The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. warewolf95

    warewolf95 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    Ok, I guess it's time to wade into the waters here :p

    I'm a young dude (26, to be exact...). Properly got into the Kinks sometime around 2012 or 2013, I wanna say.

    So basically, I always knew the Kinks in the general sense as "That other British Invasion band" after the Beatles and The Stones. Everybody on earth knows All Day And All Of the Night and You Really Got Me.

    For no reason I just never got around to checking in on them.

    Then I recall becoming more aware of at least Lola and then Victoria and thinking - "That's the Kinks?! I've always known these songs! This sounds nothing like those other songs. I like bands that evolved and change. Maybe I should check them out...."

    Etc etc etc

    So long story short, I dive in head first. I like everything I'm hearing and go for the usual suspects - Face to Face, Something Else, Village Green, Arthur, Lola.... etc.

    And then I hit Sleepwalker. And Misfits. And Word of Mouth. etc.

    "WHERE HAS THIS MUSIC BEEN ALL MY LIFE AND WHY HAVE I NEVER HEARD ANY OF THESE KILLER SONGS!!!"

    I full-on fell in love with the Arista years material - Sleepwalker through Word Of Mouth. Those are among the finest ROCK albums I've ever heard. Full of CATCHY songs and loaded with more energy than many punk records at times! But of course Ray always had his knack for getting interesting/meaningful/commentary-laced lyrics saddled inside awesome rock songs so that you get attracted by the music and the chorus and then realize the song has substance!! I love that.

    So much commentary! :p

    I'm the kinda guy that likes to strap on my axe, turn up my Marshall and headbang along while smashing out some chords. This is my music, yo :)

    Around the Dial
    Destroyer
    Word of Mouth
    Do It Again (THE GREATEST GUITAR RIFF EVER!)
    Give the People What They Want
    Pressure
    Sleepwalker
    Father Christmas
    Definite Maybe

    etc etc

    Let's rock :p

    I'm sorry, I'm emphasizing the "rock" so much because I really do feel they did it better than so many (and with so much more substance) and are also unduly forgotten in this regard. Sure they had a major comeback period with those albums but in this day and age all anyone remembers is Village Green and Arthur, etc

    If you have not watched this, PLEASE do yourself a massive favor and give this a watch. So. Much. ENERGY!




    All of that aside, I love all of their catalogue and I actually have a strong love of the "theater" albums, particularly Soap Opera, Schoolboys in Disgrace and Preservation Act I (Act II is so dense I still haven't sat through it...).

    You just have to love how SERIOUS they/Ray were about it. Ok, sure you're not gonna reach for Soap Opera randomly most likely but damn there is EFFORT in these albums! You gotta respect that. A+ for effort, B- for executions, haha. I absolutely love how Ray gave ZERO "F's" no matter what they did. You never feel he is anything less than 100% enamored of the material, ya know? And I don't mean this just in regards to the theater albums.

    Also, I'm sure it's been discussed loads, but man Dave could sure be their secret weapon!!! I pretty much love any song he contributed. They are all pretty much great. Talk about an underrated guitarist (check out that live video I posted) and an unfairly under-utilized songwriter as well!!! All hail Dave!!!

    Really, I truly do enjoy all of their albums. Absolutely incredible band with a wealth of riches to discover. Each album is a journey!!!

    If I had to pick a top 5 favorites it would be:

    Lola Vs. Powerman
    Word of Mouth
    Something Else
    Sleepwalker
    Soap Opera (Yes, I'm serious)

    Sorry for rambling! I love the Kinks so much (even if from a different angle than most) and can't imagine my listening without them!! :)

    P.S.
    Does anybody have any tips for getting into Village Green?! I've tried since Day 1 and, sonically, it's one of the worst albums I've ever heard. Makes me want to shut it off :p
     
  2. Brian x

    Brian x half-animate bean

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    quirky list -- in a great way. Soap Opera's in my top 5 too.
     
