing about it though is the way the vocals are arranged. With a call and response set up.

    Then we move into the "Drinking helps us to forget what we are", section, which comes across like the chorus. Even though, musically it is kind of like the verse.... It is really interesting the way Ray wrote this, at least the way I am hearing it this morning.

    After the excellent opening, verse and chorus we get a short instrumental section that is based around the funky intro, and Dave lays down some really nice lead guitar. He has the good sense to keep a clean tone, and it has a funky jazz, crossbred with a bit of country, kind of sound and feel to it.

    This section goes back into the chorus, and straight into the second verse.... From my perspective this is just a really solid piece of writing and arrangement. It just flips some basic ideas around, but in a very thoughtful way.... Initially it sort of sounds much more complex than it is, but as you listen more closely it is just some supreme arrangement that makes this track really pop ... to my ears at least.

    For me this song can easily stand alone, but perhaps that is due to me connecting with it so well from a life experience perspective....
    but it really seems to be part of the main focus of the side one suite....
    We open the album with the theme introduction over the first couple of songs, and then we get the extended fun of Rush Hour Blues, but the heart of the whole thing here is the core of Norman's existence, which is the mind numbing job, and the post-work drinks that make it bearable, but the thing is, that all ends up being most of each day, and it ends up that it is just about your complete life.... by the time you include commuting, dinner, a shower etc, it's all over. time to go to bed and do it again.....
    So we get 9 to 5, When Work Is Over and tomorrow's song Have Another Drink, essentially forming the heart of the album, in the same way they form the heart of Norman's existence.
    Certainly we have other stuff going on over the course of the album, but they generally seem to involve fantasy/escapism, hard reality and examples of what seems like futility.... but we'll get to that stuff.

    A really enjoyable track, that for me, can stand alone, but melds beautifully to the songs either side of it in an album context.

     
  13. Ex-Fed

    Ex-Fed Not Fed Ex

    Location:
    New York State
    "When Work Is Over" and "Have Another Drink"--two songs on a 12 song album that make pretty much the same point. I love them both. Who could possibly choose between them? Certainly not Ray.
     
  14. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Similar to 'Second Hand Car Spiv' (though it doesn't sound anything like it) When Work Is Over again just makes me think 'this is 1977-81 new wave music half a decade early and NONE of The Kinks 1964 contemporaries sounded this ahead of the curve by 1974!!' Unlike 'Spiv' which to me is kinda like Devo type weird art rock, this is more like a a reflection of the latent pub rock scene of the time, and an anticipation of more down at heel subject matter and delivery of late 70s UK acts like Squeeze and The Specials, reminiscent especially of the latters brilliant mini epics of British alcoholic ennui like 'Nite Klub'. 'Stereotypes' and 'Friday Night And Saturday Morning' delivered with Terry Hall's contemptuous yet still somehow wistful streetwise drawl. Bitter nights and even more bitter pints of bitter nursed in sad Saturdays in the singles bar. This brilliant little track can honestly hold it's head up with any of that stuff, and to me it's significantly stronger than it's similarly themed immediate follow up on the alum which has seemed to put it in the shade in reviews over the years. A couple of years ago, it gained some well deserved recognition when taste curators Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs of the group St Etienne included it on their 'Three Day Week' comp of neglected highlights of mid 70s UK rock:

    Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs - Three Day Week (When The Lights Went Out 1972-1975)

    [​IMG]
     
  15. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    The lyric on this is fantastic, making up for the somewhat plodding music. I think that most of us can relate to this one!
     
    CheshireCat, Smiler, markelis and 6 others like this.
  16. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    I had a rough start with this album, not liking the initial premise or any of the first three songs very much -too many overfamilar '50s and '60s rock and roll tropes - but it's getting more like the Ray Davies I know and love with tracks 4 and 5.
     
