The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Luckless Pedestrian

    Luckless Pedestrian Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    Schopenhauer has an interesting take on what you (and Ray) are getting at here:

    The most general overview shows us the two enemies of human happiness to be pain and boredom. In addition, we can observe that to the degree that we succeed in removing ourselves from the one, we come closer to the other, and vice versa, so that our life actually presents a stronger or weaker oscillation between them. This arises from the fact that both stand in a double antagonism to one another, an external or objective, and an internal or subjective antagonism. For externally, want and privation cause pain, but security and abundance cause boredom. Accordingly, we see the lower classes in a perpetual struggle against want, hence pain, and the rich and noble world in a persistent and often really desperate struggle against boredom.​
     
  2. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Predictable

    I've been programmed to love this song. Thanks MTV. As I said in my overview of the album this was played regularly on early MTV. They had about 5o videos to pick from so you were going to see this a LOT. I enjoyed the humor in it and later discovered a little tip of the hat to the Stray Cats and the Jam within the video...and of course early Kinks footage.

    But beyond that, I feel like for most of us predictable IS the word of the year. Most of us have jobs, maybe 9 to 5 kind of things. You get up in the morning, shower, make lunch and head out the door (or these days, stay put and work from home). Predictability can be good in some ways...it keeps you anchored, but sometimes it makes you nutso.

    This song would fit in nicely with Soap Opera.

    I'm feeling Elvis Costello in this song too. Maybe the vocals...and the lyrics? Ray's voice does stay very level throughout the song highlighting the dullness. But to me it's an effective vocal.

    Why can't it be like never before?
    (Predictable)
    Yeah, ain't life a bore

    Who's life isn't filled with boredom? Most of us have predictable lives and it sometimes can get pretty boring and it makes you reflect. But, for me, the predictability grounds me to some extent and that's ok. It's not for everyone.

    I'm a big fan of this one, but I can see where everyone may not be jumping for joy on this one...as it's really not supposed to make ya feel very peppy. :D
     
  3. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    LOL. Yes!!
     
  4. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    Ah ah. Dear old Arthur. Always a fun thing to say.
     
  5. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cape May, NJ
    Yep Killers Eyes is boring and brings things to a sort of screeching halt on the album after a white heart start. This song has promise but instead just plods along. Two songs in and has the album peaked? Not quite but the uneveness continues.

    Predictable

    I really like Predictable (especially the video) but it slows things down even more. Maybe this would've worked better as a stand alone single. It just sounds out of place on GTPWTW. Too bad Ray didn't do more work on those post-Low Budget outtakes we looked at a few weeks ago and put them on here.

    Ray's laconic vocal delivery here brings to mind Bowie's Repetition (a song title the Kinks will use themselves five years after GTPWTW).
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2022
  6. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cape May, NJ
    I remember that quote. I think it was in a review of Think Visual. Dave's Heavy Metal fixation however really becomes a problem later in the decade. Though its a bit of one on this album too.
     
  7. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Add It Up.

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

    The first time that I saw you, you were modestly waiting for a bus
    Now you're driving around in hired limousines
    And you talk so upper class.

    The cost is high, but it's not the only price you ultimately pay
    Add it up, you might have got some money
    But you lost me on the way

    Add it up, oh
    Add it up, oh
    Add it up, oh
    Add it up, oh

    Ah, Gucci, Gucci, Gucci
    Cartier, Cartier
    Gucci, Gucci, Gucci

    Add it up,
    You multiplied and multiplied but what's it leading to?
    Add it up,
    The only thing subtracted is the love I had for you
    So add it up, oh
    Add it up, oh
    Add it up, oh
    Add it up, oh

    Symbols of perversion and insanity
    Symbols of social immorality
    Symbols of economic cruelty
    Symbolize all what you did to me

    Ah, Gucci, Gucci, Gucci
    Cartier, Cartier
    Gucci, Gucci, Gucci
    Cartier, Cartier

    Money can't cover up the fact you're getting older every day
    And you can't disguise your sad little eyes that give your loneliness away

    Add it up, oh
    Add it up, oh
    Add it up, oh
    (repeat)

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

    The first thing that comes to mind here to me.... were Billy Idol and Steve Stevens listening to this track in 1981 ... It isn't the same, but damn it starts off very close.

