Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Apr 4, 2021.
Comforting hip Dick
Lola on the radio
Me too, she confides
Out of the Wardrobe
This song has really grown on me. Like a lot!
First off, the topic. once again, Ray is in the vanguard on a topic that back in the day was talked of mostly in whispers or derision or simply confusion. I think he handles it well. Ray has a way of getting into these characters and dealing with it with such empathy. Dick is another misfit and Ray gets him. And I'm glad that even Betty Lou eventually is along for the ride. I knew those crazy kids would make it!
The music is delightful and combines well with the lyrics. I feel a lot of earlier Kinks in the music and the backing vocals. I love the backing vocals that start at "She wears the trousers and smokes a pipe..."...the uhhhhs. Little details like that can make an average song, not average. And the brothers' harmonies are lovely.
As soon as Ray starts singing the song, it feels like he's inhabited the ghost of Dylan there(hold it, Bob ain't dead...sorry! ). There's a real gruff to his voice that isn't usually there. It works though.
I also enjoy how Ray sings "Mama would positively die"...especially how he says "die". again, those little things draw me into the song and make me want to listen to it again.
So far, for me, no clunkers on this album.
Out Of The Wardrobe
This is a humorous song. Musically it is OK, but the lyrics are where it really shines. In typical fashion, Davies comes up with lots of clever lines with (as the previous poster stated) lots of great details!
A good solid album cut!
I agree. I see nothing comedic in this song. I think it's written in an honest way without pulling any punches. Not all relationships survive something like this and the lyrics are going through the possibilities of what could happen to this couple. Some of the words used are not acceptable these days, but putting that aside, i think there is a sensitive touch here, not slapstick...at all.
Yea, I must be completely missing this Benny Hill, Ray Stevens perspective... I don't hear it at all
Maybe if Dick sat on a bike with no seat, it would be slapstick...but that ain't happening here. (the bike bit is one of the few things I remember from Benny Hill - never liked his humor...but all the boys in my life did).
I like the John Prine comparison. Ray Stevens ? Never listened. Should I start now because I like Out of the Wardrobe ? Or perhaps the comparison was a bit unfair ?
I can hear the criticism that it sounds like it was meant a comedy song, that's what I was getting at when I said it made me of some Wilbury stuff. My guess is Ray first made it up as a semi-improvised ditty, with broad jokes thrown in (dick, wipe and hairy arms) but then it evolved into a more inclusive and empathetic story song, in which he decided to show his audience (and himself) they maybe shouldn't have laughed in the first place…
It makes me think of the movie Laurence Anyways by Quebec filmmaker Xavier Dolan. Same subject, same idea. The guy doesn't have to be gay to need to wear women's clothes, or even go all the way from transvestite to transgender. This film was seen as "hip" and new or even groundbreaking when it was released in… 2012 !! No more than ten years ago… Bottom line, I think even the use of the f word in our song comes from a realization that was a bit advanced for its time (at least for the general population of 78) : many need to label people, put them in easy categories, with no nuances and force an identity onto them. But some issues are more complex, more difficult to grasp, making it impossible (or insensitive) to put them in boxes. That's the whole point (I think) of using some insulting words : those are the words that would be thrown at our guy Dick by a lot of narrow-minded people just for going around in a dress. But you don't have to be closeted to get out of the wardrobe… Nor does it make you a xxxxx (f word needed there, for full grasp of the derogative idea).
Anyway, I think that's how the song's suppose to work, and I think it did work back in 1978 and long ofter that. In recent years, of course, the bulk of society has (thankfully) decided not to use some words in any context, because their simple existence is derogative. I see it as progress but I it doesn't change my appreciation of the sentiment expressed in the song. I mean Michael Palin's lumberjack also wants to wear women's clothes, doesn't he ?
(hmm, did I just ruin my argument, here ? )
He was good in Chitty chitty bang bang
he was in that movie? Am I going to be banned if I say I've never seen it...or have only seen bits and pieces?
To me the chick named Dick line is more ironic than comedic, and it's a nice percussive word rhyme.
He does the dishes and she helps him wipe.... that's just a straight up reversal of traditional gender roles from pre-eighties timeline... I'm not sure what is supposed to be funny or weird about it.
Hairy arms... that's just a straight up description.... most males have hairier arms than women....
