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

  2. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    Not something I'd skip, but also not something I'd seek out. I think I enjoy the video more than the song!
     
  3. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident



    Above is my favorite Jacques Dutronc song and a spectacular video ("scopitones", they used to be called) from 1969. Love the music and words : l'opportuniste, the guy who always changes sides … to always be on the right side politically! Superb tune, and it makes you wonder whatever happened to french TV since those glorious days…

    As for Big Star, my Wilco compadres and all the alt.country enthusiasts among us should listen to the "Big Star's Third Live" all star CD on which Jeff Tweedy sings a bunch of tunes (Pat Sansone's on there too, also guys from the Posies, REM etc.). And lest we forget drummer Jody Stephens is/was part of Golden Smog…

    About Predictable… Funny that we'd mentioned Springsteen yesterday and the day before !!! I mean, this loud drums/high organ combo is straight from the E-street 79-84 rule book, isn’t it ? The song itself… I was always a bit lukewarm about it, because I found it more insistent than catchy, like a kid pulling your jacket’s sleeve. “Dad… Dad ? Da-ad ?” (in French, with “papa”, it’s even worst, because you have two syllables from the get go). So like @croquetlawns, I'd typically say that the best thing about it was the Julian Temple video, Ray’s outfits, his hair styles, his stupid faces, the cute Weller and Stray Cats nods and how it seemed to pave the way for the beautiful Quiet Life number in Absolute Beginners.

    But listening more closely on this thread's assignment, it’s started to move up in my affection. First, I’ve noticed (once more!!) a hidden Beach Boys quality about it that I would’ve never suspected: the loud drums + organ thing and one-chord opening melody are strongly reminiscent of Let Us Go On This Way (also Honkin’ Down the Highway) from Love You (1977), a song that features this crazy drum'n organ sound, too ! So I guess it wasn't really created by Ray and Bruce in a men’s room, then…

    Second, I marvel at how Ray never fails to write songs : lyrics and music that complete each other. The insistent dullness is part of the track, so Ray decides not to fight it and to go along with it in a very funny way. But then, the bridge’s like a breath of fresh air, every single time, just a little chord change to let us feel that life could be bett… but no, back to prediiic-table! Life's a bore is a klassik Ray theme (Oklahoma nine to five), and he delivers it in his klassik kwirky Ray voice, like it’s the early seventies again and the arena reinvention just never happened.

    Now I am off to work and I guess it's 100% predictable what I'll have in my head until tomorrow morning…
     
  4. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    "Predictable" - yeah, the song is called "Predictable" and it employs a certain amount of repetition so that by the end of the song, one might say that the song has become pretty "Predictable". I think that is actually very clever in that the form is consciously shaped in order to develop the content of the song which is about the monotony of life. Thematically, this is prime Ray territory. It is delivered in character as our narrator explains the predictable nature of his life. Musically, this is predictable once the groove is established - a little variation with the "once we"/"one day" segments before returning to the monotonous groove. I don't complain because that is part of how the song works.
     
  5. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Predictable"

    I remember that I mentioned this song much earlier in the thread in connection with a song which had a similar-sounding bit. Couldn't remember which song it was, so had to search the thread - it was "Hot Potatoes". In trying to remember which song it might have been, I noted that this one has a very similar tempo to "Sweet Lady Genevieve", but of course is nowhere near as good a song.

    It's a strangely stiff performance - again sounding a bit like an early demo where they are still finding their way around the song. There are times when it threatens to get too repetitive but just pulls back into the "once we..." section in time.

    I mentioned that "Around The Dial" is probably the only song Ray has written about that particular subject, however the same certainly cannot be said about "Predictable"! Given the choice of Ray's songs about the repetition of daily routine I'd take "Do It Again" and "Repetition" ahead of this one.
     
  6. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    I find the line 'I wish it would get worse any way' quite telling in terms of Ray's often perverse nature.
     
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  7. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    It's a really interesting line.... to some degree, it seems like when things were/are worse, families and communities are often tighter, and less caught in the superfluous... perhaps he has a point lol
     
  8. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident

    Location:
    Manhattan
    Predictable

    Why can’t it be like never before?

    If one line could ever sum up the Ray Davies philosophy, it may be this one. So, we arrive at my favorite song on the album, one that for me has only kept growing in stature all these years. It’s said Dave was unavailable for this session and his guitar parts were dubbed on later. It seems he was busy working on Glamour, but both albums were recorded in the same studio, so something’s amiss.
    Jim’s bass is loud and clear, upfront in the mix; not as prominent as say, a Jah Wobble, but still booming. A classic Ray vocal, like it was and will always be 1968.
    Don’t know why I’m even bothering.
    A fantastic beginning sentence for a novel, a play, or a pop song.
    This is a gorgeously resigned vocal melody that I’m grateful Ray took such care in delivering. To me this is like one of the early songs he wrote with his big family in mind, songs they could all sing together down the pub. The song seemingly begs you to sing along, and then puts an arm on your shoulders as you do. One can imagine his mum and uncle Frank and all the sisters having a knees-up whilst singing along. Which would be fitting as it was apparently inspired by a brother-in-law of Ray. A very Kinksian klassic.
    The video is Davies the klutz at his best. Ray shows some deft comedic chops here that Julien Temple must receive some credit for. Temple has directed so many great shorts, videos, and documentaries that I’ve quit counting. The 2006 Sex Pistols There’ll Always be an England is so beautifully shot and edited. And of course his inserts and found footage are brilliant. A very creative chap.
    With Ray the sole star of the video and all by himself on the album cover, the record-buying public could be forgiven for thinking this a solo project. But what was the band thinking, and would they be in a forgiving mood? Well, that’s probably predictable.
     
