The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Well, I should say HAPPY FIRST ANNIVERSARY to this thread! it's been fantastic journey so far, @mark winstanley has done an amazing job curating it: it's become a whole microcosmic community for me and suspect many others. It's been so great to virtually meet and check in with all you fellow (as we seem to have ended up calling ourselves, possibly in reference to Brian Matthew's term for his own followers on the Sounds Of The Sixties show? was it @DISKOJOE who originated this term with regards to this thread? ) 'Avids'. I'm afraid I'm currently crippled with depression so can't work up the mental power to compose anything more than that today or recently but this thread is a daily small tonic and reassurance.
  2. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    "In A Space"

    I have to say the first thing that struck me when I first heard it all those years ago was the three-note "Jesus Christ" melody, which had me expecting the "superstar" bit next. This is probably my least favourite track on the album. I like the first part, with Ray and Dave singing together, but I find the shouty part a bit tuneless and unattractive, and that's the bit which sticks with me more than the parts of it I like. It ultimately seems a bit plodding.

    Hard to believe it's only been a year since this fantastic thread was started, as we have covered so much already! But we're still a long way from home...
  3. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    The opening to this song is so Stones-sy, or more accurately, it is so Faces-sy (many people say the Black Crowes "Jealous Again" is Stones-sy but the vibe is more specific to the Faces), I cannot help but love that intro. Once you get into the verses this song is a bit of a different beast than what the intro suggested though the electric guitar always suggests the Stones/Faces. The vibe during the verses is hard to describe as they are dominated by the return of shouty Ray. Lyrically? Just a little exercise in existentialism in the first verse and it morphs into an observation about what it is like to be one of billions of people striving for a sense of individuality. The reference to "staring at the stars" reminds me of a famous Oscar Wilde quotation "we are all in the gutter; some of us are looking at the stars". Of course, Chrissie Hynde took that line and worked it into the song "Message Of Love" around this time. And I believe this was the era in which Ms. Hynde's life became entangled with Ray Davies' so I find that specific lyric very interesting. I would also fall into the category of one who had all but forgotten about this song.
  4. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    I think Dave's vocal are the star of In A Space (I always think Inner Space), which is a decent album track but I could do without Ray's shouty bits.
  5. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident

    In a Space

    Dave is certainly making the most of his space on this ultimately inconsequential song. His nice Stones-like guitar intro, his guitar fills and strong backing vocals throughout get this song over. And let’s not forget Ray’s synthesizer farts (must be those cod roes). You think Ray would allow Mr. Gosling or Mr. Edwards to noodle around on his dime, on his art? They’d have been sacked post haste, er, if they hadn’t already been let go, that is. Except for the superfluous bridge, I’m still fond of this one. After that bridge (nah, it’s a culvert) you think Ray is building up to some deep insight but all we get is a second helping of the appetizer. Check please!
  6. Endicott

    Endicott Forum Resident

    In A Space

    This track is a bit hard to categorize. It starts off as another blues-rock number, but morphs into Minor Threat hardcore when it reaches the bridge. It's one of the noisiest Kinks cuts there is.

    But it's a musically satisfying song, as it builds to Dave's balls-out guitar assault (via some cool little synth squiggles) and Ray's step-by-step transition from Regular Ray to Stern Ray to Ultra-Shouty Ray. The cosmic philosophizing of the lyrics is quite funny -- is "thinking about the world and all the people in it" the single most voluminous idea ever expressed in a pop song? And there's that little reference to Face to Face...

    Kind of a precursor to "Loony Balloon" on UK Jive.
  7. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Be well...
    I get the feeling there's something in the air, I seem stuck in this zone at the moment also.... it's very annoying.
  8. fspringer

    fspringer Forum Resident

    New York City
    In a Space: I liked this well enough at the time, but very little about it remains with me now. (I think I just described my ongoing condition with roughly half the album!) Nothing wrong with it musically, but it doesn't really go anywhere either. The lyrics read like one of those conversations you have with someone who is high on pot or some mild hallucinogenic who's in the mood to ponder the universe. They're not saying anything relevant. But, maybe they really are, man, and we're the ones who are irrelevant? No. And I can't fault people these diversions into dimestore metaphysics.

