The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Florence, SC
    Yes, the second half of the song has a couple of verses where it does this, it's a bar of 4 followed by a bar of 3 (the spots when the entire band accents all the eighth notes in unison, that's the bar of 3). You can count this as bars of 4 and 3 or as a bar of 7, it's the same thing, but if it's written on paper it's usually notated in the smaller increments for easier understanding.

    It seems A Little Bit Of Emotion is taking A Little Bit Of Abuse.

    The lyrics work for me, my only problem is the drums. I think this arrangement would have benefitted with a softer more sympathetic, jazzier drum part with some changes in cymbal work and subtle accents as opposed to the heavier plodding straight fours here, which is emblematic of the whole album. You know, a more Mick approach. But by this point, Ray is allowing the band less and less leeway to add their own touches to the songs and this will be getting worse as things move forward in the catalog. I don't blame Mick here, he's doing exactly what Ray wants him to do.
  2. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
  3. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    Today, I'll just let some of my fellow Avids speak for me:

  4. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Little Bit Of Emotion

    A nice track which somehow I could also imagine fitting into Think Visual.
    Anyways better than the accompaniment and vocal are the lyrics themselves which read very well on the page.
    Ray is great with deep truisms and I agree with Mark that many men go through troubled times and harden and hide themselves as a natural fallback default even if there's no deliberated thought behind it.
    Sometimes there is but just existing may be the only coping mechanism one may be able to manage at a given time.
    Ray speaks of giving oneself away through emotion or a reveal and it makes me think of his state of mind (particularly in the 60's) as at one time he said something akin to; "Don't let them find you out!"
    Mr Davies was sure to keep some emotional distance between himself and his band, management, industry colleagues and for all we know perhaps also his psychologists?
    I am also reminded of the line by Joni Mitchell in Both Sides Now of; "Don't Give Yourself Away!"
    Plus to a lesser extent Mick Jagger In Radio Control; "I stay out of range to survive!"
    It seems the human norm for those that have any hurt or suspicions as unlike a child we are no longer openly trusting and now see moreso what can be lost (instead of gained) by revealing our true selves.

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    When it comes to "A Little Bit of Emotion", I'm standing w/our Headmaster on this one. It stuck w/me from the first time I heard Low Budget and it's still my favorite song from it. It's probably the only song that has a bit of melody to it and the lyrics are classic Ray. To me, this song also introduces a new voice from Ray to join Shouty, Barky, etc. Ray. I'm going to call it Cutie Ray and it comes in full flower in the next album's "Art Lover".

    Also, Avid Steve62, thanks for posting that "Fantastic Man", which is a fantastic song.
  6. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Little Bit Of Emotion

    1. Not bothered by Ray's accent
    2. Not bothered by the sax
    3. Not bothered by the nod to Misfits

    Yet another song, and there have been many, that demonstrates Ray will never grow hungry providing ballads are required. The lyric here has many layers and can equally relate to the person pictured on the album's cover, those scared to open up in case too much is revealed, and people unable to relate to the world because of their vulnerabilities. Ray has written some great songs about the vulnerable in society, from the lonely man who steals a tin of beans, the woman suffering at the hands of a violent partner, and the person pretending their diary is full to avoid facing the awful truth about leading an empty life.

    So, yes, two thumbs up from me for this one. On my Kinks Greatest playlist.
  7. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Maplewood, NJ
    Little Bit of Emotion

    If this was written to order because Clive Davis (or someone else) wanted one ballad with some emotion for the album, well, Ray wrote and put together a beautiful song that does exactly that. My only nitpick is I don't like the straight drums. Boring and loud in the mix, overshadowing some of the backing vocals and the acoustic guitar and (tasteful) synth to fill the space a bit. In the last verse, that synth is extra deep huh?

    Ray's melody, particularly in the pre-chorus, is soaring and well sung. And there is Dave right there with the higher harmony.... echoing some of their songs from 1970-1971... I think the pre-chorus may be my favorite part?

