The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I enjoy the RCA era, but do albums, that most people seem to not like, minimal amounts of people bought, and critics in the majority criticized quite negatively, get labeled important?

    To some degree I understand the use of the word important in music, in regards to albums and bands, and I know they aren't always popular albums, but generally they have very positive reaction from either people reacting, people buying or critics raving.
  2. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    Well said, and I have to say I mostly agree. You can still put The Kinks albums of the early-mid 70s up against anything that was being released. By the late 70s that’s just not true anymore. They hung in there, but other bands and artists were starting to trample all over them. They were doing what they could to try and remain relevant. I do think they were somewhat successful, but they were no longer the king of the hill.
  3. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Bands were trampling all over them in the late seventies....
    Yet it is the most successful period of their career?
  4. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    For an unbiased view of the Kinks most popular albums in the US

    The Kinks
  5. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    I'm talking more about in my personal taste and even long term impact. They may not have been as successful in the charts in the 60s, but they were far more relevant than they were in the late 70s. I'm not really equating success with chart position, but overall impact.
    I have more to say, but I'm strapped for time! I'll have to save it for later!
  6. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Cape May, NJ
    It has its moments but I have always found it wildly uneven, up and down like a ...

    Anyway that's to come. I think that the two that bookend it are classics.
  7. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  8. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Cape May, NJ
    Years later I'm still mystified by the sudden drop from four straight top 15 albums, the most recent giving them a huge hit, how Word of Mouth just outright tanked. The lead single Do It Again was arguably one of their best songs in years, did well in airplay, and on MTV but the album went nowhere. It's not like the album was any departure from the previous few, other than a little less arena rock sound and more a garagey 60s feel. It deserved a much better fate. Granted it was an awful album cover. Maybe Arista didn't promote it enough.
  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Nothing about the chart successes and failures of the Kinks makes any sense to me lol.... in the US or UK
  10. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    Yes I have.

    But it wasn't an ex-girlfriend.

    And that's the point isn't it?

    Nobody here has said they've been in this exact situation.

    This suggests strongly to me that Ray's song is over the top.

    So OK maybe the guy isn't a creep but I can't help feeling that he's a loser.

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    I think what happened with Word of Mouth was that it was a victim of the Kinks' deciding to go to MCA. Their contract w/Arista was coming to an end and I think that Clive Davis was willing to re-up the Kinks to a new contract, but for some reason he got wind of MCA's offer before it was accepted and decided to withdraw his offer and the Kinks went to MCA, leaving Word of Mouth to dangle without the full promo muscle that the previous albums had. The sad results of this story was aired on a recent thread here and will be probably repeated later on in this thread.
  12. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Cape May, NJ
    Ok, makes perfect sense. So the MCA deal happened around that time and not later post-Word of Mouth.

    Thanks for that clarification!
  13. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Cape May, NJ
    Fair point! Lol
    mark winstanley likes this.
  14. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    No kidding. It's "so mystifying". :laugh:
    Just think...with this album the Kinks are on their way up in terms of commercial success. They'd be almost a cult act for a number of years, and though the shows were well attended, the record sales didn't match that. Each year for, what, the next 6 or more years, they're going to be very popular in the rock world.
  15. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    OK, maybe not in the "world"... read: US
  16. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    There's no background circumstances to give us reason to label the dude.

    Perhaps they only just broke up?
    Perhaps he hasn't had a chance to look for another apartment?

    A blind judgement that he is a creeper or a loser is more over the top than anything in the song.
    It is purely a situational picture
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2022
  17. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Houston TX
    Kudos, Avid Fortuleo, for taking my tentative premise and filling it out into a reasonable theory (or rather, the Truth, as proclaimed by @The late man)! Perhaps those sailing away on ships include Davies family members, and Ray is reassuring Dave that they will stick together, not just as a band but as a family as well.
    Along those lines, I'm reminded that in "A Long Way from Home," Ray's cautionary message to Dave, Ray says "but you don't know me." Didn't they ever just talk to one another?! I suppose they were too busy trying to hit or stab each other!

