The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    See The Beast.

    stereo mix (3:56), recorded Oct 1979 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    See the beast,
    Got such a hold on you,
    Every way you turn,
    But don't hang around now,
    It's too late for politics to save you.
    It's funny can't you see the dream,
    Just hold it tenderly in your hand.

    Chorus
    For you,
    For you to see you through the night.
    For you,
    For you to light your weary path.
    Don't let him,
    No, no, no,
    Tell you that everything is wrong.
    Don't let him,
    No, no, no,
    It's just his way to keep you lost.

    See the beast,
    Suddenly I noticed we were going nowhere.
    But hold on though there is cold around you
    brother,
    It won't last.
    It's funny can't you see the dream,
    Just hold it tenderly your hand and let
    it go.
    Don't let him break your heart,
    He'll tear your soul apart,
    Believe.

    Chorus
    For you,
    For you to see through the night.
    For you,
    For you to see the wrong from the right.

    See the beast,
    Got such a hold on you,
    Every way you turn,
    But don't hang around now.
    It's too late for politics to save you.

    Chorus
    Don't let him,
    No, no, no,
    Tell you that everything is wrong.
    Don't let him,
    No, no, no,
    It's just his way to keep you lost.

    Written by: Dave Davies
    Published by: DABE Music Limited, London, 1980

    This is an interesting lyric in many ways... whether Dave is singing to the idea of the Devil, or something he sees in society as representing something along those lines, I don't know, but thematically that's the angle he seems to be taking here.

    Anyway, there is this "beast" ... whether satan, drugs, big business, or whatever Dave's point of perspective is here, and Dave believes it has a hold on you, in every way.
    It's too late for politics... your perspectives/opinions/ideology? ... to save you.
    Can't you see the dream .... Seems to be looking at the idea of some form of nirvana/utopia .... some idealist version of society to grasp onto...
    but
    hold it tenderly in your hand. Don't clutch it too tightly, because it is too fragile a concept for that to work.

    The chorus leans towards a guiding light of some distinction. Something to guide you through the night of the world. Something to light your path.
    but beware because this beast is going to whisper lies into your ear, to keep your distracted, and to leave you lost.
    Trying to lead you astray, remove your confidence, and lead you in the wrong direction.

    The second verse seems to be leaning towards the idea that, ok, life will be tough, cold, or whatever at times, but don't let that leave you prey to this beast that will use that misfortune/inconvenience as a trigger to take you in the wrong direction.
    The only way out is through.

    That is about all we have lyrically. In many ways it is a deep subject, although handled in a typically unusual Dave way.
    To be honest, following this theme, if it was a little more focused, one would think Dave was singing a lyric of Christian warning. Don't let the trials of life lead you to the dark side. Endure them with confidence in the truth.... that kind of thing ... but Dave is so unusual in the way he seems to think and how he seems to lyrically express himself, that it is generally pretty difficult to grasp exactly what he is trying to say.

    Again musically Dave does a good job here. We get a guitar arpeggio arrangement to get us into the song, and it is pushed up into the main body of the song with the drums accenting a beat up into the body of the song.

    We power in at that point with a short burst of power chords and some lead guitar.
    Then the intensity eases back a little, and Dave uses a technique of the lead guitar playing the vocal melody along with the lead vocal of the first verse.
    The bass also seems to follow this pattern.

    Then we get some faux-reggae/ska strumming that leads us into another section where Dave uses harmonised lead lines as chords, with a bit of rock lead, used as an accent.
    It is actually a really well arranged section.

    We've had this debate about the part the guitar plays on this album, and I suppose from my perspective the reason I don't really hear the guitar as particularly wanky, or however we want to describe it, is the fact that the majority of the guitar I'm hearing has nothing to do with being flashy lead breaks or anything, but actually organised written parts that are part of, or substituting for chordal sections.
    It's actually a form of writing that I enjoy and has more roots in prog arrangements than shredder music.
    Anyway, that is what it seems like to me.
    Dave certainly has layers of guitar in these songs, but it is more of a primitive Brian May style of writing that is using the various techniques of the guitar as a textural device that is creating chords and countermelodies in its structure..... rather than just some wild lead break that rips up the fretboard.

    Again Dave creates some good melodies and we again get some nice chord progressions that give the song some nice melodic movement , particularly in that pre-chorus section (the reggae/ska section)

    Dave repeats these section a couple of times and then the third time we get a break down that gives us a highlighted power chord section, and underneath we have some actual lead break style guitar. This leads into another chorus.
    Then we get a melodic lead guitar, with a really nice tone mimicking the chorus vocal and then rising to a crescendo, and we move to a nice rhythmic chordal thing to close out the song.