  3. warewolf95

    warewolf95 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    Soap is the easiest of the theater bunch to digest imo.

    The songs are immediate and the album goes by pretty quickly whenever I play it.

    Its not incredible or anything as far as song quality goes for the most part, but I just feel like it holds together really solidly as one whole piece from beginning to end.

    Its like an episode of a tv show to me or something.

    Idk. Its weird and I like it :p
     
  4. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Location:
    Maplewood, NJ
    Welcome!! So wonderful to read about your discovery and dive into the Kinks. All the Arista albums will be new to me, so I am excited to start that journey!

    Regarding your question here, I have loved the Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society since I was about 20 years old (I’ll be 40 next month). Last summer, as we were going through it on this very thread, I was on vacation at a beach house rental. In the evenings, after the kids had gone to bed, I’d sit on the deck with the sounds of the waves gently crashing below, I listened to this album alone, under the moonlight, with my eyes closed, sipping a beer. That was a wonderful way to listen to this album. Let it in your soul. Highly recommend.

    here were my overall thoughts at the time:

     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2022
  5. pablo fanques

    pablo fanques Somebody's Bad Handwroter

    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Count me as another defender of 'Education'. I'm a sucker for epics and this one definitely hits my sweet spot. I also got an Arthur vibe from the track but couldn't pinpoint exactly which track. I like that the horns are more atmospheric here rather than the "in your face" approach of most of the RCA material. So far School Boys and Soap Opera have benefitted the most from our collective deep dive for me. Really loving this stuff!
     
  6. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Mark i wouldn't presume globally today that being female entitled me to the same education options as a male and that it was only an issue for a time!
     
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  7. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    I'm not so sure the similitude is voluntary. These chords are a gimmick of Rays, I believe you find them again in No More Looking Back, if we're talking about the same chords.
     
  8. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Oh my, your daughter just nailed formal education in (modern) life!
     
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  9. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Class-ick Ray or no formal disgrace?
     
  10. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Even though you can hear more of them?
     
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  11. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    In House Re-Education (Act 2)

    Iam with you on this as i have been trying in the back of my mind to align Education with Shangri-La in an across the board way and for me it cannot be done.
    In the latter there is fantastic light and shade, lyrics giving a feeling for the character, genuine excitement, great changes of tempi that excite me everytime, kickass horns and best of all wait for it.........the thing really rocks!
    No explanation or education needed.

    No I don't hate Education and Ray has put a lot of work into the lyrics, (if not some of the chord changes and perhaps melodies?) i do admire the effort and empathize that it might not be that second nature to easily recall or hum after playback song that avid Kinks fanatics would love to find with most of their output.
     
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  12. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Aye, forever.
     
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  13. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    I listened to Education again this morning, and I think the problem is not just the chord structure, which by the way does have some interesting twists at times, but the fact that the chord progression is too bare, too transparent, unadorned. Even if Gosling and Dave do put an effort in some parts of the song, Dalton is mostly following the tonics, with obvious transitions, and on several occasions bass and vocals are doing the same notes, an artefact I already stated I don't like. It makes the song sound flat. I bet John Dalton wasn't given enough time to work on this one.
     
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  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    The First Time We Fall in Love.

    stereo mix, recorded 2 Sep, 1975 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    How well I remember my very first love affair.
    Those juvenile fantasies and innocent dreams we shared.
    But we're too blind to realize that we are totally unprepared
    For the first time we fall in love.
    We think it's forever, the first time we fall in love.
    We always treasure the first time we fall in love.
    Those other romances come and go,
    But we cherish the memory of
    The first time we fall in love.

    First love can be such a strain.
    It can rule your head, it can bring you pain,
    And when it ends it seems such a shame.
    The first time we fall in love,
    Can make you sad, it can keep you awake,
    It can drive you mad.
    People say you're too young and it's only a fad
    The first time we fall in love.
    The first time we fall in love.

