"I'm in Disgrace" Single by The Kinks from the album Schoolboys in Disgrace B-side "The Hard Way" Released 21 January 1976 (US) Recorded 19 August 1975 – 24 September 1975 at Konk Studios, London Genre Glam rock, hard rock, power pop Length 3:21 Label RCA Songwriter(s) Ray Davies Producer(s) Ray Davies stereo mix, recorded 19 Aug, 1975 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London The first time that I saw you You were the lady of my dreams. The very next time I had to make you mine, And I treated you like a queen. The third time that I saw you You treated me with such distaste, Now I wish I'd never seen your face. I'm in disgrace, I'm in disgrace. Because I fell for your pretty face, I'm in disgrace. He's in disgrace. I'm in disgrace. He's in disgrace. You captured me in your embrace. There's no use blaming me And saying I was your ruination 'Cos it was you equally That got us into this situation. It wasn't lust, it wasn't rape, It was just a mistake I'm in disgrace. He's in disgrace. I'm in disgrace. He's in disgrace. Because I fell for your pretty face. I'm in disgrace. She's in disgrace. I'm in disgrace. He's in disgrace. You captured me in your embrace. Was your love real or faked? Or was it only infatuation? Picture you in my place. I wish I'd acted with a little less haste. I'm in disgrace. I'm in disgrace. Because I fell for your pretty face. Oh what a waste. He's in disgrace. I'm in disgrace. He's in disgrace. Now my name's dirt and I'm disgraced. I'm in disgrace. Written by: Ray Davies Published by: Davray Music Ltd. I have to say that I love this song, and this is really the first song on this album that points the way forward for the band, being somewhat of a taster of what was to come for the band in coming albums. This song is Ray pretty much writing about Dave and Sue, but with his own spin on the situation. Lyrically we open with the idea of love at first sight. Then we have the idea of there being a relationship from the second time they met, or perhaps the second phase of the relationship. Then we have the third time or phase of the relationship, which would really translate to Dave and Sue both having been told that they didn't love each other and the parents were going to take the reins on this one..... Ever since this subject came up I have had a visual in my head of them being taken to separate cars staring at each other with disbelief that this person they were looking at had lied and hurt them so badly.... and it is so sad and bizarre that they both had this feeling, and it was true of neither. So this description of the third time/phase, "you treated me with such distaste" has Dave /Jack interpreting the stare from Sue as disdain, and I can see and feel the elements of this pretty plainly. This causes the guy to have a fairly typical reaction...."I wish I had never seen your face" Shakespeare may have thought it was better to have loved and lost, but at the time it is really not the feeling involved. Also in this instance Dave/Jack has been hit by the spotlight of the adults, and is being held accountable for the situation, so he is publicly disgraced for this situation. The second verse gets into some pretty heavy territory, and I think it is the first time I have particularly noticed the lyrics, as I am normally locked into those beautiful descending chords. Here we find that Ray really is taking this to a direct line of Dave and Sue, there is a definite sexual encounter, as the unspoken mistake appears to be a pregnancy. We have the boy speaking to the idea that, this is not just my doing, we were both invested in this.... What a horrible situation for two kids to find themselves in. We have the girl likely being defensive because of the the awful reputation she will be labeled with, and the guy being labeled in other not so nice ways.... and at the end of the day they were just two kids that were, or at least thought they were in love, and following the example society shows them of what that looks like ... and so a pregnancy comes to being through a harsh mix of innocence and ignorance, and now both feel as though their lives are somewhat destroyed. The next vocal is spoken, and I think it is an emphasis, because as the accusations fly about the young couple, and possibly even from the young couple, the boy says "It wasn't lust, it wasn't rape, it was just a mistake" Certainly there are some awful situations that can arise between young people, but there are also somewhat innocent mistakes that happen, and I think every adult that has lived a life knows this..... The last verse seems to sum up the situation from Dave's perspective. The idea of did you never really love me?..... Was this just all fake? Am I wearing this public scorn and discipline all to no avail? Am I that bad a judge of character? Then coming to the more logical conclusion of wishing he had not been so hasty. This is actually a sad song about a very sad story where two people were both left hurt and confused because of a situational result, and not the reality of their feelings for each other. I think Ray handles this pretty well. I certainly wouldn't want to write a song about this topic, it is way too easy to get outside the lines with subject matter like this. I think he manages to keep the narrative balanced, although obviously having to take it from one side of the equation. There are no villains here, just a tragic situation, and two very hurt people. Musically I absolutely love this. We start with, what to me is, a beautiful minor arpeggio on the piano, executed beautifully by Gosling, and as it moves along the guitar comes in, with just a bit of buzz in the tone. Ray's delicate vocal delivery is really nice. It is interesting to me that Ray decided to put the drums in under the piano, with just a low mixed, thud, tap ... it is just barely there, and is an interesting mixing choice We slide down into the last line and we get Dave riffing and we roll into a rock song. The band vamps for a bit and the piano bangs away and the guys give us some nice "ahhh" backing vocals, and then we get a clean break and move into the chorus. I yet again love the descending chord pattern here. Ray arranges the chords in clean staccato stabs, and it is really effective. The vocal turns a little and becomes a more powerful delivery.... almost a kind of defiant anguish. On the second run through the descending chord pattern, we get a second guitar, and I'm not sure if it is a chord inversion, or something, but it sounds like the chords are working together and against each other at the same time .... I can't quite put my finger on it, but I really love the way it sounds. It is smooth and unified, but there is a tension between them that works really well. We close the chorus with a short vamp and the piano banging away, and move into a really nice verse that sounds like a bridge due to the arrangement. I hear this as Intro - chorus - verse - chorus - verse - instrumental bridge - chorus - outro Speaking of the instrumental bridge. We get this really nice, almost thoughtful, spaced chord set up, with the bass taking what seems like a subtle lead role, and the band singing the "ahhhs". Then after a few repeats of this sort of reflective interlude, we get a short burst of Dave throwing in some nice lead. From there we break into that chorus, and I love this chorus. The second time through we get some female backing vocals and then we move into this lovely little outro. It is like the mode changes up in the outro, and Dave adds this beautiful melodic lead guitar, while Ray delivers this vocal that has a feeling of being resigned to the storm coming his way. I reckon this is a great song, and to me at least, it seems Ray manages to show compassion to Dave and Sue in the way this is delivered. I think it also shows Ray's love for his brother, in spite of the typical brother battles they have had over the years. As a song it is musically interesting, melodically engaging, and it has a bit of bite to it. We have been slowly seeing the band come back to the rock world, and in spite of there being some pastiche type tracks on this album, the general flow is more towards being a rock band, and not just being a backing band for a theatrical arrangement. It all works towards being a bonus for me personally, because although I enjoy the theatrical RCA albums, to some degree they were a dilution of the band (hence many folks stating that these are like Ray solo albums). I think it was necessary for Ray to go there and get it out of his system. He wanted to explore the possibilities and he did so, and very well, in my opinion, but at the end of the day the Kinks are a rock band, with some pop sensibilities, and they are moving back into the world they are more effective in... perhaps not more adventurous, but certainly more focused.