    The more I listen to these songs, the more musical sense they make. The tones and textures of the era lend the sound to leave the first impression that this is not a very diverse selection of songs, but when you actually get underneath the skin of these songs, they are musically quite diverse, but structurally they follow similar sets of rules or guidelines, and that leaves the illusion that we are in one zone.

    Anyway, another track that I like ... it is different and unusual, but melodic and well put together.

     
  2. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Imaginations Real.

    stereo mix (3:53), recorded Jan-Feb 1980 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    Voices across all the nation,
    Echo in my mind.
    In the streets,
    In the factories,
    In the towns.
    Living out what imagination made real.
    Got to leave the old world behind,
    Use a fantasy,
    Imagination is real.

    Chorus
    I'm so much in love,
    I can't explain,
    Imaginations real.
    Build your dreams,
    And make them strong,
    lmaginations real.
    Imaginations real,
    Imaginations real,
    Imaginations real,
    Imaginations real.

    No solution,
    Hatred,
    Fear of what's to come.
    Don't cry,
    Can't you feel it inside,
    Can't you see it's the only way it can be.
    For our past has left us alone,
    With a cold reality,
    Imagination made real.

    Chorus
    If you use a dream
    To change a mind,
    Then imaginations real.
    Think with your heart,
    And you will see,
    Imaginations real,
    Imaginations real,
    Imaginations real,
    Imaginations real.

    Written by: Dave Davies
    Published by: DABE Music Limited, London, 1980

    This is a sort of ode to the driving force that imagination can be.
    Someone imagined a car, and we got one. Someone imagined fly machines, and we eventually got one, but here of course Dave is more leaning towards the idea of reimagining society, as best as we can ever tell with Dave.

    Voices across all the nation,
    Echo in my mind.
    In the streets,
    In the factories,
    In the towns.
    Dave can hear the voices of people all across the country, through their lives
    Living out what imagination made real.
    Got to leave the old world behind,
    Use a fantasy,
    Imagination is real.
    I can't pinpoint this exactly, but we have this idea that these people are living out the reality that someone else's imagination introduced into the world

    The chorus gets even more obtuse by opening with I'm so much in love, I can't explain... but perhaps he is referring to being in love with the ideas being put forth.
    But Dave wants us to know that imagination is real, and it is important..... and I have no problem with that... I think the imagination is one of our most important tools in dealing with the world and life in such a way as to stay relatively sane.

    The second verse is so obtuse that I am not sure I can even try to break it down....
    It sort of seems to present some of the issues with the world and the people in it, and then goes on to tell us that time moves on quickly, as our past has left us alone, and it's important to retain your imagination.
    Or something like that.

    The next chorus starts off with "If you use a dream to change a life, then imaginations real"...
    So to some degree it seems that this song is encouraging us to use our imaginations to manifest ideas that are helpful to those around us in some way, or various ways... and I have no problem with that.

    This is a pleasant easy going song, and we open up with a nice chord progression. That is then joined by a very cool series of layered guitars, that again are presenting the melody, and harmonising and just generally colouring the aural picture in a structural way.

    We have what sounds like a key change into the first verse, and we get an almost whispered Dave vocal. He seems to be going for the sweet soothing vocal here, rather than the razorblades on silk kind of thing.

    In the background we get some falsetto Dave giving us an "oooo" backing to sit on top of.

    It appears that Doing The Best For You and this track were the two singles from the album. The first release in the US and UK, and the second released in the US and Spain.
    This seems like a sensible choice for a single in many ways, as it is fairly easy going on pleasant. Dave isn't in his yelling zone, and we have a light and sort of breazy kind of song that is based on pleasant melodic themes.

    This is a good song that pleasantly glides along, adding another texture to the album.

     
  3. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "See The Beast"

    This is a pretty good song, and I like a lot of the guitar work on it, particularly that off-key chiming riff between the verses. However, this is the point where Dave's stratospheric screaming becomes a bit off-putting - the "don't let him" line sounds particularly painful, and that ends up being my abiding memory of the track despite the other bits I like about it.

    "Imaginations Real"

    Thankfully no screaming on this one, a pleasant, more easy-to-listen-to track. I think the chorus is perhaps a bit weak, and the lyrics are well into Jon Anderson territory, but Dave finds a better way to sing the high notes on this one and it leaves a much better residual impression. I particularly like the little solo at the end and the way the fade goes off in a different direction.
     
  4. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    My point, exactly!