    Ray writes about crowds a lot, seems obsessed with the concept. I guess when you're a rockstar, you spend a lot of time looking at crowds, gathered to see you perform. Sometimes these songs are insightful ("Waterloo Sunset," "A Face in the Crowd," "Return to Waterloo"). But sometimes it's just to note that the world is crowded. Tell it to me when I'm in the subway half an hour from now! I often wonder how or if Ray took advantage of NYC's massive subway system when he lived here ...
  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    A year?... it's been an interesting and fun year.
    Thanks to everyone for playing along. Whether we all agree or not on various things, I think most of us have learned a fair bit about the band and their recordings, and that's the whole point.

    Another year goes by, and we're in a space, as the world keeps on spinning beyond our control around us.
  10. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Almost certainly I would have thought!
  11. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Lyrically this seems more like something Dave would write than Ray, though it would probably be more flowery and pretentious.
  12. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    He’d insert a line about the government, too.
  13. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly 1964-73 rock's best decade

    In A Space
    This is one of the more average and less memorable songs on this album.
    I say that because all I remembered about it was the opening part. The song actually does have a lot of different changes in it, but somehow they just don't do much for me. Not a bad song or anything, but after everything that has come before it, this is a bit of a letdown.
  14. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    In A Space: I think I put this is the indifferent category. It’s okay though quickly forgotten. Then I listen again and think, “ah, the one that sounds like ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.’

    I didn’t hear the Jesus Christ Superstar thing until it was pointed out. Now, though, yes, I hear it.

    And the album song-by-song score stands at 6-0-1.
  15. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    In A Space
    This was a tune that didn't get on my radar when I first played the album - I was in a different space at the time :winkgrin:.
    It's not a personal song or or one of Ray's mini character portraits but I still enjoy the lyrics. So what if they have a trippy hippy vibe when read without the music. They remind me of the Total Perspective Vortex in Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy i.e. The Total Perspective Vortex was a machine built with the intention of showing beings the infinity of creation, which became used as a method of torture. I doubt that was Ray's intention here, though he tries hard during the shouty parts. Musically, it's a departure for the Kinks. I thought that wobbly noise was the bass guitar but it's been suggested it's a synthesiser - either way, it adds an other-worldly element appropriate to the lyrics. So, while this song won't get onto one of my "best-of" lists, I do like it and think it fits well on this album.
  16. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    I hope your spirits get a lift. Nothing worse than feeling down. I have had some trials and tribulations myself recently, 4 days ago the apartment above ours flooded quite badly and the water leaked (showered) down into our apartment and into our all of our walls. For the past five days there have been 15 massive industrial size fans set up to blow air into the holes punched in almost all of our walls to try to dry the sheet rock to avoid black mold. The fans are so loud we literally can’t hear each other talking if we’re more than a foot apart.

    fortunately, we’ve all got today’s wonderful Kinks song to focus on and feel excited about, I know that gives my spirits a lift today (even if I can’t hear the song if I were to play it through my stereo system). Hopefully, that will be a bright ray (Ray?) of sunshine today in your life as well.
  17. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Sorry, I don't hear anything... Maybe a minor variation on L'été Indien ? Works mostly for the first 3 notes...

