The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Whoroger89

    Whoroger89 Forum Resident

    I don't have much to add I love this album and these first couple of songs. I'm a suckered for decent hard rock
     
  2. Rockford & Roll

    Rockford & Roll Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midway, KY
    More Ramones in your face rock along with a nod to the Beach Boys and it all works together with the biting lyrics. I must confess I didn’t pay that much attention to the lyrics when I was a pup. It was just a great rocker and it fit in fine with my love for AC/DC, Van Halen and Judas Priest. And lyrically, Ray does use Bon-like phrase with the Christians to the lions line. It’s a great track to me just bursting with energy and cynical wit.
     
  3. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Off topic, but how many of us are guitarists?

    I feel like I can competently play pretty much anything Dave has done. With the exception of some of the early solos, they just have a manic energy I can’t replicate. And maybe not exactly in his style. But I can get to the notes more or less. Bar band adequate. Not that I’m saying I could come up with the parts. Oddly some of what Ray has played I just can’t do. The really fast bolero strumming stuff. I read somewhere you can either do it or not. I cannot. I guess something to do with fast twitch muscles or something.

    Anyhow, just curious. There has been a fair bit of commenting on the chord sequences and so on. Clearly some of you know your theory better than I!
     
  4. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Not meaning to say I’m anywhere near the guitarist Dave is. He’s in the r’n’roll Hall of fame. Wrote Death of a Clown, Living on a Thin Line, amongst many others. Just that I could probably learn his parts. That is all.
     
  5. Gratefully Deadicated

    Gratefully Deadicated Escaping through the lily fields

    Location:
    Lakewood WA
    I really like Give the People What They Want. In fact it's one of my favorite Kinks albums. It's both incredibly dark and great at the same time.
     
  6. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    I do play the guitar, but I'm no soloist. Though I am at ease with complex chord changes, I have more or less the plucking style of my avatar. So I guess in a litteral way I can play most of what Dave plays chord-wise, riff-wise and to a certain extent rythm-guitar-wise, but I don't know about the solos. During lockdown I tried to find the time to teach myself pentatonic improvisation but I got little more than a quarter of the way there. I never learned scales on the guitar. I hated it when I learnt them on the piano, I thought it was useless back then, but now I realize grown-ups had a point !

    Yesterday I was trying to play the GTPWTW riff, which leads me to a question I asked myself frequently: who writes the riffs? I guess for You Really Got Me or All Day And All Of The Night they're part of the composition, and Dave is responsible for the sound but not the riff. But on a song like GTPWTW, who came up with it? If it turned out to be Dave, shouldn't he have gotten a co-credit?
     
  7. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    Was it in a theater? If so were there noises and goofy giggling in the audience?
     
  8. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    No it was on MUBI, so any noises and goofy giggling going on was from me.
     
  9. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Yes that is it, i knew one of our French gentlemen would help me out late(r).
     
  10. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    It couldn't be solved in an hour by Angela Landsbury!
     
  11. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    You'd never heard of Alain Prost?
     
  12. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I'm a guitarist, but I have probably only had the chance to play a handful of times in the last 6 or 7 years.
    If the question is could I play the stuff Ray and Dave have on the albums? Back when I played and wasn't distracted by life, yes. At the moment, probably not, without a lot of practice to get myself back to some kind of satisfactory standard
     
  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Killer's Eyes.

    stereo mix, recorded May-Jun 1981 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    I see so little hope in you,
    So much despair,
    As I look in your eyes I wonder,
    What thoughts linger there.
    Life means nothing to you,
    At least that's what they say,
    But it doesn't mean that you have the right to take life away.

    How were we to know what was going on inside your mind.
    You never let it show what was going on behind
    Those killer's eyes
    Killer's eyes

    You've seen your picture in the paper.
    You're little sister's pinned it on the wall.
    She thinks you're in some kind of movie.
    Imagine her surprise when she saw you on the news.
    Reporters came around and asked for interviews.