    Sleepless Night - I don't have much to say about this one, other than it is very much of its time, and that thanks to comments here, I now notice the dull, muddy-sounding snare drum.:) It's just OK. I don't know if it's the album, temporary Kinks burnout, or what, but I'm finding this thread more enjoyable than some of these songs. Maybe I should start a playlist of favorite posts.:p
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2022
  18. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Cape May, NJ
    Well Misfits only peaked at 40 but Low Budget through State of Confusion they sure were.
  19. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Like I said, it's the beginning of the climb here. Lots of radio play and increasing sales. But some would say maybe losing their edge. As Mark said, it's a mess trying to understand their record.
  20. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    I wish I felt the same! It will be interesting to see how I rank all of the Arista albums when we get through. I always thought I preferred Sleepwalker and Misfits over any album that comes after them, and so far that may not be coming across!
    I agree, it is strange. That seems to me like the album that should have been a big hit. Two great singles by each of the brothers. It sounds like a slam dunk for 1984. The album cover may be awful, but it totally fits the times. I kind of like it, and feel it's much better than their previous cover. I like the Kinks logo on it.
    CheshireCat, Smiler, DISKOJOE and 9 others like this.
  21. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    No, this is not a blind judgement.

    Why does he make this guy semi-illiterate? Do you know many people who would say :

    "They O.K. by me, I'm not.
    He and she, they all right."

    And why does the guy call his ex-girlfriend 'rude' and 'wicked' just because she's happy and he's not?

    It's a very rare situation and this guy's self pity is, at the least, extremely irritating.
  22. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Don't forget Gordon Edwards, keys from mid 1978 to mid 1979!

  23. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Stormy Sky.

    stereo mix, recorded 1, 2 Oct., 1976 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    Oh, oh darlin',
    Little darlin',
    Did you ever see such a stormy sky?
    It's never been like this before.

    All the people,
    They're runnin'.
    Ev'rybody's try'n' to hide,
    To get away from that stormy sky.
    Perhaps it's a sign
    Of what we're headed for.

    We're under a stormy sky,
    Watchin' the clouds roll by.
    But won't you let me keep you warm,
    And leave the storm outside?
    It's only a stormy sky.

    I feel it.
    Do you feel it?
    Can you feel it?
    Feels like we're in for a stormy night,
    But I can't see a cloud in sight.

    I see it.
    Do you see it?
    Can't you see it,
    See that warning in that stormy sky.
    But perhaps its gonna pass us by,
    So don't you cry.
    There's nowhere we can hide.

    But if you hold me tight,
    I know that we'll be all right.
    Tomorrow we'll laugh about it;
    Greet the mornin' light.
    It's only a stormy sky.

    We're under a stormy sky,
    Watchin' the clouds roll by.
    But there'll be another dawn
    To clear the storm away,
    And we will be all right.

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

    Here we have Ray back in the weather. It has been a favourite topic across the thread so far, and again, Ray comes up with an excellent song that is focused about weather... or is it?.... (I wonder if Ray had seasonal affective disorder ... did that come up yet? ... I think it did ...)

    Essentially here lyrically we have Ray assuring his partner that although we have a storm going on, and although there are people running and trying to hide, everything will be ok. It's only a Stormy Sky.... but I think a closer look suggests there may be something else going on here...

    To some degree this could be seen as a metaphorical theme that is suggesting we aren't having a literal storm, but rather the couple are having, or have had, an argument.
    There are actually a couple of key lines that leave that impression.
    "So don't you cry" - I'm not sure I have known anyone to cry because of a storm
    "Feels like we're in for a stormy night,
    But I can't see a cloud in sight" - these two lines are probably the most pointed
    "But if you hold me tight,
    I know that we'll be all right."
    "Tomorrow we'll laugh about it"

    The only section that makes this seem less likely is the section
    All the people,
    They're runnin'.
    Ev'rybody's try'n' to hide,
    To get away from that stormy sky.

    But I guess perhaps it could be a case of they have just had a rip roarer of an argument and so everyone moved away, but now they just have the remnants of storm clouds and if they, just put it behind them, and just go to bed with the thought of everything being alright in the morning, it will be....

    It's a little hard to come to a decision on the angle, and I'm not sure which way to lean on it. Somewhat like Rainy Day in June which had that sort of double meaning in the lyrics, that may well be what is going on here also.
    Though the more I dig into this one, the more I think it is the remnants of an argument that spoiled a night.

    Also it seems like it could be directed to a couple having their first argument.
    The opening, with "did you ever see such a stormy sky?, it's never been like this before"
    Everybody is trying to get away from us, because it is rarely comfortable seeing people argue,
    and possibly more pointedly "perhaps it's a sign of what we're headed for?"

    There are some songs on here that seem to be written somewhat cryptically ... Brother has become the most obvious one to me ... and this song has a bit of that in here as well.
    I'm guessing most of us know that feeling of a new relationship and everything is wonderful, and we both have our best faces on, and we are all just so deeply in love that nothing could ever go wrong .... until it does.
    This sort of seems like that first argument, and the brand new sheen has come off the relationship a little, but Ray is trying to talk it down ... it's only a stormy sky, the clouds will pass by, and then everything will be alright, let's just sleep on it tonight.... kind of thing going on in there.
    "Tomorrow we'll laugh about it", pretty much seals the deal here for me... I'm not sure that storms generally create too much need for laughing and crying, particularly into the next day... unless of course your house sustained some damage or something like that......

