The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Martyj

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

    Maryland, USA
    Re: the reinvention. My comments weren't directed backwards to Sleepwalker/Misfits, but more of moving forward, beginning with Low Budget but mostly post One for the Road.

    Tracks from Give the People and Phobia could be swapped out, and other than obvious sonic variances in the recordings, it really doesn't matter over a 10 year period which LP something like "Destroyer" is on. The band was still doing things the same. I can't imagine Kinda Kinks "Look for Me Baby" on Something Else three years later, or Muswell's "Uncle Son" on Sleepwalker 6 years later.
  2. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Ah, yes. I meant to mention these, too. Yep, I agree with you.
    (I was going to write something else but thought better of it. Inserting the word ‘clap’ in a sentence will give @All Down The Line a field day in terms of pun material.)
  3. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Yea, I can see that.
    I am not yet familiar with the post Word of Mouth albums, so i have no point of context yet.

    I think Low Budget and One For The Road are somewhat similar for obvious reasons...
    Give The People .... changes up a bit, State Of Confusion changes up a bit, but yes, for the most part once we hit the eighties there seems to be a slowing of stylistic variation.

    I'll have to see where i end up on that when we get there.
  4. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Cape May, NJ
    You're right it was the tour it was promoting.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2022
  5. Luckless Pedestrian

    Luckless Pedestrian Forum Resident

    New Hampshire, USA
    I agree, Misery feels like a Stones song with the exception that the lyrics are comprehensible.
  6. Brian x

    Brian x the beautiful ones are not yet born

    Los Angeles

    Wow. Like Live Life, all you have to do is open with a hard rocking, gritty riff, I guess, and you really got me. Bark, throw out a slur, write somewhat flat, unambiguous lyrics -- none of that matters, apparently. And then, to hook me in completely, start throwing in other styles, musical references, & vocal modalities, in Klassic Kinks style, and you really got me all day and all of the night.

    Never heard this song before, & am now dwelling in deep regret. It would've for sure made all of those 80s mix tapes. I don't know what kind of twisted adolescent music-snob attitude kept me from giving this LP a single spin back in the day, but this song manages to combine just about everything I love about the Kinks. If Low Budget contains an evocative emotional tune like Sunny Afternoon, Sitting in my Hotel, or Some Mother's Son I'm going to invent a time machine, go back to 1979, and kick my teenage self until he begs for mercy.
  7. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I reviewed my final thoughts on the last four albums and laugh as I see I’ve claimed two to be my least favorite to date. However, further exploration calls for a reevaluation.

    My bottom ranking of Kinks albums is (at this moment in time):

    ‘Schoolboys In Disgrace’ (I piggybacked on @Vangro ‘s summation: “…sounds like unmitigated disaster but it isn’t…The songs are well written and arranged, they just don’t excite me very much.”) I confess that I find myself humming and singing bits from this album quite a bit. So I’ve upgraded my opinion.

    ‘Misfits’ (much better than ‘Sleepwalker.’)

    ‘Soap Opera’ (without a doubt my least like album to date). But…we’ve examined three albums since that declaration.

    ‘Sleepwalker’ (not much interest…bored… and actively disliked a couple of tracks.) And it’s those couple of tracks (‘Sleepless Night’ and (shudder) ‘Stormy Sky’) that push this album down to the bottom of the pile.

    *everything in brackets is from my original final comments on album.
  8. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    True dat! …even Mick doesn’t know what Mick’s lyrics are.
  9. Luckless Pedestrian

    Luckless Pedestrian Forum Resident

    New Hampshire, USA
    The '80s are here, I know cuz I'm staring right at them
    But you're still waiting for 1960 to happen

    I really enjoy this succinct and effective bridge in Attitude; it's an interesting change from A to B-flat - a flatted second then to F which I think is a minor 6th, then resolves with a simple step down to A and E. I'm sure there's a theoretical reason I'm not aware of that it's so satisfying to my ears - maybe something about the playing of major chords with their root notes in the A minor scale, while the song is in the key of A major. Also the thing is that that F in the bridge recalls the A to F change in the verse, which I think of as the "doom" chord ("you gotta join the dance"), which interestingly is skipped in the positive "you will endure" verse.