    Look, I really like this track. It is, on the surface, a kind of bitter break up song...
    but underneath that surface Ray gets to have a dig at consumerist culture lol

    Now the opening is really very interesting, because when they got together this person was modestly waiting for the bus.... but now, they are driving around in limos and talking posh... so there is an element of pretending to be something they aren't here.

    This is an interesting line
    "The cost is high, but it's not the only price you ultimately pay"
    This could mean so many things ... but the implication is some form of prostituion, and that doesn't necessarily mean streetwalker. There are many ways of prostituting ourselves .. I mean frankly, I prostitute myself everyday doing a job I don't really like that much, so I can pay the bills ... but how far do we take that?

    But then we get to Ray's context ... I presume?
    "Add it up, you might have got some money
    But you lost me on the way"
    .... this is fairly interesting really... I mean, I'm not sure I value myself enough to throw that line at someone ... at least not someone that appears to have all the things they want in life... and if I'm not one of them, frankly I'm too old and jaded to care anymore lol

    The chorus is essentially just Add It Up, but is sung with convincing fire, and I reckon it works really well.
    Then we get this very cool post-chorus?
    Singing name symbols of some distinction of the day... I'm not sure if they still are or not to be honest, but back in the eighties, these were go-getter brands that apparently meant something :)
    I was wrestling with Fender, Ibanez, Gibson, Marshall and the like ... and I couldn't afford those either.... Gucci is always a great one though, because Gucci Gucci Gucci is what people reportedly say to babies when they are doing the baby talk thing to them ... hmmm...

    The next verse is pretty interesting too...
    The angle seems to be that this person multiplied and multiplied their possessions. to the point where it made them undesirable...
    I suppose the implication is that when someone lives only for things, it makes them seem a little empty/shallow, and no matter how many things they have, they aren't satisfied, and being with someone with an insatiable need for more and more, who is never satisfied, can be somewhat disconcerting...
    but then we get back to it again
    Add it up, all your possessions, all your shiny trophies of wealth, or the facade of wealth, and "the only thing subtracted is the love I had for you"

    I guess the implication is that he feels someone shallow enough to only value themselves via noted possessions, has little self worth, so why should he value them.... or again, he is bitter, and is just lashing out against the person who is living to accumulate but not interested in him anymore.

    Then the song takes a turn... it becomes a moral judgement. so perhaps it isn't bitterness, but some sort of idealist stance.
    "Symbols of perversion and insanity
    Symbols of social immorality
    Symbols of economic cruelty
    Symbolize all what you did to me"
    The only way I could read this and really "get it" is if this person used his money to do this.
    I have no beef with someone that wants to buy their pretty things. If someone is shallow enough to feel that surrounding themselves with name brands will make them happy, then I'm not going to stand in their way. I wouldn't want anyone to jump my shizzle because I have surrounded myself in music... so I will allow them to surround themselves in their chosen "stuff" lol

    Then I think about that famous line from Fight CLub that our "possessions end up owning us".

    Unless there is something deeper going on, I'm not altogether sure why a Gucci handbag? and Ferrari would be a symbol of perversity and insanity... unless we consider it a perversity to own fancy nice things in light of many others owning very little... I guess it's all about where individuals place value, and the varying degrees of greed
    Social Immorality ... unless I stole it all, I'm not sure what about it would be immoral... but perhaps the third world slave labour shops were already opening... and that ends up being a hard call as well, because although it is hard to fathom the pay rates etc, I guess at least they still have some kind of income?
    Economic cruelty ... ?
    Perhaps I'm missing something in here
    These things apparently symbolize what they did to him.... bought him via some means, emotionally I assume, and then discarded him when he wasn't the correct product anymore?

