The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Though conventional we really didn't need to hear the position you adopted at the time.
  2. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Well said. *two thumbs up*

    People can say what they want, but I don't think the Kinks EVER sold out. Mostly because that's not who Ray is. He's a quiet rebel. It's part of what I love about him and the Kinks. Maybe the later albums won't be to my liking, i'm not 100% sure...but Ray marched to the beat of his own drummer. Always.
  3. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    I often listen to the song of the day twice right before fully commenting, at least. Today, I didn't need to do that as I knew it so well AND I knew I didn't need to confirm in my own mind if it was awesome as I believed it was...that my love of it wasn't based on an old bias. No, this is simply an exceptional song that Ray should be proud of.
  4. Steve E.

    Steve E. Doc Wurly and Chief Lathe Troll

    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Geez, I blinked and we are already 30 pages into "Give the People What They Want." I can't catch up now; please forgive any redundancy in what follows.

    I grew up in a Boston suburb. As has been mentioned often throughout this thread, Boston radio may have played Kinks a lot more than some other US markets. Specifically WBCN, WAAF (Worcester) and WCOZ. The latter two played a very similar AOR format, while WBCN was a lot more wide-ranging.

    This album was played like CRAZY all over the radio. The AOR stations were basically blasting "Tattoo You" and this album nonstop in the same period; and about the same number of songs from each.

    I may have this wrong, but I think the first song I heard played was "A Little Bit of Abuse" -- a lot. Although -- I think "Better Things" was released as a single in Europe a good 7 months before the album was released in the US (June 1981 for the single). But _both_ were released in Europe so far ahead of the album release in the US, that radio may have leaked the songs from import versions.

    We heard a hell of a lot of "Destroyer." Then "Around the Dial" was played a ton. I think "Art Lover" got airplay, too? Certainly I was aware of it, long before I had the album. And I think the title track got some play.

    It's been a while since I've tried listening to this LP. Last time I put it on, that drum sound, (with all other instruments too low in the mix) wore my ears out pretty quickly. I know people who LOVE that sound on this album, and find it a feature rather than a bug. Someone told me it was achieved by putting the drums in a room with corrugated steel.

    I love "Better Things."
  5. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Forum Resident

    Better things indeed. Was this the last great Kinks song? I don’t think so, actually, we’ve got some strong stuff still yo come on the next couple albums and Dave even enters the conversation. But it is clearly the class of GTPWTW, although I’ve actually enjoyed most of the tunes.
    I’m interested to see the reception for Chosen People. I remember liking it at the time, but haven’t heard it in decades and probably never took a deep dive into the lyrics.
  6. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Houston TX
    Better Things:
    This is an ongoing conflict I have with Ray's writing. I have a sarcastic nephew who will make a compliment and then you realize he's being sarcastic and the rug is pulled out. After that, I'm wary and not totally trusting anything he says. But, I will take the attitude of Avid @ajsmith :
    "Better Things," taken sincerely, is a much needed Ray of light (sorry) at the end of a dark tour of some ugly parts of human nature; it brings to mind the tender "Good Night" following the disturbing "Revolution 9." Maybe Ray is laughing at me, but I'll choose to take the much-needed uplifting words and happy tune at face value and give it a 5/5.

    Give the People What They Want - I like nearly all the rockers, and I'm fine with the sound of them, but other than "Better Things" the rest fall short for me. That still puts it at around 60%: respectable, and comparable to Misfits and Low Budget for me. I will say I am more aware how dark the subject matter is than when we started!

    EDIT: I found myself humming "Art Lover" all day even though I don't care for the song. So I have to acknowledge there are more memorable melodies in this album than I first thought.
    Last edited: May 20, 2022
  7. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Feel free to expound if you like...

    From tomorrow we start Dave's Chosen People.... so I'm sure there's space for talk about Give The People....
  8. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Forum Resident

    Will also point out that Mike Campbell mentions the Kinks as an influence in the latest Vintage Guitar mag.
  9. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Florence, SC
    Yeah, it’s the conundrum of Raymond Douglas Davies, right?
    I don’t know that I truly believe him when he says he wrote it as a sarcastic send up. He said these things after the fact. Perhaps it’s his way of dealing with the fact it was not a blockbuster success even though he should have been used to it by now after a decade of similar results and indifference.
    Put yourself in his shoes for a moment. Imagine writing a song this good at this point in their career released at exactly the time the band was on an upswing (at least in the world’s biggest market, the US), and the public and press gave out a collective meh. I think I’d be pretty disillusioned and try to find some sort of rationalization no matter how absurd. It’s the old Aesop fox and grapes fable, well I bet those grapes were sour anyway.
    I’m not a psychologist, I only play one on SHF :laugh:.
  10. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Houston TX
    You may be right that it's his way of saving face. But I do feel like the bitterness and cynicism are ramping up as we go along.
  11. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Better Things

    Interesting hearing Ray wrote or conceived this song from sarcasm as it instantly makes me think of Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton.