    See the Beast I don’t know, Lawrence/Trevisick are back on the rhythm section, I don't care much for whatever they bring to the party (especially the drums, proficient as they might be). Overall, it’s just bland noise to my ears, I can’t make out the song at all, after four focused listens. My bad, my loss, I guess… I think what bothers me on some of this LP is not the "wank" factor (quite an unfair comment) but the fact Dave often sounds like he’s trying to display the whole palette of guitar sounds and effects of the era. On the Kinks records (even the arena ones), he’s his own man, a distinctive instrumental force who never stopped evolving but rarely aped the contemporary sounds. Here, I'm not able to break it down but there seems to be quite a few guitar tracks intertwined and I reckon @Mark's depiction of how it creates layers of textures is spot on, but his own stamp as a player gets a bit lost (to me) in the proceedings. But he’s still doing a real guitar masterclass (even his voice sounds like a screaming guitar in places!!! :p), and I guess it's impressive in itself.
    So Imaginations real was one of the singles ? A very nice choice, but one has to wonder why both singles were slower more melodic/moody songs, whereas the LP was full of hard (screaming) rockers. Anyway, my own confort zone tends to be mid-tempo ballads with bittersweet melodies, so this is right up my alley. I like the undistorted crisp guitar, a bit similar to what McGuinn did on some of the McGuinn, Clark & Hillman material around the same time, especially on some of the Gene Clark tunes. It’s the kinksiest song so far or rather, in my opinion, the one that could’ve fitted in any eighties Kinks record and make it better.

    Sorry to hear about the health issue, @pablo fanques, but glad that it shouldn't be permanent. And thanks to @DISKOJOE to check up on everyone, it makes the thread more "real" and consistently intimate, which adds even more personal value to a beautiful musical adventure.
     
  5. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    :D Yes, and it means I was able to get all the way through the song. This is my pick of today’s songs. It’s well put together though I don’t think it’s particularly memorable.
     
  6. Martyj

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

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    First time I saw the Kinks in concert the Dave song spotlight was given over not to a Kinks song but to back-to-back renderings of “Imaginations Real” and “Doing the Best For You.” Wanting to hear Kinks songs, I felt a bit gypped at the time, especially since I didn’t know either tune. But the whole band participated. Even Ray, dutifully fulfilling his chores on guitar as a sideman. At the conclusion of one of the songs—can’t remember which—there was a brief, pointless pyrotechnic effect meant to enhance the experience. It took the whole audience aback. A few gasped. It was very much out of left field. Leaping flames on stage seemed very out of character for a Kinks show, and I wondered if it was a once time experiment, as I saw the band two weeks later and both Dave songs and the pyrotechnics had been removed.

    “Imaginations Real” is the only song on this disc that feels like it would fit on a Kinks record. I know that’s not the point of AFL-1-3036 but that’s nonetheless how I came to judge everything on this record. I consider it probably Dave best non-Kinks related solo track. It worked well on his Live at the Bottom Line LP. I like it.
     
  7. fspringer

    fspringer Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    Imagination Real: Maybe the only Dave Davies solo track I'll comment on! This was being played on FM radio at the time. I'm not sure how I heard this song and didn't buy the album. I think even at that point I understood that "Dave Davies" and "The Kinks" were far from the same entity. The occasional Dave track on a Kinks album, sure, why not. A whole album? I remember liking this song quite a bit when hearing it and think it would have been a wonderful addition (respite?) on Give the People.

    I wouldn't hear Dave's solo albums until college in the mid-80s, when I spent a night in a friend's dorm room and he broke them out. I can't tell you how relieved I was that I hadn't spent money on them! I don't know what it is about so much of his solo work - the lyrics, the odd arrangements and directions songs take - but it just doesn't work for me. I'll always love his voice and lead guitar - they're integral to The Kinks' sound no matter where the band was musically. But these albums inhabit roughly the same space for me as John Entwistle solo albums.
     
  8. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Dave was still playing 'Imaginations Real' live in the early days of his post Kinks solo career, here's the 1997 Bottom Line version:
     
  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    That's a good comparison.

    I like Entwistle's solo albums well enough, having heard the tracks on the Who thread, but not enough to buy
     
  10. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    "A primitive Brian May" (copyright @mark winstanley) is a great way to characterize Dave's playing on the album, indeed !
     
  11. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    "Imagination's Real" is the real standout of Dave's solo output from this time. Plenty of melody, hooks and his voice is OK, maybe this should have been the "Dave" song on Give The People What They Want. It may not be a "Death of a Clown" or even a "Creeping Jean", but it'll do for its time.