    Anyhow, in this bridge the most interesting and reflective lyrics in the song are matched with the most interesting part of the musical composition, and it also contains the best rhyme in the song (at them / happen). After all the rage and shouting at the start this is somewhat unexpected, and it pleases me from an aesthetic point of view.
  10. Endicott

    Endicott Forum Resident

    To be fair, this kind of thing happened with a lot of legacy artists in the eighties. The Stones retreated into a generic arena-rock sound as well, and after Tattoo You their output got increasingly predictable. Eric Clapton got humdrum, Rod Stewart was downright embarrassing. Aretha Franklin had a commercial rebirth in mid-decade, but frankly most of her material then was still mush. Elton John's 1980's work is pretty much the definition of bland. The one veteran artist who DID keep on doing his own thing, Neil Young, was sued by his record company for his trouble.

    I think given the context of the era, when straying outside your lane was heavily discouraged, the Kinks did as well as anybody.
  11. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Am playing the album in the car this a.m. and all of a sudden my wife says, “Now this is one strange song.” Me, “So you like it?” Wife, “No.” :D

    I’ll let you guess which song she’s referring to.
  12. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident


    The line of demarcation is upon Ray & Co. (Kinks 2.0?...3?...4?!) with this so-so opener. Attitude, yes. Character, nyet. Is this song a memo to self, a message to the boys, or a keynote address to his adopted countrymen? All three, maybe. The song seems to pick up steam as it goes, but not enough to redeem it, to my ears. Mick is content to slow down the proceedings, we gotta stand and face it, this type of thing isn’t Mr. Avory’s strong suit. It’s revisionist history but imagine Bob Henrit on the stool. Mick is a finesse player. Finesse left the building (or was asked to leave) and is stood outside Power Station in the gutter with the belle of the album cover (Monica?). Bob is a power drummer who would have fitted in nicely with the Kinks arena-rock needs. No doubt Dave was frustrated by Mick’s playing once the musical terrain got heavier. I’m sure it would have been difficult for Ray to pink slip an original member (and friend) but it ended up happening anyway during the Word of Mouth sessions. Sadly for Mick, there was no longer any room for his ‘happy accidents’ and ‘comedy drumming’ (Ray’s own words) on the next three studio albums. I do think Mr. Henrit would have been better suited for the Kinks from this point on.
    In closing, let’s give three cheers to the Headmaster for his epic (and excellent) write-up which I’m certain took longer to write than for Ray to write the song itself.
  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  14. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I don’t know what Spotify plays are but Apple Music doesn’t include a Low Budget song on its most played list until #16 (Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman. Next are #43 (Catch Me…) and #44 (Low Budget).

    It’s not a true 16 because the various sources of Lola, for example, are #1, 2, 14, 20, 28, 35, 39, 40 and 46…etc. To get a true number of ‘Lola’ (the song) plays you’d have to add ‘em all up.

    Anyway, I was curious because Low Budget was the big break-out seller (first studio lp to reach RIAA gold status, supposedly selling between 600k-700k by 1980).

    So where is the first Village Green individual track (from an album that sold a minuscule 39,000)? ‘Picture Book’ at #21. But (!), it is also at #33. Would the total usurp Superman’s numbers? Don’t know because I only use my phone and have no idea if Apple shows actual plays or not. If so, I can’t see on my phone.

    What does this mean? Flash in the pan? A fine wine? :D
  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Streaming numbers bewilder me.... I have no idea where anything actually sits, or what really counts as a stream.
    My wife's niece streams stuff, but only seems to listen to a 30 seconds of any given song ... it is all totally foreign to me.
  16. Martyj

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

    Maryland, USA
    I can agree with this. I never considered it before, but I think you are right. It always struck me that Avory's drumming descended into merely serviceable with the commencement of the arena-styled songs. I didn't understand why until I read an interview, after the fact, where he himself stated he wasn't much engaged with the style of music the band was now doing on stage.
  17. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I’m using it as one gauge (not the only one) of popularity (within Kinkdom). And, in the above, was trying to see if songs (all these years later; decades later) matched real-time, short term album sales. In the case of Low Budget (the album), I think the answer is “no.”
  18. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA

    Shouty Ray is here. That's going to be my term as it's accurate and it works. We know what we mean, so I don't see the need to come up with a better term.

