Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Apr 4, 2021.
Seems like their dad was old school, to say the least!
I'm so glad I didn't read others take on "Brother" before I posted mine. Yoinks...it's getting pretty slammed. I don't generally dig "power ballads". I don't like groups that tend to do them. But something about THIS song speaks to me musically. It carries me away.
Oh well. that's why they offer multiple flavors of ice cream. Not gonna please everyone.
A-ha...another Purple Rain reference.
Apologies all, I wake up and find there's already 3 pages on Brother, and I don't have time to read all the comments this morning - has anyone else said that the opening instrumental bit reminds them of the opening to The Fool on the Hill?
Anyway, this is a track that I like well enough when it's playing, but by the time I finish listening to the CD (with bonus tracks) I can't remember how it goes!
The music's great...
I wish he'd played with the lyrics a bit more, and focused them.
I did, and so did Avid @pantofis I believe. But confirmation is welcome!
The best thing about this thread is the disagreements!
It is fascinating to me how different people can react so differently to the same piece of music.
Sleepwalker - Definitely radio-friendly, and I like the sound of it. Finally we get a great verse melody, but the chord pattern of the chorus gets a bit beaten to death by the end. Sometimes the repetition bothers me less than others. A very good song that I keep wanting to be a classic single but it has never gotten there for me.
Brother - I too assumed this was going to be about Dave but it seems to be a universal ode to brotherhood, which feels very un-Raylike. Indeed, maybe it was made-to-order, but it's nowhere near a BOTW...sorry, Ray. I will have to listen a couple more times but so far it hasn't made much impression.
This is a stretch, but what if "Though I don't even know your name" refers to Dave's "You Don't Know My Name"? As in, Ray is finally truly seeing his brother for the first time, and Ray is letting Dave know he wants them to stick together. Like I said, it's a stretch...
Having said that...since recently reading Nick Hornby's Juliet, Naked (and watching the film), about an obsessive music blogger with a lot of unfounded theories about the object of his musical desire, I can't make a speculation like that without feeling a little self-conscious!
Interesting you bring up Elton as he seemed to crib the "I'm your brother" melody for the "I've been knocking..." section of 'Empty Garden'. I can't unhear it
A nicely written and orchestrated ballad but like others i can't bridge the lyrical disconnect.
Ray has solidarity with someone who won't emmigrate and sail away as they have faith in eventually having a good job, wage and life in old Blighty?
Those that have faith and perseverance in the face of some great modern despair?
Those that share a like ideology?
I think tsothmelodic ballad works well in the running order and flow though i am not surprised to hear the claims that it was in some way written to order on the suggestion of Clive Davis.
Some random musical observations:
At 2:56 I hear some backing vocals ala Waterloo Sunset and 10 seconds later a sneak early snippet of Free As A Bird and from 4.25 on i am at times reminded of Rod Stewart's Sailing.
Not one to skip as it is pleasant though for me not a standout favourite album cut.
Iam feeling so lucky having discovered Sara was posted here and i couldn't identify or watch it!
I didn't think we would have such comments afoot.
"Juke Box Music"
Single by The Kinks
from the album Sleepwalker
"Sleepless Night" (U.K.)
"Life Goes On" (U.S.)
Released 3 June 1977
Recorded Begun 1976
Songwriter(s) Ray Davies
Producer(s) Ray Davies
stereo mix, recorded 1, 2 Oct., 1976 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
There's a lady plays her fav'rite records
On the jukebox ev'ry day.
All day long she plays the same old songs,
And she believes the things that they say.
Other ladies like to prance around
And flirt and dance the whole night through,
But she just sits and listens to her juke box records,
'Cause that's all that she wants to do.
She sings along with all the saddest songs,
And she believes the stories are real.
She let's the music dictate the way that she feels.
It's only juke box music,
Only juke box music.
It's only music,
Only juke box music,
Only juke box music.
Seems to me she's in a fantasy.
She's livin' in a world of her own.
And we all agree that she's a mystery,
Because she'd rather be all alone.
Ev'ry guy will do his best to try
To put that music out of her head.
Forget all the songs,
And just dance to the music instead.
It's only juke box music,
Only juke box music.
It's only music,
Only juke box music,
Only juke box music.
It's all because of that music
That we're slowly driftin' apart.
But it's only there to dance to,
So you shouldn't take it to heart.
Music, only juke box music.
Only music, only juke box music.
Written by: Ray Davies
Published by: Davray Music Ltd.
Released as the second single from the album, with the b-side being Sleepless Nights in the UK and Life Goes On in the US. Released on June 3rd 77, it failed to chart, but many have stated that they heard it on the radio.