    Had this on the Come Dancing CD for years but didn't really realise it was seemingly so popularly praised.

    I mostly like the extended verse melody and chordal musical bed aided by those chiming Churchy guitars.

    The piano makes me recall Crocodile Rock but that's just an observation neither good nor bad.

    Something about overall roughness vs smoothness and also the production stop me from being won over wholesale though it is close to being the best song on the record

    I think it is better than I gave credit but I am not sure it would really make my top fifty!
  12. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    @mark winstanley were you thinking of doing anything to mark this thread hitting 1,000 pages in the next day or so? It's a big achievement because the standard of discussion has been consistently high and invariably civil. That's a real credit to your leadership - you have set both the standard and the tone. Maybe we could venture our personal highlights from the previous 1,000 pages? Or Something Else?
  13. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Florence, SC
    I concur. I’ve been here on SHF for just over 15 years now and this is the Best Thread Ever. It already is this, but once we finish, this will be THE definitive Kinks thread on this site and any other really. We have a truly great group of civil folks here with much knowledge and insight. Chosen People indeed.
    Whatever info you desire concerning The Kinks and their songs, albums, career can be found right here in this thread. Thanks everyone, it’s a pleasure to visit this thread every day and contribute.
    These are sincere statements and not sardonic ones as one Mr. Davies hides behind sometimes.
    Last edited: May 21, 2022
  14. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Houston TX
    Massive Reductions
    Excellent observation. The positive is they may have been a little ahead of their time, the downside is it was with the more generic style of 80s music. I'm not familiar enough with the later version to compare (though I wasn't very impressed by my initial listen), but this would not make my playlist.
  15. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Just re posting this clip to note that it’s round about here in the chronology that the Wonderworld appearance that was posted way back when on this thread should go:

  16. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Better things

    This one sounds a bit like a song by The Cure if they made good ones. Well ok, I don't really know the Cure, it's just not my tribe.

    Very catchy, both simple and effective, just the right length, that is, the length that leaves you yearning for more. Another case of a verse being more interesting than the chorus, but it's not really a problem here for some reason. A rare case of a good straightforward song by Ray that lacks a bridge. There is a brilliant prechorus though.

    As stated by @Fortuleo there is something pleasantly weird in the way Ray sings the end of that first line. Not only can't I really tell if that second iii chord turns into III or not, or if minor and major coexist; but I don't know either whether the melody intends to resolve on the 5th, to remain on the 5+ or, in case the chord remains a minor iii, to turn it into a I/III. Technically it could be considered amateur hesitation but I think it sounds great. I have to listen more and compare with other versions.

    It's difficult to believe that this song started as being sarcastic. I like to think that Ray started to write a bitter song in the heat of the break-up, and then turned it into a positive one once the bad feelings had subsided.
    Last edited: May 21, 2022
  17. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    I don't hear anything remotely Cure-like about it! :confused:
  18. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    That's because I have a very remote notion of what a Cure song is!...

    I don't know, something in the walk of the melodic guitares in the end? Not even a little bit?...
  19. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    I think "Better Things" has had the biggest consensus on here of any track since the Pye era?
  20. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Cheers... I'm just talking about songs lol, and thankfully so is everyone else.

    To be honest I hadn't really thought about it... If it's the kind of thing folks want to do, I have no problem with that at all
  21. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Give The People What They Want

    So here we are, at the gates of Mordor, the dreaded country that lies beyond the dark 1980 mountains. For several decades, I have been hesitating in front of that grey threshold. I did make some incursions and occasionally found a few refreshing oases. But I seldom go there willingly, in the land of lost innocence, ugly haircuts and atrocious reverbs. The 80s are an ungracious adolescence, not only because I was a misfit of a teenager during those years, but also because it feels like childhood (1970s) slowly decaying into boring adulthood (1990s). Yeah, ok, it's my own life chronology really, but it's a fitting one I believe.