    The first time I fell out of love, it knocked me through the floor.
    My world came crashing down, it shook me to the core.
    I was unprepared 'cos I was only a kid
    And I was much too young and I wasn't equipped
    For the emotional pressures and stresses of it.
    But oh, I'll never forget
    The way that she looked the first time we met.
    Time goes by but we never forget
    The first time we fall in love.

    Love can be exciting, it can be a bloody bore.
    Love can be a pleasure or nothing but a chore.
    Love can be like a dull routine,
    It can run you around until you're out of steam.
    It can treat you well, it can treat you mean,
    Love can mess you around,
    Love can pick you up, it can bring you down.
    But they'll never know
    The feelings we show
    The first time we fall in love.
    The first time we fall in love.

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

    The song certainly falls into the pastiche territory for me, and it isn't so much the fifties styling, but more Ray's opening to the vocal, which is so affected, it is almost distracting.

    I guess it is fairly apt that we had our little Beach Boys break down just before it, because this seems to be directly styled on a Beach Boys type love song. We get the high falsetto vocals and harmonies, and a fairly standard turnaround for the first section, and it seems to say Brian Wilson in almost every way.

    I reckon this is a pretty good lyric, and I think Ray manages to cover all/most angles. I guess "the first time we fall in love" somewhat needs a better definition, because the reality is that most boys (I can't speak for girls) fall in lust... whether that means cuddling or something more, depends on the person, but it is normally all about the physical... Physical attraction. The want to be physically involved in some manner. The emotional side of things is normally about pride and isn't fully developed.... and as any adult male knows, when you get older love takes on a different dimension, and the picture in the mind of your personal child, doesn't have much to do with the reality of the adult you became.

    When the change comes in, we have the angle of the lyrics change as well. Now we have the stab of disappointment when it all goes wrong ... at the sock hop lol

    Whether love or lust, the first time can be so overwhelming that the results can seriously effect the way guys head from there. For all the talk of men all being emotionless machines that just get what they want, or can, is a pretty false narrative, and I feel pretty safe that most guys would agree. Particularly when it happens in a school age male, while there is a hierarchy of aggression and in many instances, a fight for physical and emotional survival in the turbulent world of school and youth, it can seriously effect the way a male thinks of love and relationships from that point on.... I think that's why a lot of parents aren't generally happy when some form of serious relationship appears in their child's life very early on, even though we may think it's cute.... because we all know where it can go.

    Anyway, I reckon love and relationships can be the most difficult topics, because rational thought disappears. I think that's why there are so many songs about love and relationships that cover such a broad spectrum of topics and storylines.

    The music starts off almost sarcastic, or perhaps that is just Ray's vocal that gives me that feeling. In fact, even the guys backing vocals seem to be a little tongue in cheek.

    The arrangement is pleasant musically, and I think they manage to capture a fairly authentic version of that fifties sound and feel, and it is mainly the vocals that give me the pastiche feel.

    My favourite part of the song is the change up. Ray moves back into his own voice and delivery and gives us an intense vocal that reflects the lyric well, and the music changes into something a little more engaging and interesting.
    The piano has some nice lines and adds to the musical value of this section. The punchy chords and drum accents also work well, but instead of moving into a different chorus section we get the same thing but with an uptempo rendering.
    In the background we have Dave doing a few little licks and such and that's nice.

    We get a chorus of nicely harmonised "love" to take us out.....

    I don't dislike this song, but I don't love it. It is a little heavy on the corn, and not funny enough to survive that.
    This is the first song of three or four that do actually connect together to some degree, and once we get past this track we head into the best part of the album in terms of the songs.... from my perspective of course :)

     
  15. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    The First Time We Fall In Love

    The 50s pastiche is strong on this one - the first section can't help but remind me of "Lonely This Christmas" by Mud (especially Ray's vocal affectation), which isn't really something you want to be reminded of (even though I did buy that single in 1974!). The doo-wop-y bits are probably fine if you like that kind of thing, as is the uneasy falsetto section. I much prefer the second half where the pace picks up and it heads towards a more rocking style, but the 50s backing vocals are still in there.

