The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    And as mentioned above, Bowie's 'Sound And Vision' from a year before that sounds in the ballpark:

  2. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Moving Pictures as disco music? It’s poppy but, (not that I’m an aficionado or anything), I don’t place this in that category.

    P.S. after reading Mark’s morning treatise I’m feeling guilty about tossing this asunder. Just a bit, though not enough to change my mind!
  3. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    Moving Pictures

    Okay, so now it’s my turn to say "this is my least favorite track on the album." This is mostly due to the style, especially for the intro through first verse. That sort of disco-blending-into-80s-pop thing just doesn't seem right to me in general, more so for a Kinks song.

    Lyrically, I think Ray has addressed these themes better in the past, even the very recent past.

    Oh, life can sometimes not be very nice
    Sounded better in Life Goes On as
    Life will hit you when you're unaware

    We live, we die no one knows why
    Sounded better in Education as
    No you can't tell me why I am

    Still a solid 3 star song, but one that never threatened to make an appearance in any of my playlists.
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  4. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Exactly ! That is why I tend to disagree with @mark winstanley who stated a week ago that Low Budget is no more dated than Village Green or Arthur were. For most of their late sixties/early seventies now acknowledged golden era, the Kinks were on their own little planet. They'd been trendsetters for a short while but then retreated in their own kinky world, deliberately out of time, almost out of reach. With Low Budget, they make everything possible to be of their time. In the last couple of weeks, we've been throwing names around every day, Ramones, Buzzcocks, Clash, Talking Heads, Patti Smith, now Bowie, Costello, Nick Lowe (!!!!! @ajsmith ! But of course!), XTC (and some of the older guard too) – and with good reason : this LP is devised as a 100% contemporary record. So yeah, it’s very much dated, much muuuch more so than anything they did before, because that’s the whole point they’ve decided to make and the whole turning point they've decided to take! A point, I should add, they took upon themselves to fiercely announce in the opening tune… I don't think they're trying to say “I’m punkier than Strummer” or "I can be better at disco than Moroder" or “anything those guys do I can do better” or even just mocking it. Well, there's admittedly always an element of that in anything Ray does… But this record sounds authentic to my ears, or should I say authentik, even though I generally like my Kinks more tuneful and melodic. Lesser tracks like the Gallon of Gas/Misery mini-suite are essential components of this authenticity : they're not contrived, we hear a band blasting heavy blues and straight rock'n roll away, with no particular refinement, stylistic distance or distinction, just as they are. I was hoping this deep dive would give me a better appreciation for this LP, and it did. I now see it as a cohesive work, not a thematic concept album but a musical one. It's the equivalent to records like REM’s Monster or Wilco’s Star Wars, other bands who at some point felt the need to amp up and (re)-enter the dance. No crass commercialism there either. For the Kinks, it was meant as a way to establish a new line up, to redefine their live act and to repurpose them as a contemporary touring band. To put them back in the thick of it, yeah. Mission accomplished…
  5. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Moving Pictures
    I find myself in agreement again with @Fortuleo. Since reacquainting myself with this album a couple of weeks ago I've probably played this song three times more than any other - and I never get tired of hearing it. I love the beat. I love the stuttering riff and swirling synth, which remind me of Fantastic Man which I posted a couple of days ago. I love the chorus, if that's what it is. I love the vocals too, especially the high, falsetto parts..."it's always moving" and "it sooooon fades away". And, as imperfect as the lyrics seem when subject to close examination (as @mark winstanley did so well in his intro) I still love them. While Ray is singing about life, I see a loose relation to some of his other songs about pictures (Picture Book and Celluloid Heroes) which were other takes on the life experience.
    I always enjoy reading Mark's song introduction but I had to highlight this wonderful comparison, which I'm determined to bring into everyday conversation one day :D
    I agree.
    And with that, I'm going to play Moving Pictures again and follow-up by singing to myself repeatedly that I'm a Fantastic Man.:righton:
  6. Martyj

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

    Maryland, USA
    No...although I love Breaking Glass. Strange. I never even made the connection!

