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
    Today's kover takes us back to 1981 for The Pretenders' kover of 'I Go To Sleep'. This song was originally shopped around by The Kinks publishers, scoring versions by Peggy Lee, Cher and more. It was never released officially by The Kinks but the demo version can be heard in the bonus material of Kinda Kinks.

    Oh, and Chrissie does a fine job.

     
  2. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Much big thanks!
     
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  3. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    My favourite version - thanks for posting! :righton:

    Has there ever been a song-by-song Pretenders thread?
     
  4. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Permanent Waves

    Having read many reviews before posting gave me the thought that if you borrow, then doing it from the best or at the least quality artists is a wise idea.
    Macca, T Rex, Paul Simon & The Beach Boys were mentioned and I don't just hear "Cecilia" in the opening lines but throughout the song.

    Topical Ray as ever & a nice solo from Dave but I don't like the synth and the song feels slight.
    Sorry to say but I seem to put on side 2 of Misfits, zone out and near forget what i listened to which i hope to change.
     
  5. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    On the topic of haircuts changing for the old guard of rockers Mick & Keith's sure looked different from 1976-'77 into 1978 witnessing promo shots & The Miss You video.
    N.b. Mick did earlier have a short cut in 1973.
     
  6. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Sorry, you were in showbiz?
     
  7. TeddyB

    TeddyB Senior Member

    Location:
    Hollywoodland
    Everybody’s in Showbiz. (Sorry, couldn’t help it).
     
  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Live Life .

    stereo mix, longer edit than US album version, recorded Jan 1978 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    Have you heard about trouble throughout the land
    With the fascists and the left wing militants
    Out of work executives are killing themselves
    And the I.R.A. are killing everybody else
    Don't panic, don't lose control
    Keep your head, keep a hold
    Act normal, there's nothing wrong
    Stay cool, just carry on

    You gotta live life and be yourself
    You can't live life for anyone else
    You gotta live life, that's all you do
    Nobody gonna live your life for you

    Don't get depressed when you read in the press
    About world revolution and social unrest
    Try not to panic when you switch on the news
    And see the crooked politicians and the unemployment queues
    It's only life, it's really fine
    So don't you believe all you read in the headlines
    Live life, see it through
    Carry on, it's all you can do

    You gotta live life for yourself
    You can't live for anyone else
    You gotta live life, that's all you do
    Nobody gonna live your life for you

    Trendy intellectuals always take action,
    For every cause that's ever been in fashion
    Weekend revolutionaries protest and sing
    Because they're dedicated followers of any old thing
    They got every solution for every revolution
    They live in the slums just like the poor people do
    But they'd rather sniff coke instead of glue
    Right-wing fascists beat up the blacks
    Then they salute the Union Jack
    You can't pretend there's nothing wrong
    It's not the end, so just carry on

    You gotta live life for yourself
    You can't live for anyone else
    You gotta live life, that's all you do
    Nobody gonna live your life for you

    Oh, life's a mother, oh, life's a mother
    Oh, life's a mother, oh, life's a mother

    You gotta live life for yourself
    Can't live life for anyone else
    You gotta live life, that's all you can do
    Nobody gonna live your life for you

    Live life, you gotta live life
    You gotta live life, you gotta live life

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

    Here we have a pretty straight rock song from the guys, and Ray with an observational lyric that somewhat foretells where he will be heading on the next album.

    We open with a direct look at several, I guess, heavy topics.
    Have you heard about the trouble? Both political extremes are crap. Out of Work executives, and a lot of other people are right into suicide. The IRA are blowing stuff up all the time....
    The second half of the verse is essentially pointing out, don't freak out about it, this is nothing new. Anyone that has been alive long enough knows that the perpetual stupidity of the human race isn't going to stop long enough for you to get a handle on life. You need to live your life as best as you can, and as much as possible push all of that stuff out of your mind, because there is nothing you can do about it, and if you get too caught up in it all, and hide in the corner of your apartment, before you know it, you'll be on the downward slide of the end of your life and you won't have lived.

    I suppose the chorus could be seen as simplistic, but by the same token it is also just straight forward common sense. I can't live your life for you, and vice versa. We get one shot of this down here, and worry, fear, doubt, and all the rest of it, is of little to no use. that doesn't mean, don't care, but you can care about things without them overwhelming your existence.

    The second verse is particularly poignant in the modern era.... don't let the media keep you locked in their zone. It's nice to know what's going on in the world, but unfortunately the media is controlled by people that don't really want you to know exactly what is going on, they merely want to manipulate you into a position of support, for whoever the going concern is at any given occasion.
    Essentially the best thing to do if you're able, is to switch off the news and get on with your life, because nobody in the media cares about your life, they just care about controlling it to their ends. The division is intentional and the misinformation is intentional and from all angles.