  17. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    The guy was waiting for 5pm, like a schoolboy waits for the school bell to ring. And off he goes…
    My obsession about Ray’s own obsession with quoting, self-quoting and creating musical innuendos and double-entendres really seems to come to an all-time peak on this “suite” of little songs. Remember we had the “it’s just another day” phrase in yesterday’s Nine to… Boom! The monotony of the nursery rhyme-like chorus is abruptly stopped by the outburst of Memphis horns and funky rhythm section that deliberately replicates the last instrumental break of… Here Comes Yet Another Day, the Nine to Five of touring musician life. No coincidence there, no repetition, only brilliant, meaningful writing. Everybody’s a star and in Show-biz indeed… Speaking of which, we all suspected Show-biz had its roots in a tentative Lola Part 2 project that never was. And it was in Lola that we got the first installments of Ray equating working musicians with exploited routine workers, in Denmark Street and Get Back in Line. In When Work is Over, we do get an upfront melodic quote of Denmark Street (the “Drinking helps us to forget what we are” section quoting the “you got to a publisher and play him your song” one). Conscious or subconscious, it all resonates in quite a fascinating way between three albums connected by a thematic thread. As for the obvious Under the Boardwalk homage, I’ve long scratched my head about that one, it’s probably meant to convey the cultural contrast between two very distinct visions of escapism, the US seashore hedonistic mythology versus the UK mundane boozers in undistinguished streets and bars. Musically, the whole thing explodes with energy and band power, Mick’s walloping drums deserving a special mention, I think. The best thing in the song may be the «Don’t stop to think /Have another drink” hook, on which Ray basically invents Jeff Tweedy. That’s how great he was, back in 1975, unifying three Kinks LP’s and creating the missing link between an early sixties pop/soul hit and the darlings of the indie Americana scene of the turn of the millennium.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2022
  18. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    I'll argue that "When Work is Over" is more linked to the previous song than to the following : "9 to 5" lacks a final chord, which is replaced by "When Work Is Over"'s intro. You can't play "9 to 5" on its own. To me these are really one two-part song, much like "Money & Corruption/I'm your Man". And it works really well. I believe Ray should have ended the side here. I don't care much for the next song, which sounds like a Muswell Hillbillies outtake.
     
  19. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Nine to Five/ When Work is Over
    I'll comment on these two songs together because they make a great pairing. And, as Mark says, with tomorrow's song they make a coherent trilogy for the middle of this album: (1) enduring the drudgery of work; (2) drinking in the pub after work; and (3) er, having another drink... Nine to Five is a nice wistful song. I'm not sure why Ray didn't extend it beyond a mere 1:48 - maybe because it has a heavy dose of melancholy. After this, the pulsing rhythm of When the Work is Over comes as a relief - in much the same way as a few drinks after a boring day in the office is a relief. I really enjoy Ray's vocals in both songs - he's playing his role with a lot of conviction even if we know the rest of the band weren't that happy with the journey.
     
  20. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    I didn't really notice this song when I first heard this album but it's really good. Very fun, bouncy, little track which very much mirrors the experience of going down the boozer after another boring day at work, the linking of this to the preceding track is vital! Like a few people, I'm not entirely sold on the female backing singers, could really have done with more Dave. Is Ray doing a bit of a Jagger impersonation on that "Don't stop and think" line?
     
  21. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    I am glad you clarified they weren't Mick Avory's pair!
     
  22. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Someone spiked my drink with alcohol!
     
  23. pantofis

    pantofis Senior Member

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    Unbelievable story! I always thought the premise of When Work Is Over is rooted in pure exaggeration and satire. Myself, I always hate socializing in pubs, so thanks for a personal perspective.

    Musically, the song is a much needed-pick-me-up, just as intended, really love how it kicks off with that intricate riff and drums interplay. There seems to be two consecutive edit beeps when the riff comes for the second time. As if some horns have been cut.
    Short as it is, the song could have been even shorter. It essentially repeats itself again after 1:20. But I guess running time has to be amounted somehow and better repeat that than part of the last track.

    What an appropriate song to celebrate the end of a work week btw!
     
  24. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "When Work Is Over"

    I get confused between the last two tracks of the side as to which one is called what, especially as this one has the words "Have Another Drink" in it. I tend to see the last three tracks of the side as one entity - I've already noticed how when three of the six tracks have passed that the needle is much more than halfway across the record. Anyway, this one continues the show nicely, it has a good groove and tune, and I don't have a lot more to say about it!
     
  25. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Oh yeah, Larry Page said he was hard work!
     
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