I'm not getting it i guess.
Nah mate. I wouldn't ban anyone for pretty much anything. It's not particularly useful
He played the toymaker.
I just loved the movie when I was young. I even bought the dvd when it came out (which was since stolen) but I still really liked it. I'm just odd I guess
It's a song that is easy to misunderstand in a casual listen. This discussion put me on the side of finding it less insulting and more sensitive. I think the comedy aspect is heightened from the jaunty music and the smile that can be heard in Ray's voice. So, it may not be laugh out loud funny, but it has a touch of humor. I have gone back and forth about including this on my playlist. It may be the most Kinksian tune on the album.
The US album also has this back to back with Black Messiah. Two songs that can be seen as having controversial lyrics. For a modern day listener, this part of the album could be a head scratcher, but back in 1978 nobody probably batted an eye.
What a great film. This was based on a true story.
You're not odd. A good friend of mine has long maintained this is her fave movie of all time.
Out of the Wardrobe
We go from Lola’s dark brown voice to Dick’s hairy brown arms, and once more a mother-in-law to fret over. Once again mental lacunae and poor judgement threaten to sink this album for me, but once again, it is saved by the music. Their most varied set in some time, as someone said. I like the tentative drumming, Ray’s enunciation, and some of the phrases such as ‘trial separation’ and ‘positively die’. Jarvis Cocker was listening. Dave’s playing serving the song is also welcome.
Now to the gray cloud surrounding every silver lining. Uttering the F-bomb (and pansy for that matter) only cheapen the song. I don’t recall being offended at seventeen by the hurtful aspect of the slurs as much as the songwriter choosing them over better sounding words. Today the order of offense is reversed. And, of course, it never needed to be said. Lola never stated what it could imply. Out of the Wardrobe pulls you by the elbow, yet you’re happy to tag along.
I was going to close by sharing that I’m usually reminded of Lou Jacobi (those hairy forearms) in that great Woody Allen film (my introduction to Woody World). I was beaten to the punch. I will leave you with this; Lou Jacobi’s final resting place (forearms and all) is in Paramus, NJ, roughly two miles from where I once worked.
Our tentative coming schedule
I've run it on ahead a little so folks can make sure I haven't missed anything specific/significant
Monday - Trust Your Heart
Tuesday - Get Up ... wrapping up the Misfits
20 Golden Greats
Dave's Decade continued - Islands
Thursday - Dave's Decade - Give You All My Love
Friday - Dave's Decade - Within Each Day
Saturday - Dave's Decade - Same Old Blues and This Precious Time
Monday Mar. 28th - Low Budget the album intro
Tuesday - Attitude
Wednesday - Catch Me Now I'm Falling
Thursday - Pressure
Friday - National Health
Saturday - Superman
Monday Apr. 4th - Low Budget
Tuesday - In A Space
Wednesday - Little Bit Of Emotion
Thursday - A Gallon Of Gas
Friday - Misery
Saturday - Moving Pictures
Monday Apr. 11th -
Second time Around (RCA era compile)
Dave Davies AFL 1-3603 the album intro
Tuesday - Where Do You Come From?