  9. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    I always thought Ray resembled 70s Frank Zappa in the bathroom mirror sequence in the video.
     
  10. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    I feel a compilation coming on...

     
  11. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Classic!
     
  12. fspringer

    fspringer Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    Predictable: Never would have predicted this would become my second favorite song from the album, over time. I always liked it, but something about it still rings true. Once again, another song where Dave's background vocals are crucial, somehow capturing the sound of boredom. In terms of the album, it was a welcome respite from the blistering start and hard lyrical content. But in the context of their entire career, this holds some strange place where I recognize it's not one of their best songs, but somehow it resonates. In the way he may have mimicked the good humor of music-hall numbers in the mid-60s, this somehow taps into that same sense of camaraderie/"we're all in this together" of a pub singalong on his own/rock terms.

    The video was fantastic, particularly hippie Ray. I couldn't help but notice that "modern" Ray wasn't all that much different from Teddy Boy Ray, save for regrettable choice in then-hip sunglasses! This was early 80s video at its best: no white horses walking through a wall of flame, although the stop-action stuff is silly. But he manages to sell the song expertly with these fun little vignettes of various eras.
     
  13. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Predictable

    Likely first heard and seen in the late 80's the video is also for me far more memorable than just the song and a bonus point for Ray's 70's hippie always reminding me of Neil from The Young Ones!
    Despite some nice turns of phrase the most extraordinary memory for me concerning Predictable was Ray's confounded insistence that this (of all singles) should have been a sizeable hit!
    That it wasn't is as @mark winstanley says...... Predictable.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2022
  14. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Predictable
    When this album came out I didn't care much for this tune but it's grown on me over the years. I can hear hints of other Kinks songs in a couple of the licks: Ray might have done some recycling on Word of Mouth*. Sure the song is as predictable as its title suggests but it has a certain jauntiness as well. It's no classic but I quite like it.
    *EDIT: @ARL has picked one of those licks was recycled from Hot Potatoes, so Ray is doing the circular economy way before it became fashionable :D
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2022
  15. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    This comparable ode to ennui was a UK hit the previous year:

     
  16. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Seeing this i think i want to break free!
     
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  17. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    ‘Predictable’:
    Starts out with that carnival-like organ, reminding me of….is it Dire Straits? I think so.

    There’s a lot I like about this song; the “waaife”, Ray’s normal Ray vocal, some of the underlying crunchy guitar. Really nice though perhaps a tad too long (as the negative is being inundated by the backing ‘predictable’ chorus).
     
  18. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    Yeah OK, the subject matter is "Predictable" so the music is predictable. That's fine on a conceptual level. But the result is, I found it funny the first couple of times and began to find it a trifle tedious after a while. The video is fun, though. If I had to skip one song it would be that one. Side 1 has 3 songs out of 5 that are more or less built upon monochordal verses. That's a bit too much for me. The bridges somehow make up for it on Round The Dial, as does the energy on Give The People. Here only the concept compensates for the dullness, by making it meaningful in the context of the song, but it's not enough for me.

    Maybe it will grow on me with the years as it did for some others. I will tell you by the end of the thread in 2043.
     
  19. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    ‘Predictable’ video: This is hilarious. I thought I’d take a quick look and, instead, watched the entire clip.
     
  20. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Don't get us going - it's not Sunday yet. But I can't help it. Here's Iggy Pop doing I'm Bored. The music starts at 1.30 but the "interview" is not predictable.
     
  21. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    Struggle can be inspiring.
    A little stress now and then let's us know we're alive.
    Some people are just happier when there's something to overcome.
    Complacency sucks.
     
  22. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    Location:
    New Mexico
    Predictable

    Over the course of this and other threads, I've levied negative criticism against songs for being "plodders." Well this song is the ultimate plodder and considering my distaste for songs that I hear as just plodding along, I should hate this song, but I really like it. It all fits so very well, and I can really relate to the theme of discontent with routine.

    To some degree, my appreciation for this song is unpredictable.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2022
  23. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    One of my favourite Countdown moments.... Iggy is off his bean
     
  24. sharedon

    sharedon Forum Zonophone

    Location:
    Boomerland
    Sweet Cream Ladies is almost Kinks-like, was a minor hit in some regions of the US.
     
  25. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    "Predictable": After the heaviness of the previous song, here's a more lighthearted ditty about how modern life is boiled down to a set routine. I think that it could have slotted in nicely in Soap Opera to describe Norman's life. This is definitely one of those songs that are better w/the video. It's funny to see the several Stages of Ray Through the Years and how he's basically the same in all of them. Ray reprised the Hippy w/Glasses look in the later video for "To The Bone". Also, none of my fellow Avids has seem to notice that the video for "Wonderboy" is on the telly during the Swingin' London Ray portion of the video.
     

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