    Again, I find the lyrics really interesting...

    Then we get a real swipe at the person....
    "Money can't cover up the fact you're getting older every day"
    You're dancing on the Titanic baby. You may have a glass of Dom Perignon, and a Fox fur coat, but no matter what you do, the ship is going down. You're getting older, and all these things won't stop that....
    Now if it is true, and not just a bitter swipe, this next line is the most important in the song.

    "And you can't disguise your sad little eyes that give your loneliness away"

    If this person chased the facade, and sacrificed everything that was meaningful in their life in that pursuit, then this song is actually a tragedy.... and it does happen.
    There are folks that need to look special to the people around them.... I think everyone wants to feel special to the folks that are around them, but some folks need it. Chase it. Hunt it. Have To Have It..... and they will sacrifice those around them to get it, ironically enough. Like an addict stealing from their elderly parents to get a fix, they will destroy all the solid things in their world to get some empty facade .....

    So Ray kind of leads us on wild goose chase lyrically, because so many of those things fit in here, but if the last line is true, and not just some form of bitterness, then this is the tragedy of someone who has lost everything of true value in their life to pursue the trinkets of the upper class, who has sold themselves out to be a picture of the Yuppie dream....

    It all comes back to the fact that when you are on your deathbed, you won't be comforted by your fancy car, or fur coat..... the people that admired those things are not likely to be there comforting you either...
    It is almost like the same idea as drug buddies, in some ways... when your bowl is full, drug buddies will be there helping you empty it ... but when the bowl is empty they are nowhere to be seen, and you are alone, and your crutch is gone...

    I don't know, maybe I'm reading too much into it, and this is just a diss song about a break up, but there are a few specific things that make it seem a little more.

    Musically we move between relative minor and major chords, and that's always a cool sound to me.

    Again we have this really excellent raw, live in the studio sound.
    I think Mick's drums here are excellent. They are aggressive and on point. I reckon Ray? got him a great sound here too.

    Personally I really like the arpeggios on the two minor chords, as I say, very White Wedding, but ahead of the game here.
    The band smashes through the opening, and then we have Jim Rodford standing forward on the bass, and locking in with Mick.
    I assume Dave and Ray are playing the little ska guitar stabs, and they move into the chorus with real punch .....
    I assume the bridge? Gucci Gucci Gucci section is Chrissie Hynde blended with someone else... I can't quite pick it out on the work computer.

    We also have some nice little sound effects added in nicely, and some left right stuff going on with the guitar that creates nice accent points.

    We power through the song really nicely and then end on a slam dunk cold finish, but we have a really effective keyboard outro, that almost seems to be the dreams floating away on the breeze or something like that...

    I really like this song, and I think it has lots of power, but quite a bit of subtlety too, and after the comical, lazy and laconic Predictable, it is the perfect place to go.
    Great song

     
  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Live In 1982, Rockpalast

     
  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  10. Ex-Fed

    Ex-Fed Not Fed Ex

    Location:
    New York State
    Add It Up

    I think fondly of "A Long Way from Home." This is no "A Long Way from Home."
     
  11. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    I can imagine Suggs singing the verses, and it's always nice to hear some Chrissie.
     
    markelis, Brian x, zipp and 8 others like this.
  12. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Add It Up
    This is very different to the previous song but I also think it's pretty good. The vibe of the song reminds me of Blondie's early albums with their spiky New York sound. It's a little bit punky and a little bit poppy. Lyrically, it's another take on the rags-to-riches story - this time, someone obsessed by the symbols of their newfound wealth at the expense of their old friends. The story suits the music and vice versa. One final observation: the chiming opening notes remind me of a huuuge hit for Billy Idol - which he used in a very different way to this song. Another great 80's video too.
     