    Anyhoo, I don't mind Shouty Ray, but this song may be too much of it. And you really can't make out the lyrics at all. I couldn't make out the lyrics during Dave's screaming in Trust Your Heart either, but I think with Attitude, it somehow isn't working for me. Ray sounds like he's going to hurt his vocal cords - whereas Dave can naturally hit those screeching/yelling heights easier. So I'm not enamored with Ray doing the yelling on this one.

    I do like when Ray goes into his regular, and maybe even a more whispery, vocals after the initial shouting. Wish he would have stayed there.

    Mark mentioned the Who Are You? similarity and I can totally hear that.

    My guess would be most of these lyrics are aimed at Ray himself. But I honestly don't know.

    I've been listening to this album and I know I enjoy it, but this song is in my bottom 3 of the album. It's fine, and not a skipper, but the vocals are giving me a headache.

    Shouty Ray on the album Low Budget running total:
    1 of 1
  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I think in many regards the band's wildly ignored earlier albums got a sort of renaissance, and probably get more attention these days.
    There is also the eighties backlash to consider. For at least two decades, the eighties was frowned upon and scorned.... aside from a few diehards, generally on the forum the eighties is, or seems to be, considered the end of music lol
  20. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident


    I was never much a fan of this song. I was trying to find someone's comment about it being more like a Van Halen sounding riff than anything to do with punk. I completely agree. If I don't take it too seriously, and have it on in the background, I find it to be a decent opener for the album. There have been many great comments whether I agree with them or not. Ray goes into a bit of his exaggerated accent and at times recalls the band Television Personalities. Dan Treacy, the lead singer, has a massive accent! If you haven't heard their debut from 1981 ...And Don't The Kids Just Love It, you may find it sounds more like a Kinks album that you might have expected in 1979. For me, it sounds like The Kinks are trying too hard and out of step with what they are going for. I don't necessarily like how Ray sings " oooh It's your attitude". There is a good song in here, but there are also several things about it that is a turn off. It has grown on me more in the last few weeks. I'll say it's a better song than what was at one time an instant skip.
  21. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Florence, SC
    For tomorrow's song, make sure you break down That Riff between the Kinks song and the Stones song to show the differences. While the individual notes of That Riff might be the same, the keys and chords are different with the Stones song maintaining a dominate 7th on 7th voicing and the Kinks a 7th on a major. And of course the Stones song stays there whereas the Kinks have several different things going on with the rest of their song, so it's just that one part. I don't know if I'm saying this exactly right (this is a drummer trying to talk theory - not a good thing usually) so I think I better leave that to you.

    In a post last week, I alluded to some problems I have with One For The Road and the drumming is the elephant in the room for me with the live recordings from this era. I'll save further comment until we get to the album and the tracks themselves but there are several instances where the tempos start slowing down in the middle of the song itself that are very noticeable and that's on the drummer.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2022
  22. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    I wanted to post the song "Attitude" by The Misfits which was released in 1978. Now that's a punk song! First The Kinks steal the Misfits name for an album title and now they are stealing a song title from them. ;)

    The Misfits song has explicit lyrics, but it's available on YouTube for anyone that wants to rock out.
  23. ajsmith

    ajsmith Senior Member

    Wow, that's not a comparison I hear at all on this song but interesting you bring the TVPs up.. they're a fascinating quintessentially English band who kind of co invented DIY indie music in the late 70s while also being 60s revival stylists from the unique perspective of being in London at the right place and the right time but a generation too young. Definitely some Kinks parallels could be made even if I think the only connection is The TVPs were known to cover 'David Watts' live (and that was prob more than likely a Jam reference). They kind of started off as a punk parody band before going mod then psychedelic and then more goth/singer songwriter depressive. I guess Treacy puts on a an exaggerated gutteral cockney accent on the really early more comedic stuff but after that he uses his normal, much more childlike voice.
  24. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    It's a slight thing I notice. Ray goes into his cockney accent here and there on this album, and at times it makes me think of Television Personalities. His accent was further over the top, but I see similarities in the vocal and some of the music because Televison Personalities can also remind me of The Kinks.
  25. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    :D Maybe ‘New Shouty Ray’ because it’s a huge stretch to say it is similar to this (where it was first applied):

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