The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    Don't want to jump ahead to Low Budget as I'm all primed for Misfits. But I am curious about the negativity. I'm interested to read the rationale when we get there.
     
  2. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cape May, NJ
    I think Low Budget is a fine album. Better than the studio albums that bookend it. I have serious issues with the 1981 album.
     
  3. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Sounds, permanent?
     
  4. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    To digress slightly before we dig into Misfits, another elevator operator tune :

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
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  5. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Is that Jeff Tweedy playing chess?
     
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  6. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    It also nods to a tune on Phobia.
     
  7. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Did you purchase anything?
     
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  8. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Are you suggesting that Low Budget was a Misfit?
     
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  9. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    I'm not sure I like anything on "Low Budget". "Superman" is OK, I guess.
     
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  10. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I guess nobody likes all the early singles, as Low Budget is the direct offspring of those, but lets wait until we get there :)
     
  11. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I think so
     
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  12. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    I used have a low opinion of Low Budget, I think in great part because of 1) the unprepossessing sleeve art and 2) because to me it seemed to be a lot of hardline 'the Kinks sucked after 1972' peoples favourite later album , in a kind of 'well they made this one guilty pleasure trashfest later on' way which I found very irritating. But I've come around on it more recently.
     
  13. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Miami Beach FL
    I won’t defend Low Budget right now because I am too busy readying my opening statements in support of Misfits (the song and the album). Low Budget will have its day in court shortly and I’m pretty sure that this jury of Avids will ultimately acquit Ray, Dave and the boys of any crimes. Needless to say I will defend the accused pro bono!
     
  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Misfits.

    stereo mix, recorded 24-28 Oct, 1977 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    You've been sleeping in a field but you look real rested
    You set out to outrage but you can't get arrested
    You say your image is new, but it looks well tested
    You're lost without a crowd yet you go your own way

    You say your summer has gone
    Now the winter is crawlin' in
    They say that even in your day
    Somehow you never could quite fit in
    Though it's cold outside
    I know the summer's gonna come again
    Because you know what they say
    Every dog has his day

    You're a misfit, afraid of yourself so you run away and hide
    You've been a misfit all your life
    Why don't you join the crowd
    And come inside
    You wander round this town like you've lost your way
    You had your chance in your day
    Yet you threw it all away
    But you know what they say
    Every dog has his day

    Look at all the losers and the mad eyed gazers
    Look at all the loonies and the sad eyed failures
    They've given up living 'cos they just don't care
    So take a good look around
    The misfits are everywhere
    La la la la la la

    This is your chance, this is your time
    So don't throw it away
    You can have your day
    'Cause it's true what they say
    Every dog has his day

    You're a misfit
    Afraid of yourself so you run away and hide
    You've been a misfit all your life
    But why don't you join the crowd and come inside
    You wander round this town
    Like you've lost your way
    You had your chance in your day
    Yet you threw it all away
    Now you're lost in the crowd
    Yet, still go your own way

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

    This is a great song, and yet again it is a song where I lean towards the live version, but have grown to enjoy the studio version.... actually quite a lot.
    As much as I like this song, and even though it introduces the theme to the album, it doesn't seem like an ideal song to open the album. I'm sure many will disagree with me, but it seems like it would more naturally fit somewhere around track three ... or thereabouts..... perhaps even a side closer ... and thinking again, maybe even a solid final track to reinforce the subtle theme of the album.

    Lyrically this song was one of my banner songs. One of those songs where you say, or feel, "yea, that's me and you captured it so well." There are many, but this is one of those songs that feels like it was written to help me through.... or something goofy along those lines.

    I think in many ways this song is a somewhat slightly hidden scenario of Ray looking at himself, and where he is, but we'll see whether that could hold up as we go through. I know the lyrics, but have never particularly studied them.