Lyrically we have a woman who spends all her time listening to music, and is totally in the mode of believing all the lyrics to be real, and taking them all to heart, and to some degree allowing the music to completely control her emotional state.
It is sort of a look at a slightly unhealthy obsession with music whereby it becomes a complete controlling factor in her life.
In the chorus we get Ray singing that it's only Juke Box Music. This isn't the most important thing in the world, it shouldn't be controlling your emotional state, it's supposed to be enjoyable escapism.
In the second verse we have the idea that she is totally isolating and living outside of reality. The guys around the place try to pull her out of this fantasy to see if she would just like to dance to the songs, instead of living inside them.
The final verse section seems sort of like Ray is telling folks to settle down a bit about lyric speculation (somewhat ironically for us ). the music is just there to dance to, and we shouldn't be letting it completely remove us from life.
I sort of understand the perspective of the lyrics here, because I do know people that seem to be easily over influenced by things they hear. If they hear someone say something, it can frequently completely derail what they're doing, and it becomes a guiding thought in their lives....
I'm not sure how to explain it better, but it's an unhealthy way to live....
But anyway, it's an interesting lyric that isn't changing the world, but again it is Ray observing things that some people miss, and putting it into words that are easily understandable.
Musically this is a really fun melodic rock and roll song.
We open with some really nice hand percussion. I'm not sure if it is bongos, congas or some other skin drawn drum, but it sounds good , and it is tuned well, so it works for me.
Then we have the trap set join in and on the left we get a nice crunchy guitar punching in, and it opens us up nicely.
We get a more clean, but still slightly overdriven guitar in the centre playing a counter-rhythm, and it works beautifully to bring us into the song.
The bass has this nice flowing roll, holding down a point of contact for the guitars to work around, and the intro does everything you would want it to.
As the first verse enters we have the power guitars drop out, and we have Ray leading the way with a really nice winding melody.
Underneath him we have some strummed acoustic guitar and piano, just barely there and the bass and the drums propel us forward.
This works really well, and helps with the dynamic variation of the song, although the music is not super distinct or focused, it is just there..... but that suits the song really in this section.
As the pre-chorus, or second half of the verse comes in, we get another guitar come in with an alternate rhythm, Also an organ swells underneath as we get a build up.
We move into the chorus and the original crunchy rhythm guitar kicks in, and the organ swells more, and it all comes together really well, with the dynamics lifting and the song propelling us forward nicely.
Also in the chorus, I think the arrangement of the vocals and the rhythm of Ray's delivery works really well.
At this point we get an excellent guitar riff/melody, and whereas a lot of the music has just been there up to this point, the guitar riff jumps out of the speakers with gusto, and has a nice crisp bright sound.
We also get a harmony guitar come in for added effect, and it works as a really good hook.
Stabbing keys underneath help bolster the sound and rhythm and it works really well.
We head into the next verse and chorus, and roll around to that attention getting riff again.
The second run through the riff we get a synth underneath that swells up in volume and supports the guitar nicely creating a nice bed of sound underneath.
This leads to an instrumental break, and Dave lays down another really nice melodic lead break and as always he gets a great tone that jumps out at me.
From here we get a bridge that has Ray and Dave, both in their upper registers singing together and creating a really nice urgency. Urging the listener to not take it all so seriously.
This is a very effective.
We then get a sort of drop off after the lead guitar, and an acoustic with a quick urgent strum races along as Ray and Dave give us some vocal interaction.
We burst into another chorus and Ray and Dave are working really well together in this song.
We break out that excellent twin guitar riff again.
This leads us into a sort of jam type section that has the atmosphere build again over the acoustic and as the dynamic swells Dave throws out some more really nice rhythmic lead guitar, and the song moves to a fade ......
This is another excellent song....
I will say that the main thing I am hearing on this album, and I'm not sure if this is the thing putting folks off or not ..... the mixing on this album is unusual. I don't think it always works to the benefit of the songs.
Again here we get the drums present but mixed down. It seems like in order to get the dynamic flow on this track, for example, the bulk of the track is mixed a little distant, and then the guitars come tearing into the picture..... I have no issue with it, because I can hear everything I need to hear, and I have no problem hearing the song .... stepping aside from the sound ... and I think it's a very good song, and the parts work well, but I think. like most of the album, it could have had a better mix that would enhance it.