    Musically this is lovely and has a couple of really nice surprises that lift it up beautifully.

    We open with a smooth electric piano that rolls along with a nice steady groove from Mick.
    Dave has a couple of nice lead lines that add a little flavour to that opening section too.

    I guess I can see how some folks may find this song too mellow, but it isn't like that is new territory for the Kinks ....
    For the record, Yacht rock means nothing to me. I have and enjoy some Jimmy Buffett, but that's about the only thing I could point to. When I read up about it once, it described it as mellow cocaine fueled music that rich people listened to on yachts whilst doing cocaine or something lol..... and well, to me that could be several thousand things from the seventies and eighties... and I probably have a stack of albums that may or may not be Yacht Rock, but who knows ... and for me who cares lol I have so many albums that cause wars about genre that it is ridiculous .. do I like the album or not is all that matters to me :)..... but anyway.

    I love the chord progression here, it flows beautifully and sets up a great melodic vocal. Ray delivers it with some almost falsetto vocals early, and he maintains this gentle, thoughtful delivery. It sounds like he is trying to comfort the person he is singing about/to. Perhaps this feel comes from that burnt out aftermath of an argument, when you're trying to reassure the other person that it's all cool, these things happen, let's move on here.

    The bass and the drums work beautifully together here. Mick has that light groove going on, and John is holding down the bottom end beautifully, with some really nice little runs between the chords. Also the bass sound is really nice here too.

    Dave adds some wonderful guitar here. we get some ever so slightly distorted, and some beautifully clean lead licks that work as connectors and set up some nice changes. He also is working from the melodic base of the song, and it all works really well.
    There are some chordal things here as well, and the lazy arpeggios fit the feel of the song beautifully.

    The writing and structure is excellent, and it all sits together comfortably.... and just when one may think that this is all the song has to offer, we get this awesome coda type section, but as always Ray has used it in a very different way, because it isn't actually a coda.... it works like a re-emphasis point in the song.
    Around the 2:45 point in the song we stop. A pause for breath, and then we get this slower and more deliberate section, that is a real attention grabber, for me at least.
    We get this focused melodic .... almost orchestral feeling section.
    The piano plays some very deliberate and emphasised chords, and we have the guitar playing a repeated theme, that for me, grabs the attention.
    Underneath, I'm pretty sure it's the organ giving us a very typical Kinks descending chord pattern, but the way these elements work together is really excellent.

    It sounds as if it had to be recorded live, because it is somewhat in free time, and slowly speeds up to probably slightly slower than the track initially was.
    It may actually be an edit or a drop in, but however they went about it, it has this majestic feel that injects something a bit special into this track.
    Ray pumps up the vocal, and gives us a more intense delivery, that again adds to the feel and intimacy of the song.
    We get a sort of choral backing vocal, that functions as an also chordal backing vocal.

    Dave comes back in with the melodic guitar line, and now works as a coda, and the song moves into a ritard, again suggesting a live in the studio take, as it is almost impossible to sync up free time recordings, and the song comes to a suitably grand finish.
    That trick coda, followed by the more intense chorus, and then back into the coda proper is the icing on the cake of a song that was already pretty excellent.

    At this stage I have no idea what anyone else is going to think of this, but I get the impression @Fortuleo will like it.
    For me this is an excellent song, and at this stage is in the top three tracks, on what to me is an excellent album with some minor mixing issues.
    I actually think that Clive Davis was looking at the wrong song, because as much as I like the music to Brother, I think this one trumps it and I don't know if it would have succeeded as a single or not, but .... it may be the best song on the album.....

    Last edited: Feb 28, 2022
  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Here is a live version from the Old Grey Whistle Test 77

  25. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    I might have a love/hate relationship with this song. On the one hand, it is a well written song based on a huge theme. The chorus is quite sublime. However, musically I have issues with this recording because it sounds like what gets played on Easy 101 (substitute your local soft rock radio station here) - generally not words of praise coming from me. It is probably too middle of the road for me and seems to be an attempt to be commercial. But as I listen I am somehow seduced by that slinky way the song progresses along and that lonesome refrain - "it's only a stormy sky". (Edit - this is also a song I heard first on the Winterland 1977 broadcast so the studio version is a bit more jarring to me compared to hearing it in a live context.)

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