    Overall, it's not one I'd skip, but I'm not a fan of it. No problem, as a decent run of songs is just the other side...
     
  16. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    I remember someone on some Kinks forum somewhere once claiming that it's Dalton singing the first section of this in his 'Willesden Green' Elvis voice!!!! Wishful thinking I think: I'm fairly confident you can detect Ray's distinct timbre doing his own take on Elvis.

    Would it be too much to intepret the musical changes in this one as an attempt at a mini history of rock/pop from the 50s to the 60s? Elvis ish doowoppery, then Beach Boys winsome falsetto, ending with some rocking power chording (and the 'Needles And Pins' riff on the outro!).. er, probably, but I'll put it out there anyway.
     
  17. warewolf95

    warewolf95 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    Fantastic :)
     
  18. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    And I love it ! But hard as you try, you can't beat @Brian x's daughter take on the History of Education !

    We’ve used the word “pastiche” in this thread much more than I’d ever thought we would. I never realized Ray did it so often, and this song is certainly the most extreme he ever got in that direction. Not the best, I don’t think, but a bona fide genre exercise in all things 50’s. I enjoy the jukebox/ballroom feel and find the backing track (and the backing vocals) more Phantom of the Paradise than Grease. I like what Mick’s doing but in the last part of the song, it doesn’t blend too well with the doo-wop backing vocals (I reckon the pacing/placing of the vocals would be to blame, then). Maybe this awkwardness is deliberate, to accentuate the contradictory message (« it can pick you up /it can bring you down ») and the drunk late-night prom atmosphere. (on a side movie note, take Phantom of the Paradise’s director and Grease’s male star and you get Carrie, with a hell of an awkward prom night too…).

    The real draw of this song for me is how Ray speaks and sings for his brother. For what I’ve read around the good old web, Ray does all the lead singing here on the studio kut, whilst Dave used to do the high falsetto part in concert. So Ray does three voices. The verse's extravagant elvis/zappastiche (of questionable taste), the high falsetto in the Don’t Worry Baby section (beautiful “lo-o-o-oove” climax, possibly the highest note Ray ever hit as a singer) and then the angry young man’s regrets part, that gives the song its true meaning. Fourth song in, and they all operate as dialectical essays. Schooldays mused about choosing what to remember (“flaming Junes” or “stormy Novembers”), the idiot dunce invented a genius dance, everybody needs an education but we don’t need no education (courtesy of @ajsmith) if it doesn't teach us the true meaning of life… And now we have this song about first love being two things rolled into one : pure bliss and pure stress. Dave did the second voice in concert but it’s really the third that should’ve been his, because the lyrics are so closely linked to his own experience as an ill-equipped teenager madly in love and all but destroyed by it, when he was estranged from his girl (and child) after the parent's intervention. That Ray would write and sing such lyrics says a lot about his emotional bound with his little brother and their twins-like relationship, so central to everything they ever did, even in their most difficult years.
     
  19. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Mud have been mentioned but this is actually more like the Rubettes ... except it's nowhere near as good. Lame 50s parodies are not really my bag and definitely not when it's the Kinks. Lyrically it's just dull and says nothing of any interest, Ray has decided to do an entire album about school so there has to be a song about first love, box ticked, next cliche, next song.
     
  20. Martyj

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

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    Really? Sorry, I missed it, apparently.

    Let me rephrase that: In a 737 page-long thread consisting 18,000 + entries, I missed it apparently.. But glad to know someone has my back on "Have Another Drink."
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2022
  21. Martyj

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

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    (Typed a day ahead—I’m going away for a week)

    The First Time We Fall in Love

    I know that on an album that contains “Hard Way” and “No More Looking Back” this shouldn’t be my favorite song on Schoolboys in Disgrace. But it is.