    Smiler, markelis, Brian x and 11 others like this.
  13. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Rather an unpleasant song, bitter and self-pitying and the music doesn't make up for it.
     
  14. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    YES! I don't know why this similarity doesn't get more recognition, it's stuck out to me for ages and became esp noteworthy when I checked the two songs release dates! The Kinks were prob more renowned by 1981 for lifting riffs from others and their own past, (and these incidences are brought up with time honoured formality whenever the songs in question are discussed, as are cases where later acts like Green Day plundered Kinks riffs of decades before) but here we have a case of a tentpole 80s rock anthem from just the following year leaning incredibly heavily on this Kinks LP track and no one ever mentions it! And I know that it could be a co incidence, but I also think it's fairly likely that Idol had heard this song, at least semi consciously.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2022
    Wondergirl, Ex-Fed, markelis and 13 others like this.
  15. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Add It Up"

    I love the new wave/post-punk energy of this one - there is absolutely no attempt here to connect with the Kinks music of the past, this is bang up-to-date (give or take a couple of years), and mostly steers clear of the heavy rock side as well. I hadn't noticed the "White Wedding" similarity before - my first impression was that it might have been a rip-off of "Smash It Up" by The Damned, but then I listened to that and realised I didn't know it as well as I thought. Some bits of shoutiness and comedy cockney, but not enough to worry about. The lyrics equating the acquisition of money and fame with evil could have come straight from the pen of Dave, although he'd have found a way to blame the government as well.

    In short, it's rough and ready, unsubtle and a long way from what many would think of Kinks music, but it's a lot of fun.
     
    Wondergirl, markelis, Smiler and 17 others like this.
  16. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Side 1 closer, so in a way it’s the companion to Better Things, the other big melodic minor key song on the record… but not quite. It has a lot going for it. The syncopated almost ska Madness feel, the bouncy walloping melody, the minor chords, Ray’s dead pan poker faced voice… At the 38seconds mark, I’m in awe, I love everything, the guitar riff, the hard hitting drums, the big reverb, the fatalist melancholia. Then, I don’t know what happens, Ray starts shouting his way through the second part of the verse (“the cost is high”) and kills his own momentum. Maybe his natural voice wouldn’t go there anymore (it’s two tones above) ? In any case, it impairs the song’s charm, and hugely so. We’ll get more of these in the albums to come, but this is the real downside of “shouty Ray”: sometimes it fits with the song’s theme and style, sometimes not. Here, it doesn’t work at all in my opinion, because it shouldn’t be an angry song… The Gucci Gucci Chrissie parts are funny, I guess, but I loved it better yesterday when I still thought it was a “coochy coochy” meaningless baby rock’n roll gimmick. I’m just as incensed by luxury brands as the next guy but come on, this is ********, someone normal and not over-materialistic himself wouldn’t even think of that while writing a break up song, let’s be serious. A long way from home, says @Ex-Fed, and indeed we are. A long way from A long way from home... And not sitting in a hotel either, despite the lyrical quote.

    I still love it, it’s quite dated but very modern at the same time, almost a song the Pixies could’ve done just like that, without changing much (edit: I was writing this and then noticed the Fight Club nod in mark’s opening post, there’s a big coincidence there, as the film ends with a Pixies song).
    I think it’s a great side closer and the pluses overcome the minuses by far. I often sing this in the shower but you won’t hear shouty fortuleo there, in my mind I make it sound like a vaudeville tune, a long acrobatic melody with beautiful key changes and a whimsy melancholic feel, like the Kinks of old… but new.
     
  17. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    Ron has a pretty low profile in Canada though perhaps I am overestimating his appeal elsewhere,
     
  18. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    "Add It Up" - the "White Wedding" similarity was surprising to me as I listened today - why had I not noticed that before? This seems pretty un Kinks like and more of a new wavey curiosity. It is however unsurprising to me that Ray would make a comment on consumerism.
     