    So little compassion, so icy cool.
    They say you were a poor boy, you know that life can be cruel.
    Hate builds up from childhood, your world was a slum
    But you haven't got the right to blow it to kingdom come

    How could we know what it was like inside a killer's mind
    It never really showed, you kept the secret deep inside
    Those killer's eyes
    Killer's eyes

    You say the world is full of ********,
    So you kill just as you see fit.
    They say that you're a fanatic with a mission.
    We all go through hell in some kind of way,
    Can you tell me what it's like to be there every day?
    When you were young you had a vision
    Why'd you go and do a thing like that?
    And now we see you on the television.
    Imagine our surprise when we saw you on the news,
    And reporters came around and asked for interviews.

    I see so little hope in you,
    So much despair,
    As I look in your eyes I wonder,
    What thoughts linger there.
    Life means nothing to you,
    At least that's what they say,
    But it doesn't mean that you have the right to take life away.

    When you were just a child
    You'd hide away when other children cried
    But how were we to know
    These tears that flowed were from a killer's eyes

    I see so little hope in you,
    So much despair,
    As I look in your eyes I wonder,
    What thoughts linger there.
    Life means nothing to you,
    At least that's what they say,
    But it doesn't mean that you have the right to take life away.

    Those killer's eyes
    See the whites of their eyes
    Those killer's eyes
    See the whites of their eyes

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

    This is a really interesting song... it is almost like a character study on someone who has commited murder, but more so, perhaps a sociopath who sees no problem in killing people.... and it is interestingly balanced off with the idea that this person had a poor upbringing.

    The first picture painted is of someone who has no hope, and only a deep despair. Rumour is that this person doesn't value life at all.
    Ray closes out the first verse by stating, quite rightly, that those things don't give you any right to take someone's life away.

    We get a changeup and it states, as is often the case, We had no idea what was going on behind those killer's eyes.... and I'm pretty sure this is the chorus.

    This is one of those Ray songs where it is a little difficult to pinpoint what we are going to call each section.
    We get another change up that seems like it may be a bridge, and we end up hearing that things have come to a head.
    Little Sister knows nothing of what you've done, she just thinks it's cool you were in the paper, and pinned your picture on the wall.... she thinks you're in some kind of movie.
    I guess the realisation comes when she sees this person on the news.... and then reporters came looking for a story, the story .. it doesn't really matter as long as they make copy.

    Then we move back into what I presume(d) to be the verse.
    We look at the idea that this was a poor boy, possibly from the slums .... but essentially as sad as that particular reality is, it doesn't give someone the right to take away another's life, due to circumstantial bitterness/jealousy/frustration, or whatever rationalisation may be produced.

    Each of the chorus-like sections presents a different variation on the themes of - How could we know? - The impulses were hidden - behind the Killer's eyes...

    The next verse is interesting because it puts the "bridge" and "verse" in the opposite order. Ray plays with the structure of this song really nicely, and it doesn't sound or feel forced or convoluted, it just seems how the song should go.

    We all know the world is full of BS, and so are most of the people, and I include myself in that, but it doesn't mean that offing people at will, or at random, serves any valid purpose, even though in our darkest moments it may seem like some kind of solution to some kind of problem.

    As Ray points out here, and as we discussed on the thread in other contexts, everybody has something they are struggling to deal with, this is the nature of life. To say that life can be a challenge is a massive understatement, and yet, destroying someone else's life is not going to make our life any better, and that mentality also fails to see that everybody has someone that loves them, regardless of what we think about them, and so to end a life is to damage a dozen others.... Life Is Complicated, Life Is Overrated.

    This is a terribly sad song on so many levels ... How do we get through this life, whole? How do we get through this life and benefit people around us, whether we love them or not? How do we manage to control our desires in such a way as to not be slaves to them?
    I have some thoughts, but they wouldn't be appreciated here, and no matter what one's belief system, the sad fact of the matter is we are all terribly flawed, and no matter how much we may want to be a positive influence in this world, it takes so much focus, concentration, discipline and humility, that for all the times we succeed, we fail a dozen more times....