Perhaps this isn't the best song to use as an example, but essentially it seems to be a recurring thing for me on this album, where I am loving the songs, but there are just some mixing quirks here and there, that hinder the songs ability to completely connect for some folks (I guess)
Like I say, it doesn't make much difference to me, because I have been in studios and dealt with lots of rough mixes, and bad mixes and all of that kind of thing, so perhaps it just slides by me, but if I focus on the mixes here, I think they could, and probably should have been better. To me the songs are great, but they aren't mixed in the most complimentary manner..... but maybe I'm just full of crap lol, I can only share what I hear
I'm sort of expecting some folks to say this should have been shorter, because we do have a couple of possible endings before we get there. but personally I like it as it is.
Anyway, I think this was actually a good choice for a single, it appeared to do its job of getting some folks to buy the album, and I reckon it starts off side two well.
Here is the single mix
Interestingly this sounds like a completely different mix, but I don't have time to go through it right now.
“Juke Box Music”: A winning number, at least to start. The charming melody trips and scampers up and down the scale, from the bottom to the top of Ray’s vocal range; rather than developing, it repeats, a bunch of times, which is all good--when you compose a single line this memorable, you don’t have to do much else. My one complaint is that we don’t hear the melody enough: one-third of the way into the song, it disappears, never to poke up its head in recapitulation. Instead, for the next four minutes, we get a lot of bluster and jogging in place and frantic strumming masquerading as excitement. It’s a shame. A missed opportunity. You know what Ray could sometimes have used? An editorial voice he respected.
live on The Old Grey Whistle Test, 1977
I remember reading somewhere (way back in the past) that "Juke Box Music" was the underrated gem on Sleepwalker. I agree. It sounds familiar to me - I mean at the beginning, I felt like I was listening to Tommy and musically, I find The Who stamped all over much of this. But the chorus is pure Kinks - Ray and Dave harmonizing on a tribute to the local record machine. Are there juke boxes anymore? I always loved it when you found a B-side that was not on the album. I suppose this song belongs with the Stones' "It's Only Rock n Roll" as a song celebrating music. It is a song that makes me feel good.
"Juke Box Music"
I think this is my favourite track on the album so far. The highlights for me are the simplicity of the bassline in the verses, and the centrepiece guitar solo and drum breakdown, after which Ray and Dave come back in to belt out some vocals in unison in their inimitable style. The rest of the track grooves along nicely - it could easily have faded just after 4:00 and not lost much, but I don't begrudge it the extra minute to wind down. The lyrics are a foretaste of "Rock & Roll Fantasy" on the next album.
It's strange that I never noticed how low the drums are mixed on this album until the last time I played it, having owned the CD since 1991. Perhaps the fact that I've been recording and mixing my own music over the last decade has made me pay more attention to how things are mixed (and it's also showing how little I've played Sleepwalker over that decade).
Juke Box Music:
Best song on the album (IMO). I recall hearing this for the first time not long after I bought and devoured Misfits. I was driving to school (11th grade, same white Toyota Corolla) when it came on the radio without introduction from the DJ just as I pulled into the parking lot. From the moment those tom toms started I was loving it and once the riff kicked in, I was already cranking that mother all the way up. It wasn’t yet obvious to me that it was the kinks, but it sounded like a band I knew and liked, I sat in the parking lot letting it blast, then sat through another song to hear if the DJ might bother to tell me who sang it (oh the hard times before the internet and Shazam!). When he said it was the kinks, I knew exactly where I was going when school was out for the day.
I love the guitar work, all of it. Dave’s riffing and solos and (presumably) Ray’s acoustic strumming. The drumming may be too low in the mix on this album, but it is propulsive, driving the song forward at a gallop here, and the bass works nicely in tandem (I will miss Mr. Dalton). Lyrically, I love the story Ray tells us about this poor introverted girl who digs music more than the people around her. Ray is always Ray, so his lead vocals are great, and as is often the case, Dave jumps in with his background vocals (and even some co-lead vocals at 3+ minute mark if I am hearing it right). Like on Victoria, Dave’s background whyelping makes it oh so clear that he is just happy to be rocking out again. I love the breakdown at the 3:45 mark, and then the pedal goes to the metal for the last sprint to the finish line. …but wait, yet another (short) breakdown at 4:40 or so, only so that Dave can then step in and fire things up yet again with a stylish solo on the way out.
Good stuff in my book. This song knocked my socks off the first time I heard it and has never grown old for me. For me, this has always been and remains to this day a true Kinks classic.
I agree, and it's probably in the top 10 of songs they did at Arista. Dave's vocal harmonies are great on this!