    The opening line just in itself is an interesting study, or sorts.
    "You've been sleeping in a field, but you look real rested"
    The first thing that strikes me is the contrast, and it could just be Ray using a lilting poetic motif to open us up, but I also know that many depressed people sleep way more than they need to. They always look rested, because on any given opportunity they will be asleep, because it is a way to escape the world for a while... I don't know, perhaps I'm way off the mark, but that's what comes to mind when I look at that line opening the song, and we're looking at someone that doesn't fit in, a Misfit, and the natural result of that is often depression.

    "You set out to outrage, but you can't get arrested"
    I don't know whether it is a globally used phrase, but in Aus at least, the phrase".... couldn't even get arrested in this town" tends to mean that there is a complete lack of interest in that person.
    And this is where it really starts to sound like Ray looking into some kind of mirror.
    I suppose I look at it this way.
    "I've had these bouts of depression, and I often write these barbed lyrics to try and get people to think about some of the things that bother me in this world, but it seems like nobody is listening"

    "You say your image is new, but it looks quite tested"
    At the point where Ray was putting together the Sleepwalker/Poseur songs, he had made a decision to simplify. To bring the Kinks back to the roots of what they started off as.... a pop/rock band that focused on songs, rather than grand schemes and big plots and large ensemble arrangements.
    The idea being that The Kinks, whether particularly influenced by Clive Davis or not, were going to do something new..... They were going to drop the big ensemble and get back to being a rock band. Ray was going to write songs, instead of trying to write novels made up of a dozen or so songs, he was going to make the songs the focus, and not spend as much time trying to string them together into a story/play/theatre production ..... essentially at the end of 1975, or beginning of 1976, as some recordings would possibly suggest, Ray had already come to the realisation that the music world had started to become a little bloated in the way albums were being done, and the heart of the song itself had slipped out the window, and everything had to be bigger and better.... essentially Ray seems to have started feeling this way at the same time a lot of the youth, or at least younger musicians had started to get back into the idea of garage rock, and punk and the music inspired by a simpler style, that spoke directly to people in the working classes, rather than thrusting bold projects over their heads.....
    In fact we see that start around the time of Soap Opera, and by the time we get to Schoolboys the band is rocking a little more, and the songs are generally more concise, except for a couple of obvious exceptions.
    But as the lyric states in its own slightly odd way, whether we look at the simplification of the Kinks, or the garage rock and punk scenes that they were likely inspired from their sixties days.... this is "well tested" ground. The sounds and recording techniques may be a little different, but the form is not new.

    "You're lost without a crowd yet you go your own way"
    Ray wants people to love what he does, like they used to in the beginning. He almost needs that crowd, but he is prone to self-sabotage, because even in his leaning toward more commercial stylings that the crowds may like, he goes his own way. He writes about things most others don't, and in spite of the Clive Davis factor, and the debate surrounding that, Ray was doing exactly what he wanted to do, as we saw on Sleepwalker, Ray was framing his non-commercial themes and thoughts in a sort of commercial way..... no matter what anyone thinks, he was going his "own way"

    On close inspection that first verse says more than I personally ever thought it did, and not in a way I expected .... perhaps I'm way off the mark, but ....

    "You say your summer has gone
    Now the winter is crawlin' in"
    Is this Ray speculating that it may all be over. Generally summer works as a picture of a bright and warm successful time and feelings, and winter represents the cold of aging and being more isolated. Winter has crept up upon him, and perhaps the days of sunshine, wine and roses are gone.

    "They say that even in your day
    Somehow you never could quite fit in"
    I don't think this needs any further research, or explanation.

    Though it's cold outside
    I know the summer's gonna come again
    Currently experiencing the cold, isolated feeling that, from some perspectives, failure feels like .... but speculating that the summer must come around again, and the joy of success will smile down once again.

    "Because you know what they say
    Every dog has his day"
    Again, this is pretty self explanatory.

    The chorus somewhat takes all the ideas in those first two outstanding verses and makes one statement from them.
    It is almost as if this is Clive Davis singing to Ray.... reflecting back the inner thoughts of Ray back to him, and saying "hey, I have a place for you, so come inside and join the crowd"
    "You had your chance in your day
    Yet you threw it all away"
    Breakthrough success in the US - then banned from the country from brawling with each other for years.
    But as we have seen Ray often hobbled himself, so again this is pretty self explanatory.