    The third verse becomes even more pointed and poignant..... It is almost like Ray had slipped himself in a time capsule, wrote a song about the last few years and went back to record it, but really the thing that comes across to me is, there's nothing new under the sun. All that has happened in the last 45 years is that the systems in place have become more refined and people haven't seemed to notice the power and control they are wielding.

    We get a nice little breakdown, and I was never sure exactly what Ray was singing there, I thought it was "Who love's ya mother", but "Ooooo life's a mother" is pretty apt....

    So lyrically we have Ray right on the money here, hitting all the nails on the head and encouraging anyone that wants to listen to disconnect from the BS machine and live their life, because a media world that merely functions to build walls between everyday ordinary people is of no use to society..... get your revenge, live your life, the best form of revenge is success, and the greatest success is contentment with occasional bursts of happiness.

    Dave opens us up with some really nice chordal riffing, with a nice dirty tone. The rhythm section comes in solid and we drop down the intensity as the vocal comes in to let us know where we are at here.
    We move into this sort of boogie rock thing, but it is a bit different. The chord progression is really very good, it has some standard I IV V things in there, but we get all these really nice diversions that take us on a cool little chordal journey....
    We get some really excellent drumming here, as I am listening it really gets my attention how well this drum track is put together.

    The chorus is probably going to be where most folks are won and lost on this song I think....
    The chorus is about a call out, or a call to arms to regain your life from the manipulations that keep you hiding in your literal or metaphorical bomb shelter. To me that's why it is a simple theme. He made it simple and to the point for the direct purpose of it not being misunderstood, and also keeping it where anyone can grab onto it, whether they heard or understood the verse lyrics or not.
    Musically the chorus is just a slamming assault, and that is something that I appreciate.... I come from the harder side of music originally.... no not the dudes gargling mud, but the folks that were tearing it up, and singers whose heads were exploding from the amount of air they were moving ... certainly I spread that wide and far over the years, but for the most part as a teen, big and loud was where you would have found me.

    There seems to have been a lot of talk about this album being the Kinks return to rock, and I guess that is in light of Sleepwalker having been a little more reflective in its musical presentation.... and here we have the most obvious punchy rock song from the guys.

    In the second verse we get a really cool sort of ambient guitar for the first half, that is almost just a feedback guitar in the background, but in the second half of the verse it ends up becoming like a harmony lead... playing 7th's? ... I can't quite pick it, but it works really well, and adds just a few spices to amp things up a bit.

    After the second verse Dave lets us have some aggressive lead and then Ray has a sort of loud "live life" section that is also working to push the song to the next level. It's a really nice little interlude that gives us some more flavour to digest.

    We move back through the somewhat extended third verse and another chorus, and then another piece of Dave tearing it up, and very convincingly.....
    This leads to a drop in dynamics where we have Ray giving us the Ooooo life's a mother section, followed by a gentle verse, and then we burst into sonic overload with the ending ripping it up.

    I can find things that may be flaws in this song, and this is one where perhaps that chorus could be better, but essentially I just enjoy the song 99% of the time.... very occasionally I find myself thinking it doesn't quite make it, but most of the time it is spot on....

     
  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  10. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    Live Life is a nice rocker to change things up musically a bit, and it's nice to hear Dave cut loose. I much prefer the verses to the chorus. Overall, a decent album track.
     
  11. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    We go back to the Uncle Son/Preservation tradition of putting every politician and ideology in the same pot and throw it out the same window (not sure about the english expressions here). I’ll admit I've always strongly disagreed with this general relativism and disillusionment (“all crooked”, “all the extremes are the same”, "our world is going crazy" etc) but I can’t help but sympathizing with (and believing in) the beautiful idea of the common man showing common sense, or even good sense. I think that’s also the way Ray likes to look at things, when he’s not being cynical.
    I love a lot of lines here, and especially how they flow and ride on the melody. The one about the IRA is particularly good. Witty, poker faced, provocative, perfectly delivered. One thing I find a bit weird: the meter of the first verse allows for a better phrasing than the next ones, a “mistake” that could already be found in In a Foreign Land. Ray was more careful with these things before, I think. There’s a whole lot going on here, the heavy fist pumping riffing, the poppy pre-electro verse, the vocal and synths call & response chorus, the real introduction of Shouty Ray, the advent of guitar hero Dave, the absence of swingin’ Mick, replaced by a bombastic session player… Twenty songs in (counting the outtakes), yeah, I believe this is the official birth of the (in?)famous Arista/arena Kinks sound we’ve talked about since wrapping up Schoolboys in Disgrace. It was all but absent since then but this time, it has arrived, fully formed. I bet our very own anti-chorus greek (& french) chorus will have plenty to say about this one, and I certainly won’t object, as music and lyrics lose a lot of bite there. Clearly, the verse’s where it’s at, a bona fide update of the Kinks of old, melodic and idiosyncratic, showing them ready to embrace the eighties in their own kinky way.
     
