The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Location:
    Maplewood, NJ
    None taken! :righton: I think I am biased against it because from my childhood, I think I remember the version of that song by Alvin & the Chipmunks.
     
  2. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Alvin & the Chipmunks left a mark on many of us. lol
     
  3. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cape May, NJ
    In A Space

    Starts with the Stones fake out complete with harmonica and then we get Ray musing about space. Only the Kinks, only the Kinks. There is a lot going on here: Ray singing in various Ray voices, great back-up vocals, new wavey synths, and an ever so slight disco enhanced backbeat. I particularly love when Ray just goes off the rails vocally building up and then after the "billions into trillions" line he can't even articulate the immenseness he is trying to describe. This is not character-driven quirky Kinks like the Misfits tracks but subject-driven Kinks quirk.

    In A Space is a winner all the way.
     
  4. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cape May, NJ
    Little Bit of Emotion

    The drums don't bother me at all. I think they add some needed oomph to the track. Ray really takes a simple subject and drills down into the bones of the matter. Misfits are the ones Ray identifies with and here he sings tenderly about the misfits we ignore, laugh at, or degrade but also he wraps it all in a commentary about how emotionless we are and even further the walls we build around ourselves (including heaviness) to protect ourselves instead of allowing the emotions through. It's a beautiful song. I enjoy the sax into guitar solo. There is a lot wisdom in this song. Simple wisdom but wisdom nonetheless. I can imagine the Tramp character singing this one.
     
  5. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    Avid Markelis this is as good a time as any for you to tell us the saga of your father's '76 Corvette that you promised to tell us.
     
  6. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    I'm not feeling that much better, but taking one day at a time: thanks to everyone on the thread who posted messages of support in response to to my mention of my troubles on here: seems a bit self indulgent of me in some ways, but I guess I made the admission to reflect how this thread is such a genuine community that I do feel able to share some more personal stuff on it. To tie this back into the primary focus of the thread, I got a book called 'Overcome Depression' out of the library yesterday, and look who's mentioned on page 19:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2022
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  7. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    No mate. Communicating how you feel should never be viewed as self indulgent. I would doubt anyone is perturbed you did, and I am sure most if not all would wish you a speedy recovery/recalibration.
     
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  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Misery.

    stereo mix, recorded 20-30 May, 1979 (backing track), early Jun 1979 (vocals) at Power Station, New York (backing track), Blue Rock Studios, New York (vocals)

    Misery
    I know you got troubles but you don't have to spread it about
    Misery
    You moan and you groan but all of that I can live without
    Well
    Until you stop worrying about yourself
    You'll never get anywhere with me
    I'll still be hanging in there but you're still a misery

    Until you learn to laugh you'll never come to any parties at my house
    My house
    And if you go on like this the only house you'll ever visit is the nut house
    Nut house

    You're such a misery, why don't you learn to laugh
    Look in the mirror and
    Don't take yourself so seriously

    Well
    Dollar bills could fall from the sky
    But still you wouldn't be satisfied
    But I'm not going to let you depress me

    Until you learn to laugh you'll never come to any parties at my house
    My house
    And if you go on like this the only house you'll ever visit is the nut house
    Nut house

    You're such a misery, why don't you learn to laugh
    Look in the mirror and
    Don't take yourself so seriously
    Ah ah ah ah

    Misery
    You're only happy when you're feeling totally down
    Misery
    I only ever see you when your chin's hanging on the ground
    Well
    Until you learn to laugh at yourself
    You'll never get anywhere with me
    I'm down but I'm still happy but
    You're such a misery, well
    You're such a misery, well
    You're such a misery

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

    I get the impression this isn't a very popular song among most.... and I guess it is going to come down to being a dis song, to some degree or another....
    It probably is the weakest song on the album, in some ways, but if it is, that merely shows how strong this album is, for me at least.....

    Look, I know it isn't nice to hit people with things like this, but I know/have known people like this, and even if they are people I love, it is still annoying...
    This isn't someone that's depressed, or someone that is going through a bad time and needs some help/love/whatever....
    This is that person that spends every moment of their life raking through the flowers to find weeds to complain about. The person who no matter what is happening will find a way to make it seem like everything in their life is worse than everybody else. The kind of person who would say to a cancer patient "yea, but you have no idea how bad my day has been, and how hard my life is" .... the kind of person that doesn't take the lemons and make lemonade, but the person that will concentrate the citric acid into some kind of assault weapon to ruin everyone's day around them.... it seems like their only objective is to make people miserable ... Having experienced this a fair bit, from quite a few people I have had in my life, I can totally see the perspective Ray is putting forward.
    So to me this isn't just a pointless dis song, but yet another observationally astute lyric from Ray .... and perhaps there is a little bit of himself in this, I don't know Ray the person, and can only go by what people have posted here ...
    I can't read the books, because a) I'm not sure I want to know and b) I pretty much can't read books anymore, because I just end up falling asleep lol.... which is really disappointing because I actually love reading books.... I actually bought myself three biography/autobiography books about two years ago, to read on vacation, because they were people I was extremely interested in.... but alas, I fell asleep every time ... and I couldn't get myself engaged.... It is really annoying lol

    So lyrically I can totally relate to this song, even though I am not generally going to address folks about this in such a direct manner, unless pushed.

    Musically, this track again makes me think of a Status Quo type track. Ray dresses it up a little more than Quo usually do.

    At about the 50 second mark, we get "Look In The Mirror and don't take yourself so seriously"... and that "Don't Take Yourself So ...." vocal really reminds me of someone, but it isn't coming to mind.... So for all you vocal timbre and phrasing experts, remind my forgetful head who it is please :)

    I guess this could be dismissed as a bit of a throwaway musically, as it is an upbeat rock and roll track, that has a sort of party time kind of feel, while being contrary in its lyrics.
    I actually think we have some really nice change ups that brings some cool melodic phrasing in the vocals.
    Again Dave delivers some nice lead work and I can't dislike the track.