    The bridge, which isn't in the live version, brings everyone into play, and in some ways perhaps to take the focus away from how closely this lyric seems like a cryptic autobiography...
    Look, I don't believe in the everyone gets a prize mentality, but I also don't believe that we should all be crammed into the same small room of functionality.
    One of the biggest issues the modern world has is this need to try and fit everything into tiny, shiny boxes ... trying to pick apples to be all the same size so they can be packed more easily and all that kind of stupidity .... people are even more difficult to cram into boxes, because for all our similarities, we are quite different, and everyone has their thing that they are good at. Jack's great at math, and Molly is great at geography... or whatever ... compromising both of them to try and make them the same is useless to them, and everyone else. Modifying everything to be average, instead of allowing people to be exceptional in their skill zone is ..... bloody stupid.
    We are all misfits, but when we aren't artificially molded into boxes we don't fit in, there is a chance that together, sharing all our skills and abilities, we can all move forward, instead of treading water in isolation....
    I seem to often get into conversations about being normal, which probably shows how far away from that I actually am.... but it always comes to the conclusion that normal is an illusion

    I'm waffling a lot recently, apologies.... these songs are poking some bears ....

    Anyway the bridge opens up the song to everyone, and Ray finds comfort in the fact that we are all misfits, yet sadness in those who have given up living because they feel an overwhelming futility in that.

    Then we get a second bridge, or a verse variation if you prefer, and Ray is still singing to everyone, but I/we? again get a feeling that Ray is somewhat singing to himself...
    This is your chance - Don't throw it away...
    With the way the band's sales seemed to have been over most of the seventies, and even the late sixties, it is very feasible that if Arista hadn't stepped forward, the Kinks may have drifted off into the realms of history in 75/76 ... I guess they could have gone the route of their own label, or perhaps someone else may have stepped up to the plate, but the Kinks weren't really a big band in most ways, in 75/76.

    So lyrically I think this is quite brilliant. We have so many layers here that all seamlessly fit together as one song, and it can be taken in any or all of those directions, and still be coherent and pointed in its theme.

    Musically this is sublime also... Is this one of the Kinks best sounding albums? I really like the sound of this....

    Dave opens up the album with a beautiful guitar melody over the organ?, synth?, either way it's perfect. The delicate layers of guitars rolling this melody over itself, with slightly different tones is a beautiful dreamy way to bring the song in.

    The whole texture of the opening here is delicate, and sensitive.
    Ray comes in with the vocal, and it's delicate, reflective, gently mournful.
    The acoustic guitar lilts in the background with its back and forth chord arrangement.
    The bass is solid and warm.
    The drums are gentle with some delicate rim shots tapping the beat along.

    The music here fits that first verse/opening section, beautifully.

    As we move into the second verse, the intensity picks up, still not rawkus, but solid and flowing.
    The drums come in fully, with some surprisingly nice little fills.
    The guitars become a little more distinct.
    Ray is still somewhat swooning the vocal, and it is excellent.

    As we move into the chorus we get what I assume are some of Clem Cattini's percussion overdubs with the sticks/blocks.
    It again becomes ever so slightly more boisterous.
    Then the last chord fades off.

    After a slight contemplative silence, Ray comes in with the organ, and we get this beautiful free time bridge. Each line gets a ritard, and it emphasises the words and emotion beautifully.
    It is a focus point of a sort, and it ends up being almost the crowning moment of the song.

    Then we bounce into the rhythm again, and Dave slides us a couple of really nice country guitar licks. We get the old Kink La la's..... and again, there is this warmth to the whole thing that sort of embraces the listener.

    This is where the sort of alternative verse comes in, and it again goes to a ritard that fades away, and we come back in with the opening main guitar melody, and its beautiful layers.
    Then we bounce into an almost triumphant sounding final chorus, with Ray singing a little more forcefully, and we get the vocal echo in the background vocals ... Dave?