Here we go ! This song screams inspiration, wit, originality. It’s a real Ray Davies portrait, in that it tells a story, gives life to a character and creates a scene that we can actually see in our brain. We see the woman near the juke box, choosing songs and getting lost in them. I was there myself, so many times. Well, I was never a woman and it wasn’t often a juke box, but I was that guy in the room, inches away from the speakers, record cover in hand, lost in the music and in the liner notes. Happy to be lost in it. I still do it, but I learned to do it with more discretion. That’s a part of what having kids will do to you, isn’t it ? But I understand her. This is one of the best songs Ray wrote in that period, because it’s a new sound for him and the band, but still something no one else could’ve come up with. The groove, the arrangement, how the guitars blend and complement each others, twin harmonized guitars, riffing guitars, acoustic guitars, twangy Muswell Hillbilly guitar, yeah, Townshend would be proud of little brother Dave here. The lead licks are splendid too, they play one hook after another. To be fair, each little part of this song is a hook. The verse melody, the chorus melody, the riffs, the licks, the solo(s), the duet vocal bridge, the rousing high-pitched solo Dave vocal part, the acoustic strumming break… Almost too many hooks (but not too many cooks), and I think @Ex-Fed has a point when he says Ray could've used an editorial voice to help him sort it out, in order to make it the super hit it was meant to be. Ray’s tone and phrasing changes are remarkable. This LP's turning out to have more of those inflexions and vocal inventions than I remembered. Mick’s playing’s brilliant, especially on the chorus, when he keeps the groove whilst the mood and the point of view shift all at the same time. There must be a drummer's trick there, but I can't identify it. And Dalton… Well, I think he brought something much more original and soulful to the table than the Andy guy that eventually replaced him. Anyway, brilliant song, the best on the LP so far, and one of my two overall favorites. Happy to announce the other one is yet to come!!
Juke Box Music
Woo hoo. I really like this one. In an earlier post I said this was an updated You Can't Stop the Music, but I sold it short. This is a superior song musically and lyrically. I think Dave does a great job on this track too. And it rocks, which I really appreciate. Ray is giving us one of his character studies - this time a girl who really loves listening to music. There's not much to the story but it's still a charming vignette (thanks France for that wonderful word). I like this one so much I think I'll just play these different versions on repeat for a while.
I'm sorry, I just can't agree with that point.
This song has always caught my attention big time, really sticking out on this album with its infectious verse melody and the catchy, if quite repetitive chorus. So Ray still could write melodic songs when he really tried. I really like the acoustic guitar sound, steely and frenetic. The way Dave's vocals enter has an ecstatic quality, as if even he is now excited that Ray has finally come up with a winning song this time.
The only element that disturbs me is that string synthesizer again which doesn't really add anything. I also find it bewildering that the CD compilation "Come Dancing with the Kinks" does not feature it. It should have been on it instead of Full Moon, at least the single edit. As it is, I might have to buy the whole Sleepwalker album after all...
Juke Box Music
Sleepwalker's big radio song, the one with which the Kinks claimed their biggest presence on the US airwaves since "Lola".
No ponderous intro this time -- an odd couple of seconds of soft bongos, and then Dave careens right in with a full-tilt attack. Ray launches into the lyrics, which are about his audience, a familiar recurring theme that would also be explored on the next album. He's describing a fan who takes his work very, very seriously -- too seriously, apparently. She'd fit right in on this thread. Why doesn't she just dance to the music like everybody else?
I wonder if Ray is playing 3D chess with this song. His songs have always been crafted with strong commentary and turns of phrase -- as rewarding as they are musically, their themes, subjects and characters are equally important. The stories ARE real. And here is a song, on an album designed (consciously or not) to re-establish the Kinks with a mass audience, telling us that it's all only juke box music, and it's silly to "take it to heart".
But there's no way the composer of Village Green and Arthur and Preservation actually believes that his songs are just trivial dance fodder. Is this a commentary on going "commercial"? "Sure, whatever you say, I'll play along." So his declaration that his oeuvre is just banalities set to a beat is just another Davies layer of irony.
I don't know; I'm probably overthinking it. Equally likely is that Ray just wanted to write a catchy radio song everyone would enjoy.
And on that measure, he succeeds brilliantly. "Juke Box Music" features a sprightly melody and a masterful vocal performance, including some of Dave's best harmonies towards the end. The song is actually a multi-part suite, comparable structurally to the superior (but not by much) "Shangri-La". Dave's guitar surges and recedes as the song ebbs and flows, and never drops off in intensity. The coda reminds me a bit of Tommy; I half-expect to hear the Pete Townshend guitar stab that slices up the "Pinball Wizard" intro.
"Juke Box Music" is heavenly. It's not an Arista highlight. It's a Kinks highlight.
I'm starting to wonder if we all take Ray more seriously than he took himself?
The record company delineation drives me bonkers
Separate names with a comma.