  12. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Ugh, horrible bone-headed rocker with more of Ray's trademark whingeing about more of his usual targets - though at least he's laid off the welfare state this time. This song seems to be recommending keeping your head down, keeping calm and carrying on, to use that irritating phrase, only for Ray to yell at us to get off our arses a few songs later - make your mind up, Ray!
     
  13. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Live Life"

    I like this song - but the version that I've been listening to for the last 30 years is the one on the original CD release, which is neither the original long version, nor the US album edit, but an edit which is 3:12 long (and doesn't appear to be on YouTube). That one trims off all the unnecessary fat - e.g. going directly from the end of the first chorus to the start of the second verse. I probably heard the full long version the first time I listened to the album, but I'm not keen on that third verse and all the extra instrumental sections. I also prefer it in the side 1 track 3 slot as on that CD. It's a good Kinks rocker - I like the riffing and Ray's vocal, and I think the shortest version does it the most favours. I don't think there's quite enough shouting to take us into the full arena phase yet - for me that begins at the very start of "Attitude".
     
  14. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    "Live Life" - I never knew Ray was responsible for all of those "stay calm and carry on" messages out there but there it is in this deep cut from Misfits - "stay cool and just carry on". I am glad to heat Dave step forward a bit on this song and provide some good old rock n roll guitar. And the lyrics here are pretty good - Ray covers a lot of ground (extreme political views, corrupt politicians, militant activists, unemployment, poverty. substance abuse and even a self-referential mention of "dedicated followers" (clearly a reference to Dead Heads!). None of it breaks any new musical ground but I find it enjoyable enough for a pretty generic rocker.
     
  15. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    There's an interesting vitriolic comment about this song from a reader in Melody Maker quoted in Hinman's book: 'What can you say about patronising prattish ill conceived calculated token gestures of 'understanding the scene maaan' like this?' which Hinman says typifies the younger punk set backlash to established artists. It's a memorable diss, but I also think it's slightly misdirected at this song (it would have been better aimed at the platitude-tastic conclusion of 'Black Messiah'): as rather than the 'ex hippy political science lecturer trying to get down with the kids' stance that that comment suggests 'Live Life' is going for, it's really a brutally pragmatic verging on cynical song advising you to ignore the greater problems of the world and just get on with what's in front of you cos that's all you can do. Especially with the world as it is right now, I have very mixed feelings about this message: on one hand it's a selfish head in the sand attitude with an unpleasant side order of conveniently simplistic 'both sides' ism, but on the other hand, when it comes down to the everyday nitty gritty of living everyday life while in the wider context of a world of horrors that you experience abstractly through mass media, like it or not it is the reality of how you often have to approach each day: in that respect the simplistic driving musical accompaniment to this one is very apt. I think ultimately it's the total absence of idealism or hope for something better from this song that the (presumably) younger Melody Maker reader was responding to so angrily back in 1978.

    Really don't like that 'Dedicated Followers' line: it's the kind of cute 'member when?' little nod to a former glory that Ray would increasingly drop into Kinks songs from here on in. Fortunately the US edit drops it: with that and the 'Black Messiah' switcheroo, I feel the Americans got a subtly but significantly superior version of the album served up to them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2022
  16. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow

    Disn't this one track see the brief return of ace session drummer (and ex Tornado) Clem Cattini, meaning it's a reunion of 3/4s of the Kontroversy studio line up?

    [​IMG]
     
  17. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Here's the isolated clip of them playing it on (what I now know is!) the Granada TV show A Little Night Music:


     
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  18. Martyj

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

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    Live Life is Low Budget’s premature baby.

    Ignore the lyrics. With verses laundry-listing how things sucks wrapped around a chorus of trite platitudes, it’s less a great song than it is a great track…a great rocker. As such, it’s among the high points on Misfits.

    I don’t know how many songs the Kinks recorded, but for the sake of argument let’s say 400. This is about the 300th best track they ever cut. Which is the other thing that’s great about Live Life: it shows just how g*dammed great the Kinks are when 3/4 of the songs they cut are even better than the hardest kick-ass rocker on their 17th album.
     
  19. Endicott

    Endicott Forum Resident

    Live Life

    That opening riff. That damn opening riff.