    The "People learn their lines..." bridge of this song is great too, and the melody reminds me of one of my favorite songs from a few decades later -- the bridge from Warren Zevon's Keep Me In Your Heart (the bridge to that song starts a few seconds after this timed-link).

    Lyrically, that bridge lyric recalls "everybody's in movies, it doesn't matter who you are" and probably about a half-dozen other songs Ray has penned about how we are often just actors playing parts, hiding who we really are. Also makes me think of "Well ain't I human, like everybody else?" from Scum of the Earth. Perhaps this could have been called "A Flash of Emotion"?

    I don't mind the sax in this one. I don't mind the nod to Misfits.

    A nice ballad, placed well on the album to add a bit softer variety to an otherwise very rocking/new wavy/bluesy sounding album.
  8. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    "Little Bit Of Emotion"

    My first thought is that it's a lovely melody, but haven't we already heard it before? That's a bit of a problem because the song it resembles is superior. That's not even my main problem with the song though. Aside from the weird synth that makes an appearance, I dislike the production of this song. Is this around the time that Ray starts using an Ovation guitar? I don't like the acoustic or the electric guitar tones. Then we have the straightforward and boring drums, along with a sax solo straight out of a Billy Joel album. Somehow I don't really hear The Kinks on this song. It sounds more like a solo Ray song that would have been better placed as a B side somewhere. Maybe if they went with a weirder approach, a different arrangement, and featured the synth more, it would have more to offer. As it is, it's a song that says we have already been here and have done it better in the past.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2022
  9. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    All right, I accept the challenge. Will listen to ‘Misfits’ and ‘..Emotion’ back-to-back. To playlist or not to playlist; that is the question.
  10. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Little Bit Of Emotion

    One of my favorite tunes on the album, with the next one. I never noticed the similitudes with Misfits, because, well, I never noticed Misfits really. The verse do look very much alike at the beginning, but the pre-chorus and chorus are far superior, in my opinion. Misfits doesn't really have a chorus, actually. On this song, the repetition of I I/III IV V followed by I III7 vi IV V is an easy trick, but it works on me. And I agree with Avid @donstemple , the pre-chorus is my favorite part.

    To be perfectly frank, this song has long been a favorite of mine on a secondary album, that is, the best I could expect from a second-tier album. I'm beginning to change my views and am becoming more indulgent, as a formerly stern father becomes a doting grandfather, and I really like this song now, without an afterthought. What struck me at the time was the thin sound of the acoustic guitars, thinner than on other Kinks records, and I appreciate it as a special feature of this song. The bridge's first bar is my only complaint: I don't like this kind of plain descending chord pattern (should be something like IV iii ii I), anywhere. It feels like a deflating tire to me, or an untimely declining erection. The second part of the bridge is better. It starts as if it was going to resolve in the same way as the bridge (or chorus) of Salt of the Earth, and then it goes further up, it's weird.

    I really thought the straightforward unironic lyrics would draw a line between hostile native English speakers and enthusiastic foreign-language fans, but I got it all wrong (as is frequent). I'm not sure I would like a French version of this song...

    As for the UK accent, I would say that the topic is slightly more relevant in a British context if I was not afraid of betraying my love for cliché-fueled British-bashing once again.
  11. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Responding to myself (!, after 892 pages, what the hell…): I think it stands on its own. ‘Misfits’ is the superior song but ‘Little Bit Of Emotion’ remains a gem. It would sparkle a bit more without the sax (I wonder how a piano would sound instead?) but I certainly wasn’t bored listening back-to-back.

    Verdict: still on the playlist (song #3 from the album. Not too shabby for an album that I initially had framed as a disaster.)
  12. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    :D You make me laugh. But I understand the indulgence.
  13. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident

    The "People learn their lines..." bridge of this song is great too, and the melody reminds me of one of my favorite songs from a few decades later -- the bridge from Warren Zevon's Keep Me In Your Heart (the bridge to that song starts a few seconds after this timed-link).