    Fun song, I didn't remember it either. Many songs on this album sound like better-played, better-recorded secondary tracks from the Pye years, which is cool indeed.
  18. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Thanks for the reminder, and I hope things get better for you !
  19. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident


    Wow, would you beleive I was going to make that comparison too, when I was attempting a write-up on todays song this morning before giving up? The thing is. it wasn't the first time Adams TPV concept has been compared to Ray's writing, as in Martin and Hudson Kinks book they somewhat abstrusely compared Ray's songs on Muswell Hillbillies to being akin to being from the POV someone who'd passed through the Total Perspective Vortex! I believe 'In A Space' actually predates Adam s concept by nearly a year, as the episode of the Hitchhikers in which the TPV first appeared aired in January 1980 (it's also perhaps my favourite episode of radio comedy ever):

    Last edited: Apr 4, 2022

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    Happy 1st Anniversary everyone! Although I didn't jump in until around June, I have enjoyed reading and participating in this forum and I like to say thanks to my fellow Avids for their illuminating comments and insights.

    Speaking of Avids, yes, it was I who started calling everyone that, mostly in memory of the late and great Brian Matthews of the BBC's Sound of the Sixties and partly from PG Wodehouse's character Psmith, who addressed everyone he met as "Comrade".

    As for the Kinks Song of the Day, Ray began the 70s w/"This Time Tomorrow" an observation of life from a jet and now he ends it w/"In A Space", an observation of life from space. Musically, the latter song sounds a bit more mechanical than the former and is not as memorable, but it's nice to know that Ray's still thinking about how humanity fits in w/the whole scheme of things.

    Finally, but importantly, I hope that Avid Ajsmith gets out from what's troubling him. He has been an important contributor to this thread, especially when it comes to the Kinks' media appearances, and he is much appreciated here as I hope he is in the "outside world".
  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It was very cool being reminded of the Total Perspective Vortex....

    For those unfamiliar, here is a snippet from, I assume, the radio play of Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy

    I never heard the radio play, but discovered the tv series by accident one night.... and went on to read all the books.
    I actually used to have a nice, big book, that had all the books in it... but made the mistake of lending it to someone, so i probably haven't had it for about thirty years now lol
  22. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Maplewood, NJ
    In a Space

    In a space. Inner space. I like the word-play and different ways of saying we are a world within a world. We are small and insignificant, on a giant planet. But, the planet is also small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. The world keeps going 'round... as a pale blue dot. I believe this was also the theme of the original Men in Black movie, where there's an entire universe on Orion's belt (Orion being the cat in the movie). Sorry if that's a spoiler.

    I read "Inhabiting this area until I die, this space is occupied" as a real neat way of saying "Leave me the f--- alone".

    I see this and raise you "Late at night I think about the love of this whole world. Lots of different people everywhere" by Ray's counterpart Brian Wilson.

    The rave-up brings to mind some of the rave-ups we heard in the first few albums... I'm thinking of Don't You Fret. I love how after the rave-up, things fall back into line in the groove of our little space.... we can get carried away at thinking of how insignificant we are... but... we still have some control over our little space, so let's settle into what we can control.

    All in all, the fat synth does give it an other-worldly sound. Not a huge fan of the shouty parts, I prefer Ray's vocals in the verses, with Dave behind him. Mick's drums are way up front. Almost like they turned the dial from 1 to 11 between Sleepwalker and Low Budget. Took me a few listens to get into this song. Now I find it to be in the upper half of the album for sure, if I was ranking.
  23. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Funny how we remember these things! :D I can rattle off a number of lending travesties…and can identify the culprits by name.
  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Yep, I know who has/had it... the bass player :)
  25. Brian x

    Brian x half-animate bean

    Los Angeles
    In a Space

    Call me a stoner, but you can always stir me up by talking about the fact that we're on some huge planet in an eternal universe, dwarfed by time and space, hopelessly mortal, with billions of people in the same condition all around us.

    & what really brings it home here is that, though Ray starts out sounding like he's joshing around with Stones riffs and synth farts and quasi-Cockney accents, by the time he gets to just how insanely, incomprehensibly ETERNAL everything is, and the drums & guitars thrash into full punk chaos, he accelerates from shouty/barky Ray to outright ANGUISHED SCREAMY FREAK OUT Ray. Billions into zillions, forever and forever!

    As sophomoric/stoner as it may be, when the Eternity Revelation hits, it can really spin a guy out.

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