    Then we close with another ritard ....

    This is an absolutely masterful piece of songwriting. I don't really care if it is deemed commercial or not.
    The lyric and the music work so well together.
    The musical input from the band is absolutely spot on.
    The uses of the ritards is stunning and poignant, as it mimics the hesitancy of our misfit trying to find a way to restart, after trashing their initial progress, due to bad decisions or whatever the case may be...

    This song is ultimately personal, and intimately universal, and it is certainly a Kinks Klassic, whichever version one wants to listen to.... I must say though, on a close listen to the bridge, that is missing on the live version, it's incredibly important to the song here on the studio album, because the intimacy that the band manage to convey here is quite stunning.

    It seems odd that this wasn't a single in its own right, but perhaps the arrangement wasn't seen to be traditional enough or something....
    There is no career-spanning best of, or compilation that this song should be missing from. In many ways this is somewhat the Waterloo Sunset of the Arista years, and absolutely essential Kinks..... whether it should have started the album off or not ..... I don't know, but I lean towards not

     
  15. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Miami Beach FL
    Misfits: This song is everything that I like about the kinks all rolled up in one song. Every instrument is clear and distinct, the melodies are beautiful throughout and Ray’s gentle vocals and heart tugging lyrics make being a misfit sound like a thing of beauty. As a guy who generally likes hard rock, I can’t think of too many albums that I own that start off with a ballad, yet until some of my fellow Avids pointed out yesterday that this album started with a ballad, I never noticed it, the song is just that good! To me this song is an all-time Kinks classic.

    PS nothing like a “sleepless night” in NYC to help one be the first one to post after our leader! Although I’d rather be sleeping!
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2022
  16. Luckless Pedestrian

    Luckless Pedestrian Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    Few years back I went to the record store with the intention of buying Sleepwalker and somehow came home with Misfits, not sure how that happened! I enjoy all the songs, even Black Messiah, but then again I also enjoy Jamaican music and Randy Newman.
     
  17. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Miami Beach FL
    Fearless leader, I’m wondering how you plan to treat One from the Road? Obviously, we are not there yet, but my two cents would be that it is an important enough album in their discography to review each song individually. I only bring this up now because if the live versions from that album are posted as we cover the songs from Misfits and Low Budget (for example in this case, the live version of Misfits) that would reduce the impact of the album when we review it. I think that it is one of the great double live sets from the 70s, right up there with UFO’s Lights Out, Thin Lizzy’s Live and Dangerous and Skynyrd’s One for the Road and should be treated as it’s own album. That album did as much as any of their studio albums to make me the huge Kinks fan that I am today.
     
  18. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    UK TV appearance 1978. In belated reply to @DISKOJOE 's enquiry of me re; this subject , this is one of the mystery TV appearances included on the Kinks Live Broadcasts DVD that doens't seem to be listed by Hinman (the other is a solo Ray performance also from 1978 accompanied only by Gordon Edwards) and I'm afraid I don't have the answer to which show it is, only that it must be from a show broadcast on a commercial ITV channel as the whole DVD is non-BBC stuff.

    They also did Live Life and Life On The Road on this appearance

     
  19. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Misfits"

    This is a great song, well-performed and beautifully-sung by Ray, yet it's one that I've probably been guilty of taking for granted for too many years. Perhaps I have a sneaking suspicion that it should have ended around the three-minute mark, as I don't think that the restart and reprise of the chorus adds a lot - especially given its role as the album opener. It's a lyric that works well as a reference to the Kinks' own career, and I'm sure there are plenty of us who can identify with much of it as well.
     
  20. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    "Misfits" is a great song that I had basically forgotten about but it is essential Kinks. I love Ray's vocal here - heartfelt. Of course, we get another Hamlet reference in the lyrics ("every dog has his day" is also from the "closet" scene which also provided "cruel to be kind" for "The Hard Way"). There probably should be a thread on Shakespeare references in song lyrics! Who is the misfit? Well Ray refers to the misfit as "you" but some times the "you" in the song is the "you" the narrator sees in the mirror. This misfit does seem to be a performer ("you're lost without a crowd"). Musically, I really like "Misfits" - it is subtle and that elevates this song for me. Love the Ian McLagan style organ.
     