    This entire post is brilliant @donstemple...I’m a big Zevon fan but never noticed that connection.
  14. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Oh no, no caning at all, are you kidding ? And a huge majority in favor has stood up and eloquently come to the rescue in the meantime, with many convincing arguments… I'm happy (even relieved) to see most hear an earnest song, here. Myself, I still feel meta-Ray has taken things a little bit too far.
    Two further comments : Misfits was not a forgotten song in 1979, it was the title track to the latest Kinks album to date, released just a year before. I don't see how it could be anything but deliberate. In the last year or so (;)…), we've been noting how often Ray quotes his own tunes (not talking lyrics here) to push a point across. Quoting Misfits in the sole ballad of an otherwise 100% hard rocking guitar record has to be a comment on its place in the LP itself. Like saying that perhaps the song doesn't fit the overall mood, but there's still a need for tenderness and feeling, somewhere, somehow.
    Which leads me to my second comment, inspired by the praise and genuine emotion of some posts, a completely different interpretation's started to take shape. Could the song be (at least in part) about the harder rock acts the LP takes inspiration from (and the piss at, sometimes) ? They have "hatred in their eyes", but it's just a cover up. They put on a "heavy front", but their heaviness is an "illusion of heaviness". We have three "heavy" or "heaviness" in those lyrics! Those are rock'n roll terms… So maybe Ray's saying that all those aggressive hard rockers and punks are afraid to express their softer side (like Ray himself when he started out), afraid to show tenderness, emotion and to "come out" (this for @Martyj ?). Then the lady would illustrate the same analogy as the art work (the girl and the band both selling themselves cheap to the customer). Not sure about the looney yet, but he could be the opposite of counterfeit rock stars, shut out because he only knows real emotions and has no act, no front and no stance whatsoever.
  15. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    I just listened to Misfits and Little Bit of Emotion back to back, following the tunes with my guitar (tuned up right, for once). The verses really start with the same chords, same rythm, same melody. But I still don't hear them the same way, for some reason. Little Bit of Emotion doesn't dwell on these three chords, it gets more development. Musically, Misfits might sound like an early stage Little Bit of Emotion. Misfits' bridge is good, though, probably better than Emotion's. I still love the latter song and barely like the former.

    However, Lord, what a great sound this Misfits album has. Low Budget's is not so bad, even good by Kinks' standards (that is, pretty low standards), but it's still far behind.
  16. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I actually thought it may be Ray giving Misfits more definition.
    Look around the Misfits are everywhere ... and now here is why..

    Something like that....
    In spite of the, to me, minor similarities, I see them a related, but quite different
  17. Brian x

    Brian x half-animate bean

    Los Angeles
    Little Bit of Emotion

    We all read lines, we all act a part...

    Yeah, he's so uncoordinated/Yeah, and so disorientated...

    Liking the song more than @Fortuleo, but definitely also picking up the self-referential bits, from Starmaker and Jack the Idiot Dunce to "disgrace," "outer space," and the musical/stylistic quotations from Misfits & other ballads.

    Maybe because RD's summing up a lot of what he's been singing about for years?

    We start with a typical overview -- a crowd -- humanity -- and everyone's enraged because they're so terrified of exposing themselves. Then we zoom in for a tight shot -- a beautiful miniature of a misfit who'll expose everything, to anyone... but with every piece of clothing she takes off, she's forced to wall off more and more of her true self. Then we cut to the looney, a misfit who isn't intimidated by his true emotional nature -- but we suddenly pull back out to the overview, the crowd from the beginning -- us, humanity -- walking away from the one person among us who's brave or foolish or uninhibited enough to be himself. Beautiful.