    There, I said it.

    Much as Preservation Act 2’s ponderous “Nobody Gives” is followed by the irresistibly effervescent “Where O’ Where is Love,” this song has the same effect coming on the heels of yesterday’s ambitious misstep, “Education.” It goes down like a much needed, refreshing sip of lemonade. (Sorry, I seem to keep coming back to “Nobody Gives” as my personal Kinks punching bag. I suppose that’ll be the way it is from here on out. Let that be a fair warning.)

    The melody. The performance. The Theatricality. The familiarity (my thoughts a few days ago on “Schooldays” sounding like it belongs in Grease apply here. And I like Grease. And Schooldays. And 50’s pastiches in general, predictable as they may be.) Most of all I like where Ray goes with his voice. All the voices, in fact. It’s a little bit Sha Na Na, a little bit “Dick Clark Theatre Presents The Legends of Rock & Roll in Branson, Missouri at 3:15 in the Afternoon Performance. Suitable for the Whole Family.” Most of those performers have vocal training and sound like they’ve studied The Drifters. The Kinks channel all of that here.

    This is bop-along pleasant rather than fist-pumping, grab you by the balls. With the Arista era on the horizon—and somewhat previewed from here on out on Schoolboys side two—this feels like the last such stop on the Kinks train that traveled from Face to Face through the RCA years. Maybe it isn’t. I dunno…“Come Dancing,” “Better Things,” “Heart of Gold”…there do remain a few similar “feel good” type arrangements ahead, but they mostly take back seats to the harder edged rockers and power ballads.

    I can’t defend criticisms towards this song. It’s almost guilty pleasure territory. But the sentiment of the title matches the tune, so it works for me. I can hum it in my head and relive the enjoyment. It does for me what I want a song to do. It’s not an important entry in the Kinks discography. It doesn’t have to be. I like it.
     
  22. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    It's another fun song - an opening Elvis verse and Beach Boys chorus works for me! I'm not quite so sure about the change up though. Still, it's 2/4 on the album so far for me and I look forward to side 2 to see if I like over 50%.
     
  23. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Education
    In contrast to the sentiment behind the opening song I can really get behind this one. I think it’s a well-crafted song and, arguably, an early example of the soft-loud dynamic perfected by the Pixies and Nirvana. But if there’s a flaw it’s the 7 minutes length. Ray should have put a stop to it at the 5:20 mark and we’d have a smoother segue into ….
    The First Time we Fall in Love
    OK it’s a pastiche but I don’t find it nearly as distracting/irritating as similar excursions into the 1950s by 10cc, Frank Zappa or Jeremy Spencer in the original Fleetwood Mac. I don’t know whether my tolerance is because Ray is particularly convincing or because I tend to be more forgiving with the Kinks. This one has great vocals and a succinct lyric and at 4 minutes long doesn’t overstay its welcome.
    Edit: I’ve just read @Fischman’s fantastic review of Education and now feel in the need for re-educating. I need to do more listening on my better sound system.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2022
  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It's interesting to me that folks hear Elvis in the vocal... I don't hear Elvis...

    It is definitely Ray singing. It has his unmistakable timbre.
     
  25. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    The First Time we Fall in Love

    We're totally unprepared....

    Ain't that the truth!

    The album started with two 50s throwback tunes that I loved. Now we're back at it again.... but without the same positive response from me.

    Now to be fair, any song would have had a hard time following the epic Education for me. But this one falls further than it should have, for a few reasons. In addition to tough sequencing, that 50s pastiche complete with faux Elvis vocals is just too much.

    But even more than that, I feel a missed opportunity here. The subject matter here is heavy and I think it a better vehicle for one of Ray's deeper, more serious and heartfelt treatments rather than going all kampy.

    I don't skip this one, but that's more because I'm an album guy at heart than out of genuine appreciation for the song.
     

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