    Life is such an interesting thing, it is overwhelming, but not quite unbearable.... Imagine if we showed the love for one another that we should ...

    Sorry, Ray really sends me on some rabbit trails... Eat the meat and spit out the bones...

    This is another great song, and it is the first in a line of somewhat thematic songs that tie into the idea presented in the title track. Here we have the manifestation of violence and hate... We can't kid ourselves that it doesn't interest folks, because since I was a kid shows about murder, and solving the crime and how to deal justice, and how justice frequently fails and all of that kind of stuff, has always been top rating TV .... our own ugliness fascinates us ...
    Now we have streams of studies about serial killers, and we promote the murderer and ignore the murdered .... damn, I'm moving onto the music, before I write a hundred page essay on what a weird society we have.....

    I like the music here too, and Ray sings this with a suitably sad tone. A deep melancholy that presents this idea in the only way it could be presented.

    We open with a solid chord, with a walking note, and it is a semi-palm muted delivery that again leans towards a sort of melancholy.
    We get some tasteful keys that have a sort of string-like feel/sound about them, and some nice piano flourishes as augmentation.

    On the first chorus we have a nice guitar arpeggio and again some flourishes that add some really nice colour and texture.
    Then as we get to the Killers Eyes, we have the beat come in, and a nice offbeat chord that also works like an accent.
    We roll through that first bridge and as we move into the verse section, the drums drop out giving us some space, then we move back into the beat and then into the chorus.

    This is structurally excellent. Perhaps we haven't got the most difficult chords or what have you, but the way this is arranged keeps the song flowing and modifies the melody naturally as we move along.
    The subtle use of dynamics also adds to the colour and texture of the track, and with the music and the lyrics tying in together so well, it really ends up being a pretty excellent song that stands up well. Thoughtful, musical, and from my perspective engaging.

     
  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Killers Eyes live in New York Oct 3, MSG, 1981

     
  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I haven't got time to check it out, but this is listed as the "Clean Version"

     
    CheshireCat, Ex-Fed, markelis and 4 others like this.
  16. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    First time I heard this I was racking my brain to remember what that descending guitar part in the intro reminded me of. I mean there's a lot of songs that do something similar but I'm pretty sure what I was thinking of was "Feel" by Big Star.

     
    Last edited: May 11, 2022
    Wondergirl, markelis, Smiler and 12 others like this.
  17. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    ... which is a much better song, in my opinion. Not that "Killer Eyes" is a bad song, it's a decent song. I find the lyrics kind of earnest and corny though.
     
  18. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    I really like the verses of Killer's Eyes but feel slightly let down by the chorus. But still a great song!
     
  19. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    I forgot to ask, what strumming do you have in mind exactly? Do you have an example?
     