    I love the little time change and piano break before the ahhh, ahhh, ahhh section. It actually makes me think of Zappa, but I can't quite place it. ... Something off Joe's Garage (Sept 79) or Sheik Yerbouti (March 79) I think... Dancin' Fool? ... anyway

    For all the things I could say to dismiss this song, I actually like it. I think it is placed really well on the album, and that's one of the other features of this album for me, it's excellent sequencing. I personally find this album works really well from front to back.

     
  9. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Misery"

    I like this one. It's a throwaway, good-time rockin' tune, but it's also a tightly-structured song. It sounds like a one-take effort played live in the studio with the performance becoming more ragged as it goes along, but the song is solid enough to stand up. There's nothing out of the ordinary about the structure and the chord sequences, but it has plenty of forward momentum, and the bridge section keeps it interesting.

    I wonder what a party at Ray's house would be like??
     
  10. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    "Misery" - the thing I like about it is it is revved-up rock n roll. But I don't think it is a particularly good song - it is pretty repetitive and save for the line about the person's chin dragging on the ground, I don't think the lyrics are particularly cutting or, dare I say, interesting (usually I find Ray's lyrics interesting). At least, it doesn't go on that long but when it's over, it is hard to find much memorable about this song. But the Kinks were on a schedule - their record company expected product yearly so "Misery" is probably an example of a song that was recorded because the band needed to put another album out. "Misery" did not end up in the Kinks show. The Stones did this with songs like "Short And Curlies". Probably not their best material but they recorded it because they had an album to finish - they never played it live. "Misery" fits with the times - revved-up rock n roll was in at the time especially in England.
     
  11. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Did they know they borrowed a Beatles song title ? And did they do the Twist & Shout ah/ah/ah's because of that ? On a song like this one, the band almost sounds like on rehearsal. I like the stop & go /call & response things, always fantastic gimmicks. You get the swagger, the straight on energy, but to call it "raw" would be an understatement, it's on the verge of collapsing at any moment!! I think Ray's on keys and he's no John (Elton or Gosling)… but they do sound like they're having the time of their lives. More them than us, perhaps, but there's something endearingly defiant in how it doesn't seem to bother them in the slightest!
     
  12. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Having just read those lyrics I'm pretty sure Ray is, at least partly, singing about himself.
     
  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    That wouldn't surprise me at all
     
  14. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    What was it one of his uncles called him, "That miserable little bleeder"?
     
  15. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Misery:
    A good-timey throw away, about-as-far-away-from-The Kinks-as-can-be song. There’s times I think of Elton John, The Band and everything else under the rock’n’roll sun. (And then, for some reason, I find myself segueing into ‘Life On The Road’ in my mind.)

    7-0-3 as this one is firmly in the couldn’t-really-care-less-but-it’s-okay, I’m indifferent, camp.
     
  16. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    I would say, one of The Band's vocalists, but I'm not so good at telling them apart. I would go for Rick Danko. Or Levon Helm ? This the part that is the most evocative of The Band to me - as this song generally is. It starts like a Rolling Stones tune by Keith Richards, and carries on as a Band tune, unfortunately with Manuel on drums (as, in my opinion, he's not the best of The Band's 2 drummers).

    This is a tune I didn't even remember existed. Had someone mentionned a Kinks tune of that title on Low Budget, I would have sworn he were imagining things. But I actually like it a lot. My main issue with it is the one I just alluded to : the drumming seems a little behind, as if Avory was trying to slow the band down, to have them keep the tempo. In fact, this song had a strange effect on me. I always dismissed Charlie Watts as a sympathetic but uninteresting drummer, and I suddenly found myself regretting he was not playing on this song instead of Avory. Which means there must be things in his style that I finally caught on.

    Good Beatles catch by Avid @Fortuleo, since Misery is even on the same album as Twist & Shout.
     
  17. Rockford & Roll

    Rockford & Roll Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midway, KY
    It's wonderful to hear from you @ajsmith. Thanks for sharing this find. I always look forward to your contributions on here.
     
  18. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    Great company !

    The trivial fact that we only have to live one second at a time is a great consolation, when one comes to think of it.
     
  19. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    To avoid being too negative I'll just say that, other than some nice piano flourishes, Misery doesn't do a lot for me!
     
  20. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Good call. I'm pretty sure that's it. Cheers
     
  21. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Yep, Danko is the one.
     
  22. Luckless Pedestrian

    Luckless Pedestrian Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    Yes a Danko warble is what I hear during this excellent bridge! I’ve been waiting to mention this all week but the late man was early ;).
     
  23. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    Sorry! So did I! And when I read Mark's question I was all frantic on my chair with my left hand pushing my right arm up in the sky and yelling "Me sir me sir!"

    And I had it only partly right at that.
     
  24. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    Misery

    I really like this song.
    I agree it's not some upbeat hard rockin' fun.
    I disagree that it's a throwaway. What makes this song a powerful keeper is that, if we're honest, it's a message a lot of people need to hear.
    The only possibly negative thing I can say about it is that it's kind of a rehash of 'Attitude.' Both great songs, but kind of redundant on the same album.
     
  25. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly 1964-73 rock's best decade

    Misery
    I only vaguely remembered this song. The opening Chuck Berry riff is cool. The next part is fairly basic (explaining my lack of memory of the song somewhat), but then there is an energetic guitar solo, the piano part, and the "Twist And Shot" vocals and all in all this becomes a decent album track.
     

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