Wednesday - Doing The Best For You
Thursday - Visionary Dreamer
Friday - Nothing More To Lose
Saturday - The World Is Changing Hands
Monday Apr. 18th - Move Over
Tuesday - See The Beast
Wednesday - Imaginations Real
Thursday - In You I Believe
Friday - Run
Saturday - The Kinks One For The Road the album, EP and video intro
Monday Apr. 25th - Opening (album and video)/ Hard Way (album and video)
Tuesday - Catch Me Now I'm Falling (album and video)
Wednesday - Where Have All The Good Times Gone (album and video)
Thursday - Intro/Lola (album and video)
Friday - Pressure (album and video)
Saturday - All Day And All Of The Night (album and video)
Monday May 2nd - 20th Century Man
Tuesday - Misfits
Wednesday - Prince Of The Punks/ Stop Your Sobbing
Thursday - Low Budget (album and video)
Friday - Attitude (album and video)
Saturday - Superman (album and video)
Monday May 9th - National Health/ Til The End Of The Day
Tuesday - Celluloid Heroes (album and video)
Wednesday - You Really Got Me (album and video)
Thursday - Victoria (album and video)/ David Watts
Waterloo Sunset EP
Dave Davies Glamour album intro
Saturday - Is This The Only Way
Monday May 16th - Glamour
Tuesday - Reveal Yourself
Wednesday - World Of Our Own
Thursday - Body
Friday - Too Serious
Saturday - Telepathy
Monday May 23rd - 7th Channel
Tuesday - Eastern Eyes
Wednesday - The Kinks Give The People What They Want album intro
I agree with this interpretation. These epithets provide context, they remind us that Dick isn't doing this in a vacuum, that his actions take courage in a society that, then and now, includes perspectives that would see him as a misfit, and would insult, demean, imprison or even murder him because of his behavior. I don't think it's an accident that the lyric switches to the second person for the vilest epithet, with the result that the line scans more as an accusation or challenge to one that would hold that point of view. Similarly, the elements of the lyric that could be interpreted as comedic in Out Of The Wardrobe reflects a point of view that would consider Dick's proclivity as absurd and a source of comedy, Woody Allen and Monty Python having already been called out above as examples. Ultimately, if one finds the lyric concerning, I think the gentle, relaxed nature of the musical composition and performance, especially the touching empathy with which Ray sings "he looks like a princess", underscores how at it's core, the song is sympathetic to Dick and Betty Lou.
Use of the word: lacunae. 10 pts.
Also, I think that the "pearl clutching" (Dick had a lovely set of them) going on over these words is a little over the top, frankly.
I'm not a huge language police guy and I really get that it's petty and censorious to clutch pearls over a couple of words one of our greatest lyricists wrote almost 50 years ago with only the best of intentions. In my line of work, too, I'm surrounded by language/gender/race monitors who wring their hands over every vaguely possibly racist-sexist-homophobic implication of every possible word, which is a relentless, arbitrary stumbling block to free expression. I do understand how being *offended* is in itself *offensive,* and how *woke snowflakes* can ruin a perfectly pleasant conversation in which no one speaking is doing so with a trace of bigotry or ill-intent.
A great, hysterically funny Mel Brooks film called Blazing Saddles came out when I was in 6th grade, and a line everyone in my class found incredibly hysterical was "What in the wide world of sports is goin' on here? I hired you to get a little track laid, not to jump around like a bunch of Kansas City fagg*ts!" We used to literally dance around repeating that line and breaking up into hysterical laughter. None of us knew exactly what it meant, just that it was transgressive and silly and fun to say. Years later, one of the kids in my class told me that was the year he realized he was gay, and that our whole silly, fun-spirited kansas city fagg*t obsession had nearly driven him to suicide.
Limiting speech, particularly artistic speech, is anathema to me. Clutching pearls over harmless jokes is the act of a humorless weakling. Maybe it's over the top for me to find it difficult to listen to this song because of a one little word written & sung without rancor or prejudice -- written, in fact, in the interest of openness and understanding. I just know that the word fagg*t bugs me. Sorry if that bugs you.
I don't love that word either but I see it in the context of the times. How about seeing it as a clear marker of how times have changed for the better (I hope)?
There are quite a few Low Budget outtakes that were released in the Picture Book box set.
Maybe I Love You
Stolen Away Your Heart
Are you proposing to get to them in the order of their actual release...which would make them among the last tracks we discuss in this thread? Seems like it would be more consistent to treat these like you are doing the Dave Davies Decade Collection and do them around the time they were recorded, right after the Low Budget discussions, IMO.
That's why i posted longform.
As none of the releases from this point on have really had much in the way of additional tracks, aside from alt mixes, I have no idea of any of them.
So when everybody has put their extras in, I can reorder what we have
A very interesting discussion on Out Of The Wardrobe.....
Let's not get caught up in the politics around these words. I understand some folks are sensitive about these things, but we'll end up on a bad road if we head down that way.
Mixed feelings about this one. A couple of objectionable words but the overall theme is one of acceptance. I don’t hear it with a wink or a smirk. I think overall it’s empathetic. I just don’t love the musical side of it that much.
Out of the wardrobe: I don’t have a lot to say about this one. It’s nice, it’s catchy, it’s not a skipper. It’s not my least favorite on the album, I guess that’s probably black messiah. That said, amongst a batch of good songs on this album, this one falls down near the bottom. That’s not an insult to the song, I find it quite likable.
Separate names with a comma.