  20. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Great catch with the Feel intro, @Vangro ! And even better when one thinks of the later New-Orleans friendship between Ray and Chilton.
    I loved yesterday's anecdote by @pyrrhicvictory about Ray and Springsteen “deciding” how the drums should be recorded and how they should sound for the new decade. The meeting happened in the restrooms? That’s exactly how those drums sound here : recorded in restrooms ! Man, are they loud… And in the pay-off chorus bit (“it’s Killer’s Eyes”) they do foreshadow Born in the USA’s loudest most “in your face” Max Weinberg sounds, Darlington County, Glory Days. The song has a typical Ray eighties melody, based on some descending diminished chords, a beautiful minor chord change ("How were we to know what was going on inside your mind"), that ends up in suspension with the classical piano lick, very of its time. But some parts sound like they're not completely fleshed out, a bit like they’d be running through a tentative demo and never cared to 100% finish the song (especially the "bridge" "you've see your picture on the paper" that definitely plods a bit). Yet the lyrics are very nice. I think it was written about Reagan (march 1981), or the Pope (may 81), or both, but Lennon was surely on Ray’s mind as well. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I remember a French interview sometimes around that time, 1981-1982, in which Ray talked about Lennon’s later Dakota life, because he was himself living in the same building (or block) at the end of the seventies. And I remember him saying that Lennon was very reclusive (which is well documented) and not very amicable or even polite towards him, being very distant and cold, when not ignoring him pure and simple when they crossed path. I remember him distinctly saying “maybe that’s an attribute of geniuses, not to really be able to connect with us normal people”. I was eleven or twelve at the time, I knew little about the Kinks (well, when Ray appeared on screen, the You Really Got Me riff would typically play in the background, so I knew that much…). And I remember thinking “isn't it weird that he would say such a thing ?” Like I instinctively knew that it was a kind of passive aggressive way of saying that he was a genius too, that he was hurt John would not acknowledge it and that his behavior was not an attribute of geniuses but of obnoxious superstars…
    Anyway, this song’s not a total success musically, despite some good sections and at least one otherworldly moment (the melodic change and mirage-like falsetto on the "These tears that flowed were from a killer's eyes" line). I agree the lyrics are somewhat corny, but I find them genuinely moving, and 100% Ray Davies in how they approach that killer as a human being, his childhood, his family, his traumas, just trying to make sense of what doesn’t make sense at all. It’s still not a great song, I think, but as far as the sequencing’s concerned, it’s an obvious disclaimer that for their part, the Kinks will most definitely not do what they criticize and satirize in the previous track.
     
  21. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Oh yeah, I forgot about that!
     
  22. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
  23. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Killer's Eyes"

    This veers towards "power ballad" territory, but is ultimately far too ragged, too Kinks-like to end up there. It has the same garage, off-the-cuff feel of the previous two tracks but slower and without the bludgeoning thrash. The drums are still loud, but this is as subtle as this album gets. It has a similar structure to "Black Messiah", in that we get an introductory lyric which is then repeated twice more during the song. It's a song which doesn't usually leave much of an impression on me, but then when I listen to it again I'm reminded of all the melodic twists and turns. In the end it's a good song and a nice change of pace at this point in the album. The lyric may be a little corny but it comes across as sincere.
     
  24. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    This is a great song, fantastic melody and a thoughtful lyric that manages to convey shocked disbelief without coming over as glib: the way it develops it really takes you inside the thought process of trying to understand the understandable, exploring various angles, mood shifts as you ruminate on different interpretations @Fortuleo already said most of what I wanted to say, although I actually like the ‘when you were young…’ bit of the tune, (even if it really reminds me of something else I can’t place)… it’s more upbeat and naturally the (relatively) more positive aspects of the thought process are conveyed in that bit of the tune (early innocence and hopes, and the glamour of infamy even at such a cost).
     
  25. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident

    Location:
    Manhattan
    Killer’s Eyes

    A composite character sketch combining Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who shot the Pope (four times), and the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe. Ray thankfully bypasses another blood and guts lyric by focusing more on the strain suffered by the families of such assassins. It’s a chance for a breather, if not exactly of fresh air, after the album’s dizzying one-two opening punch. This song is content to sit on the stovetop and simmer. Dave is pretty much comping here; maybe he’s preoccupied with magnetic codes. Ian makes the song for me with his Under Pressure languid piano; both songs recorded at roughly the same time so no harm or foul here. Or fowl, for that matter. From the ages of ten through twelve, I delivered the North Jersey Herald News, a rag. I remember the excitement of delivering the paper after a huge news event; Lennon’s murder (though I didn’t quite realize at that time how significant), the attempts to assassinate the Pope and President Reagan. Also, the tips received from the homemade chocolatier on my route, Genevieve’s; I usually opted for the chocolate covered pretzel. Guess I was just another middle-man giving the people what they want.
     

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