    Side note: I too was sort of bugged by Ray's accent on the chorus until I remembered Look a Little on the Sunnyside, with a similar pronunciation of *little.* I've always felt that Ray was barely concealing overwhelming feelings of betrayal and misery in that song with a grit-teeth parody of optimism... Maybe he's sort of protecting himself a little bit here, too, in the chorus, either consciously or subconsciously? It would be ironic -- singing this directly about how scared we all are to expose our true selves forces Ray to hide behind one of his many showman's disguises....
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2022
  18. sharedon

    sharedon Forum Zonophone

    Boomer OK
    We all read lines…. Or as Ray put it in Shangri La:

    The neighbors call to tell you things that you should know
    They say their lines, they drink their tea, and then they go
    They tell your business in another Shangri-La.
  19. Rockford & Roll

    Rockford & Roll Forum Resident

    Midway, KY
    Having a big rain day here so I'm ducking in to touch on these last two tracks:

    In a Space - More rockin' Kinks and I like it. It's not a standout for me but it's a solid song and not filler. Ray widens his lens and gets a bit philosophical for a commercial rock affair. I get the Stones references. The bass caught my ear and it sounds like Foghat when they went new wave.

    Little Bit of Emotion - Right up there with "positive thinking Ray" is "empathetic Ray" for me! I love his little character sketches and I am reminded that this is a timeless message. Van Morrison's Village Idiot came to mind when he gets to the "looney" verse. It's a beautiful melody, Ray's vocals are delicate and sweet and some nice shadings of guitar. The sax does seem a bit clunky ( I call that sax the SNL sax that seemed to be ubiquitous in that era), maybe strings would have been better or some nice understated piano? This is fine ballad and a nice change of pace on the album.
  20. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    It is the same, he's doing a London glottal stop thing. It's used to more or less comic effect on "Look a Little..." but, in the middle of this heartfelt ballad, it's hard for me to work out what Ray was aiming for, it sounds too light-hearted and jokey. I don't know, maybe he was just trying to avoid that Transatlantic pronunciation of "little" as "liddle".
  21. side3

    side3 Younger Than Yesterday

    Tulsa, OK
    Little Bit of Emotion

    I like this one quote a bit. I can't put my finger on it, but it does sound like a Kinks throw back (excluding the sax).
  22. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly 1964-73 rock's best decade

    A Little Bit Of Emotion
    This is one of my favorite songs on the album. I like it when Ray does these tender types of songs. The lyrics are really good and I think the combination of music, lyrics, and vocals work very well here.
    Not quite Waterloo Sunset, Days, Celluloid Heroes territory, but not far off of it either!
  23. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Little Bit of Emotion
    This one is really growing on me. It shows the sensitive side of our Ray. And his feeling towards misfits...or just humans in general. It's very touching. I think he's saying if we all can be more real towards our fellow humans, it would go a long way. We're all playing roles, aren't we? Do we really need to do that? what would happen if we didn't? Could we even handle full emotion each and every day from anyone we may meet? It's an interesting perspective.

    I do really like the soft sound here and when Dave comes in with his vocals, it's lovely. I think Ray overdoes it with the cockney accent. It takes away from the emotion of it by almost being "silly".

    My big problem with the song is when we hit:
    Look at that looney
    With a smile on his face

    There's a horrible sound there. I guess it's a synth? Whatever the hell it is, it sounds horrendous in my headphones. I feel like something is going wrong on my computer.

    So overall, I do think that it's a emotional song with ideas to ponder, but has some issues.
  24. Endicott

    Endicott Forum Resident

    Little Bit of Emotion

    A nice, pleasing ballad, the only one on the album. Not a transcendent one like, say, "Get Back In Line", but a good chance to catch one's breath after the full-frontal rock assaults that have preceded it up to now. It's a cousin of "Misfits", down to the "loonie" reference, but it still stands on its own, and anyway there's a future song on a future album that is more of a musical fraternal twin to that song. The sax works well, and (as in "Misfits") the bridge is the tune's highlight. Dave's guitar in a couple of stretches sounds like Mark Knopfler. Another of the album's plusses.
  25. Luckless Pedestrian

    Luckless Pedestrian Forum Resident

    New Hampshire, USA
    Love William Onyeabor! Fantastic Man is my favorite song of his, great choice!

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