    It's not Dave's most complex. It's not his most inspired. It's about as subtle as a swarm of hornets. But damn, it's impossible to dislodge from my head. It draws me in -- it shoves me in. It's brilliant.

    And that's just the appetizer. This is a marvelous track. It's sort of thematically similar to "Uncle Son", in that it throws shade at every political persuasion, from limousine liberals to fascist thugs, but "Uncle Son" was a slingshot. "Live Life" is a machine gun. Ray's vocals are loud and assertive (but not shouty), and Dave's en fuego for the whole ride, with so many runs and flourishes it's a fool's errand to pick out the best. And the organ (still Gosling?) swirls around like a warplane on a mission.

    Even though I am American, I much prefer the unabridged UK version (which I wasn't even aware of until fairly recently). I guess it was edited because Clive (or someone) figured the British politics would have whooshed over US listeners' heads, but I find that to be annoyingly patronizing towards the band's fans, and besides, why slice up such a ferocious jam anyway?

    The song's main theme -- that whatever the state of the world, we can't be expected to carry everyone else's troubles on our shoulders, because we all have our own -- resonates today even more than ever.

    Best cut on Misfits. This song probably takes up more space in my head than ANY other Kinks song. I'm not exaggerating much. Because of that dumb riff. It's talking to me. It's beginning to move. I gotta get away!

    Here's a rawer, punkier version of this song. The Chesterfield Kings played at my college in the mid-eighties (I'm old). They didn't perform this one that night, but they did do a sledgehammer version of "I Need You".

     
  20. Northernlight

    Northernlight Forum Resident

    Great insight on a great song. And that bit about "the guy in my block" is really one of those I've-been-there-kid scenarios. If I could have back all the hours I've spent doing that, I'd be about ten years old now. But it was worth it.
     
  21. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Did they edit out the bit about the IRA to avoid offending Irish Americans or something?
     
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  22. Martyj

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

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    I always liked the Chesterfield Kings. A bit of an obscure, revivalist band but their first two albums scratched me were I itch.

    By the way, Endicott, I just noticed you are in Frederick, Maryland. I lived there for about 20 years, and still own my home which is where my daughter currently lives, raising my young grandson. I visit the place weekly to look after him. What part of town are you? I'm about halfway between Ft. Detrick and the Whittier development.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2022
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  23. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Miami Beach FL
    Live Life: Kinda the closest they ever came to metal arguably. I am betting this one gets a mixed reaction but its my favorite on Misfits and would be in my top ten kinks’ songs of all time (bold statement, I know). I prefer the shorter version, probably just because I have lived it and loved it for 40+ years. I can literally conjure it up in my mind and hum the riffs, sing the lyrics (out of tune) and hum Dave’s bomb @ss solo straight through.

    • Love the opening riff, one of Dave’s best ever, up there with YRGM.
    • Ray is covering old terrain I suppose lyrically, its not a new topic for him, how tough life is, but dang those are some great lyrics he spits and wails out, and what voice!
    • Such a great chorus, I just can’t help sing along.
    • Dave’s solo is just insane, fast, slippery, tight and controlledwith those high pitched harmonics us metal heads relish, just top notch! Bearing in mind my hard rock leanings, one of his best ever!
    • Love the post solo break where Ray sweetly sings the lyrics and Dave echoes them back with his lead licks.
    • …and I love, love, love when the riff comes charging back in as the lead instrument, showcasing its brilliance once again! Air guitar heaven (as is the whole song frankly).
    • …and finally (yup, I’ll shut up soon), love the end with the “Live, LIVE, Life LIFE” call and response.

    Its only life! Its really fine! I am writing this on a plane to LA in advance, so I am going to predict Fearless Leader shall dissect the lyrics better then I ever could and therefore I won’t, but to me they really are some of Ray’s best.

    Ok, sorry got a little over-excited there, but I just love this tune. It still feels as fresh as the first time I heard it when it blew my mind four decades ago. I know the kinks moved on and stopped doing YRGM rehashes for a long time, so I should just say, thanks Ray and Dave for giving me one more short sharp blast of power rock to fry my brain!
     
  24. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    The line about the IRA survived all the edits.
     
  25. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    Live Life

    I will happily set aside any weaknesses and join the chorus of those singing the virtues of this excellent track.

    Yeah, Dave rocks.... the song rocks.

    The message, while simple, is also timeless and effectively (and sometimes very cleverly) delivered.

    And Ray was well ahead of his time in some things, especially the need to disassociate from what the media choose to present.

    It's also a good reminder, especially for us of an age to be prone to nostalgia, that the good ol' days weren't always so grand as we like to think they were.
     

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