  19. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Add It Up

    Writing/Originality wise could it be a case of Billy Idle?

    Never heard this contemporary 1981 number but it's got a bit of Madness in Ray's vocalizations and the band's backing.
    Jumping decades forward some vocal lines meter sound like Chris Cheeney from The Living End doing All Torn Down which is also a lament of something lost but something more inanimate and shall we say more um......concrete!
    Q. Does this mean was a forefathers of punkabilly?
     
  20. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    You do know it's the tiles, don't you? :D
     
  21. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    LOVE this track: it just smashes in with this lean, cutting brittle new wave energy and never lets up: I'd say it's one of their best pop-rockers ever, without qualification. There's something about rhe energy captured here that really makes this a great record at least as much as it's good song, something I can't say about a lot of later Kinks tracks: like I'd say it exists as a record you could drop into a new wave club set and it wouldn't kill the atmosphere, in fact it would keep the dancefloor going, and completely stands comparison as a pop record with any of the vital new wave acts of the time, whereas I'd say that most of Tbe Kinks newave efforts (as good as they often were) are at one distance of remove from the real thing: like, I love 'Young Conservatives' but I wouldn't sequence it after 'White Mice' by the Mo Dettes or 'Janitor' by Suburban Lawns if I was DJing at a new wave discoteque, whereas 'Add It Up' I totally would throw in a curveball. It just has that spook.

    Maybe it's greater adequacy as a newave record comes in part from the participation of an actual star of the time (even if she wasn't that much younger than Ray, that half decade or so might have been half a century in rock terms back then) Chrissie Hynde doubling her beau Ray androgynously (shades of Dave/Rasa on 'You Shouldn't Be Sad' and ''Session Man'?) on those brilliant catty mocking 'Gucci/Cartier' lines: some may find this more of a novelty but I think it gives it that extra bit of B 52s/Su Tissue gynoid weirdness that takes it beyond what the basic 5 man (emphasis on the man) Kinks were capable of into being an unqualified newave classic.

    And just what is going on with the synths under that vocal part? They sounds amazing,, like an 80s computer crackling malevolently and put me in mind of 80s stock exchange and computer circuit footage from Godfrey Reggios 1982 'Koyaanisqatsi' (see below) non narrative film or clips of the 1987 financial crash: it just sounds like computers ticking over behind the scenes in a yuppy capitalist dystopia, while the human element is reduced to cutesily parroting brand names in the foreground. Magical!

     
    Last edited: May 13, 2022
  22. Luckless Pedestrian

    Luckless Pedestrian Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    The pettiness and vindictive attitude in the song is seems quite normal from the perspective of spurned lover that sees blackness everywhere they look, and as we know by now for the purposes of critical analysis we should not assume the protagonist in the song is Ray himself.
     
  23. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Similar kind of theme, but a very different song.
    Australian Crawl Hoochie Gucci Fiorucci Mama
    From their debut album in 1980

     
  24. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Add It Up:
    I’ll just get straight to it and declare this a good song. A head bopping number that is clearly of the early 80s and…what’s not to like?

    The key to the lyrics is, “Add it up, you might have got some money
    But you lost me on the way.”

    Meaning that greed/and or the pursuit of material wealth (and the flaunting of it) is more important than “the love I had for you.”

    “You multiplied and multiplied but what's it leading to?
    Add it up,
    The only thing subtracted is the love I had for you”

    At this juncture I’m thinking ‘no’ on the playlist (maybe un-Kinksian?) but it still has a chance. (I do see I put this on my preliminary playlist. Hmm?) So far I haven’t heard a song I’ve disliked on the album. 5 for 5.
     
  25. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    One of the thinks I love about this thread is how we can go from serious philosophy to new wave DJ sequencing on a single page while still remaining focused on the Kinks. Outstanding!
     

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