    The one I'm thinking of might not even been an actual song from the charts. Could have even been incidental music in a movie. Or might not even been disco. I just don't know...all I remember is my reaction was I knew exactly where the music was going because I had heard it before.
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  7. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Great pick-up. As soon as I heard this song again the link clicked in the dark recesses of my mind.

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Salem, MA
    "Moving Pictures", as Avid Ajsmith (how are you doing?) pointed out, has a bit of the vibe of the Nick Lowe & Bowie songs which he posted. Very modern for its day. As for the lyrics, Ray is once again saying that life changes so much before your eyes that mere photos can capture a moment in time but not time itself. I wish that we could get together around a fire pit one night to discuss the meaning of these lyrics, as well as several other songs, helped along w/some beers :D

    As for Low Budget the album, there was a saying in the early 80s that went, "I'm Not Selling Out, I'm Buying In" (it was a title to a Swamp Dogg album). Low Budget is the sound of the Kinks finally buying in the rewards of the US market after the disasterious 1965 tour and those long and frequent slogs throughout the 70s. I think that Ray wanted at least some of the glory (and profits) that the Stones and the Who were receiving and he succeeded in Low Budget. It's a very solid album w/many stylistic changes w/a core of hard rock. Unlike VGPS, which is one of the most timeless albums ever made, Low Budget is of its time, but elements of its time keep popping up to the present.
    ajsmith, markelis, Smiler and 12 others like this.
  9. fspringer

    fspringer Forum Resident

    New York City
    Might sound strange, but I was also reminded of Rita Coolidge's cover of Jackie Wilson's "Higher and Higher":

  10. Brian Kelly

    Brian Kelly 1964-73 rock's best decade

    Moving Pictures
    This is the song I remembered least. All I could recall was the opening line. Someone said this had more of a modern (for the time) electro pop feel so I guess that may be why it stood out less for me. That's not really what I think of when I think of the Kinks. It's a competent track, but kind of a let down as a closing track to this album.

    This is probably my favorite post LOLA Kinks album. A nice combination of the classic Kinks with a late 70's touch. There are a lot of great songs on here. The only negative is that it doesn't finish too strongly. The last three songs are OK, but most of what came before it is much better. Still I consider this the best of a good bunch of albums from MISFITS through WORD OF MOUTH.
  11. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

  12. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Yea, I'm finding the disco references weird... Superman has some disco-ish bits, but seems to more be making fun of disco than anything.
    Moving Pictures, I don't hear it at all
  13. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    The drumming switches to a disco beat towards the end of the track, but that's about it.

    I don't think Superman is making fun of disco, if it was Dave might have liked it better.
  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

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  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    That's a fair call... it may be more accurate to say "making fun of Clive Davis wanting them to do disco"
  16. pantofis

    pantofis Senior Member

    Berlin, Germany
    Moving Pictures - A delightful and dreamy disco-flavoured track that closes the album on a positive note. One that I definitely enjoy and count as highlight on an otherwise quite spotty album.

    During the last week I've found out that i enjoy the idea of the Low Budget album more than actually listening to it. It is still an inviting album with that opener, the raw, un-processed guitars and the general sense of a refreshed band - compared to Misfits. For half of the tracks I do find myself switching off, but I don't get annoyed like on the last two records. I seem to hear that this time the band would work quicker and more organically as opposed to sweating the life out of every arrangement. Finally, this album achieves credibility in the field of New Wave, where other acts like Wings ("Back To The Egg") had considerable strain to do so.
  17. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Florence, SC
    You can read some of Ray's thoughts on Low Budget starting in the bottom right corner below. These are from the CD booklet included in the reconfigured Velvel 2000 reissue of the Come Dancing With The Kinks compilation of the Arista years.

  18. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Moving Pictures

    One more on my "failed endings" list. I don't warm up to this one at all. There must be something in the idea that Ray has of a closer that lines up with my notion of what filler sounds like. I might appreciate this song more if it was in the middle of a side, but as a closer it makes me feel I'm being let down.