  21. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    First observation: it’s not unusual for the Kinks to start slow. After Schooldays and the ballad intro to Life on the Road, it’s the third time in a row. Thus a habit. An inclination. Almost an attitude. Second observation: they stopped doing it after this record, but it worked while it lasted. Wonders! At least for me… What a beautiful track this is. I love the little acoustic intro, and its return as a hook at the best possible place (2’54’’) and then as an instrumental break before the coda (3’30’’) are brilliant structural choices. I love Ray’s voice and his tone, the arrangement flows beautifully. It’s even more laid back than most Sleepwalker tunes but for very different reasons. I’ve always thought the Sleepwalker songs sounded purposefully like 1977, but the Misfits ones are almost deliberately out of time, even if it means somehow being out of touch. Who cares, that’s the whole point, isn’t it? This first song takes things where the closing Sleepwalker one left them. Further down the road, having failed at killing himself and acknowledged that life would go on (and on, and on), the songwriter/narrator understands his place in the (rock) world : he doesn’t really have one anymore. In truth, he probably never did. Even the high keyboard sound that grated on my ears in half the Sleepwalker tunes don’t bother me here, I’m not sure why, probably because of the fatalistic almost philosophical sentiment conveyed by the lyrics. But what made the song for me, from day one, is the bridge. The way it’s placed right in the middle (at the 2’20’’ mark of a 4’40’’ song), the way Ray sings it, the way he pronounces the alliterations, the mix, how the piano comes in (is this Gosling ?), how the echo and double track vocals pushes things into the stratosphere. This bridge is very close in spirit and execution to the one in 20th Century Man (the studio version), and just as effective and compelling (and cut on the live version too!!!). The best 25 seconds of the record for me, climaxing with its key phrase “the Misfits are everywhere / La la La La La-La”, the wonderful lalala’s being part of the lyrics and not just embellishments. Absolutely lovely.
     
  22. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Concur with everyone so far that this is a great song with a great lyric, it's as authentic and heartfelt as "Brother" on the last album was inauthentic and manufactured. It has that thing Lou Reed has where a song can have very standard and simple chords and changes and still sound fresh and not hackneyed.
     
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  23. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    One For The Road will be getting the regular track by track treatment, and we also have the concert video to look at, either during or after, I haven't decided yet.
    I know it may be somewhat of a trial for those that don't like Low Budget, but it is significantly different than the album, and the older songs are also
     
  24. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    Given that we also have the first two Dave solo albums to cover in 1980 and 1981, it could be some time before the people get what they want!
     
  25. Martyj

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

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    It’s unusual, though not unprecedented, for The Kinks to kick off an LP with one of the slower tempo’d numbers, but there is good reason for it here: it may be the best song on the record.

    Where does it rank on the Martyj list, you ask? It’s in the top third per the ranking I keep based on 50/50 objective criteria/personal preference:

    Kinks Studio LP openers

    Arthur — Victoria
    Something Else — David Watts
    Muswell Hillbillies — 20th Century Man
    VGPS - Village Green Preservation Society
    Word of Mouth — Do It Again
    Give the People What They Want - Around the Dial
    Misfits - Misfits
    Everybody’s in Showbiz — Here Comes Another Day
    Kontroversy — Milk Cow Blues
    Think Visual - Working at the Factory
    Preservation 1 — Morning/Daylight
    Face to Face — Party Line
    Sleepwalker - Life on the Road
    Soap Opera — Starmaker
    Schoolboys in Disgrace — Schooldays
    Low Budget — Attitude
    State of Confusion - State of Confusion
    Phobia — Opening/Wall of Fire
    Kinda Kinks — Look For Me Baby
    Lola V. Powerman — The Contenders
    Kinks — Beautiful Delilah
    Preservation 2 — Introduction to Solution
    U.K. Jive — Aggravation
     

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