    Also, thanks for your kind words, Avid Fortuelo. I appreciate it very much.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2022
  12. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident

    Location:
    Manhattan
    See the Beast

    Musically I find little to dislike here; it’s the lyrical potpourri that detracts from my enjoyment. I tend to simply disengage from the lyrics on this one. Now, you can be snide and say the best part of every song on this collection is when it ends. But I look forward to each conclusion because Dave whips up one fantastic guitar outro after another on about every one. So detractors, hang on, the end is always near.

    Imaginations Real

    Dave shows some restraint on this semi-lovely ode to not only following your dreams, but employing them. After the seven banshee wails this track follows it’s almost like Dave whispers this vocal, and it’s quite warm to the ear. Maybe Dave’s best drumming, too. You can see why this was chosen for a single and also why it failed to chart.
    Someone mentioned Dave reading Aleister Crowley and he has but didn’t care much for him. Swimming around Dave’s head around this time we’re Hatha Yoga by Theos Bernard, Raja Yoga by Swami Vivikeneda, and The Middle Pillar by Israel Regardie, who once was Crowley’s secretary. These three books would go on to have a profound influence on the themes and lyrics of this and future Dave albums. And we mustn’t forget the Aetherius Society, which is a whole other ball of wax. But we’ll save that for when we approach Chosen People.
     
  13. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Location:
    Maplewood, NJ
    See the Beast
    I like the riff playing with the vocal in the verse, and I like the change-up in the guitar tone during the pre-chorus. Dave again has some odd choices in phrasing and placing his syllables seemingly between lines of the verse... Overall though, seems like a well put-together song. But this is not my preferred style of music.

    Imaginations Real
    Good song, and I think Dave and Mr. Big Man made the right decision on marketing this as a single. It is accessible, clear to understand, got a good melody, good guitar tone that as parts reminds of his Knopfler style of playing. Dave's vocals are great and right in his wheelhouse. The lyrics are short and sweet, without those extra words that Dave often likes to throw in there.

    The song sends a pretty good message, too. If we can imagine new and better things, we do have some power to make that a reality. We don't have complete power, but we can help shape things to bring them closer to reality. How do we shape things? We start by changing some minds... so I think this is a key lyric: "If you use a dream to change a mind, then imaginations real". I can see how that is sorta naïve dreaming, but on some level I think the more people hoping for a bright future and trying to make a small difference in your little worlds... it can add up to make a difference. Perhaps not changing the world, but changing your world a bit.
     
  14. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    See the Beast
    Another song where Dave's vocal ambition exceeds his capability to deliver. But I can overlook that here as I'm really enjoying how guitar driven this album is (being, of course, that it's Dave's guitar doing the driving).

    Imaginations Real
    Very nice change of pace, and not a moment too soon. Definitely ready for throttling back the vocals at this point. And while the guitar isn't as in your face, it's still the underlying core of the song.
     
  15. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    That should read "Jimmy's" stature!
    Which again after typing that spellchecker changes it to Mommy's!!!!
    Who invents this #$@%^&* junk?
     
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  16. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    I thought that "Mommy" was your nickname for Jimmy Page! :laugh:
     
    Wondergirl, The late man, ARL and 5 others like this.
  17. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Lol
     
    Wondergirl, The late man and DISKOJOE like this.
  18. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    :D So did I (but I decided to be discreet and say nothing!)
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2022
  19. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Jimmy Page AND Aleister Crowley being mentioned. Jimmy would be pleased.
     
  20. Brian x

    Brian x half-animate bean

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I figured "Mommy" was a Led Zep insider nickname for Page. Glad this got cleared up before I tried to casually slip it into conversation, yeah but Mommy really outdid himself on Achilles Last Stand...
     
  21. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cape May, NJ

    It makes sense Dave would read Crowley so did many other British rockers in the late '60s. Also, Dave's interest in yoga and the esoteric would lead him to Crowley since he was espousing the virtues of Yoga in the early 20th century, bringing Eastern thought into Western mysticism.
     
  22. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    :D:D
     
  23. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Sending you lots of healing and positive vibes!
    Hope soon you'll be "rockin' out and having fun":love:
     
  24. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    "See The Beast"

    I have not only seen the beast, but I also heard it and it's not pretty.

    "Imaginations Real"

    This is a halfway decent song, but perhaps a bit too precious. I'm trying to refrain from using a dairy adjective to describe it. At least it's a break from the screeching vocals and features a nice melody. The last 30 seconds is the most interesting. It almost sounds like a violin, which I assume is a guitar effect? The high vocal by Dave is also pretty impressive. The Kinks might have been able to make it more palatable.
     
  25. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    :laugh:
     

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