    Low Budget

    I really discovered this album with this thread. I like every song on it except the last one.

    I love Mark's song title about life and society.
  19. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Florence, SC
    What's interesting about Ray's thoughts above is how he talks about the song itself Low Budget being pushed at radio in the US. In fact, it was a just the B-Side. But weirdly it was the B-Side to all three consecutive singles in the US released from the album! I don't know that I have ever seen that before. Two singles yes, but three?
    Must have been part of Clive's big plan.
  20. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Yea, that is odd.
    I should have noticed that
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  21. Brian Doherty

    Brian Doherty Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA
    I don't know any way to check my memories, but living in south florida that year and in my mind the title track was indeed a heavy rotation AOR hit. My brother also owned and loved the LP so SOME chance I'm conflating hearing it all the time on the radio and hearing my bro play it, but I don't think I remember EVERY song as a radio hit----just title track Superman and Catch Me Now, so I'm sort of trusting my memory on this. (MAYBE gallon of gas as well? It was a big gas crisis year.)
  22. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    In search of tomorrow’s track, I saw that it is on ‘Picture Book.’ While scanning the track list of the compilation I decided I’d compare whether the compiler and I are on similar wave lengths or not.

    RCAers: PB-18, Me-17, Shared 6
    Arista*: PB-11, Me-9, Shared 5

    Conclusion: quite a bit different in preferences
    *: to date
  23. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident

    Moving Pictures

    This is almost a reverse image of Celluloid Heroes, a Celluloid Heroes for those on the other side of the silver screen. It’s also a red herring for album detectives trying to suss out which say the band would go next. Who knows what would’ve happened had they gone the Pretenders or Squeeze route instead of the heavier side Ray chose. I do remember Ray saying he wanted the next studio album to be recorded as loudly as vinyl would permit, as if hearing the band from the fifteenth row. For better or worse, I think he achieved that.

    Moving Pictures is yet another Low Budget song movin’ on up for me. I’m not prepared to pound the table for it, but it is a dreamy, ephemeral ending to an abrasive album. Sure Talking Heads and B-52’s did New Wave better, but the Kinks were always out of step with their contemporaries, and not always a step ahead. The ‘Black girls, white girls, oh what a mixture’ line conjures up Mick Jagger singing, as it’s not a particularly Daviesian thing to say.

    As for Low Budget, it sure has reasserted itself in my brain pan. I can’t go ‘five stars’, I’m fluctuating between 31/2 and 4. How about two thumbs up!

    And @mark winstanley, it ain’t bollocks...thanks for that incredible opening...
  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I think Picture Book is more an outtakes and alternative mix/recordings set, than a compile
  25. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    "Moving Pictures"

    One of my top three tunes on the album along with "National Health" and "In A Space". Most likely the three weirdest or at least the most "new wave" tunes on the album. For some reason this song brings to mind The Cars. I keep thinking they also had a song called "Moving Pictures" but it must be "Moving In Stereo" I am thinking of. I like the smooth guitar groove and Ray's vocal. I don't necessarily hear it as a disco song, but I can picture the kids dancing to it on American Bandstand. This would have been the perfect song for them to perform on that show. It doesn't look like they were ever on it, but I did find an interview with Dave making an appearance in 1983.

    Low Budget

    This album has gone up in my estimation over the last month or two. In the past I was annoyed with this record. They sounded out of touch and trying too hard to make a late 70s rock record. Upon a closer look, I have discovered I love a few songs, and the rest don't bother me as much as before. I will go with a 50-60 percent success rate. It's among my three least favorite albums so far, but it would probably place higher than the debut and Sleepwalker. I will be super impressed if any upcoming album tops it. I highly doubt it, but I didn't expect Low Budget to go as well as it did.

    My top five songs:

    1. National Health
    2. In A Space
    3. Moving Pictures
    4. Pressure
    5. Superman

    I have already made myself a New Low Budget with the bonus songs. I replaced five songs with the five demos and kept seven songs from the album. It may not be as cohesive, but I find it a much stronger collection of songs. I didn't expect the demos to be so great!

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