    Also, Give the People What They Want was given to me in the late 1980s by a friend of my brother's who dismissed it as total crap, as the Kinks aping the metal world and making fools of themselves in doing so. I gave it a try all the same, but I was easily won to his opinion at the time: to me, any pop record that did not include at least a few orchestra instruments was suspect. I was all flower (soft) power and flutes and melodies and delirious chord progressions. Still am at the bottom of my heart, really. Still, the Who, the Stones, the Beatles also, Chuck Berry himself had planted the seeds of my appreciation for joyously raging music, that is, rock'n'roll.

    2 years ago I gave it another try, and was surprised to hear it was not that bad. Those orcs were not as mean as Gondorean propaganda wanted us to believe after all, and maybe this Sauron guy had been unjustly maligned. I ended up thinking the album was not necessarily enjoyable but quite listenable for sure. Before we started looking into it, I felt that this album was a weird reversal of all these Kinks records where I love all the songs except for the closer ; this time I only loved the closer, and found the rest OK. I still think Better Things is far above the rest of the album, but I've grown used to the other songs. Maybe I lowered my standards, or maybe I got to individualize the tracks better, maybe both. With age, I am beginning to accept that a song may use an overused chord progression as a template without being utterly unoriginal.

    The thing is, this is the first Kinks album I didn't absorb when I was young, so it's quite a different experience.

    I like the energy, I like the raw sound, I like that it still sounds youthful. And I like the way the joyful, punchy music blends with the sinister topics.

    I have started to listen to the next album. I'm not sure the fumes of Mordor will vanish as easily over that one.

    I'm already beginning to think that, though the last 5 studio albums may include some pleasant tracks, Better Things might be the last real Kinks klassic, save alone Did Ya.
  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I don't really hear the Cure, but I have quite a few Cure albums and consider them quite an important band.

    I reckon the general vibe is very much like the Church, though not any particular song, just the general vibe and feel.

    Here is the Church's second album The Blurred Crusade if you aren't familiar with them.
  23. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    A great album, and what an opening track!
  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Dave Davies – Chosen People

    Label: Warner Bros. Records – 1-23917, Warner Bros. Records – 9 23917-1
    Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
    Country: US
    Released: 1983
    Genre: Rock
    Style: Pop Rock


    A1 Tapas 1:55
    A2 Charity 3:58
    A3 Mean Disposition 2:31
    A4 Love Gets You 2:40
    A5 Danger Zone 3:14
    A6 True Story (Bass – Dave Davies) 2:33
    A7 Take One More Chance 2:58

    B1 Freedom Lies 3:29
    B2 Matter Of Decision 2:52
    B3 Is It Any Wonder (Vocals – Kim Goodie*) 3:47
    B4 Fire Burning 2:50
    B5 Chosen People 3:22
    B6 Cold Winter 4:34

    Producer, Written-By, Arranged By, Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards – Dave Davies

    Bass – Dave Wintour
    Drums – Robert Henrit*
    Keyboards – Chris Parrin*

    Arranged By [String Arrangements] – Martin Ford* (tracks: A7, B6)
    Co-producer, Engineer – Steve Churchyard
    Mastered By – Robert Ludwig*

    So this is the first album of the thread that I haven't heard at all.
    I don't have this album, and I haven't had time to listen to the youtube posts, so I fear that I will struggle to have a chance to actually get into this album.... but even so, I'll give it a fair shake, and I will look forward to reading the posts from folks that are familiar with this album, because I get the impression that some folks love this album.

    Just looking at this, we have the somewhat mystical front cover, with an old fisherman of some distinction.... is that Ian Anderson? ...
    Someone pulling a Rickshaw with an Asian lady replete with umbrella in the passenger seat.
    A Native American person of some description on the right.
    What looks like an Aboriginal guy down the back.
    Some other person standing on a rock....

    Then we have naked girl in the middle, in a modest pose, with some kind of space Harlequin in the sky...
    The sky is an aggressive looking red and orange, sliding off into the distance, and it gives us a nice look of depth, and it is reflected on the still waters below.
    It's actually a pretty interesting cover, and it kind of reminds me of some of the early seventies jazz and fusion albums covers, though it looks a little more Low Budget.

    To some degree looking at the titles of the songs it gives somewhat of an impression of what we may be looking at here, and I'll be interested to see what it sounds like, because on the whole, the song titles and the cover don't really project hard rock, or new wave....

    But I guess we'll see what we're up for when we get into the songs...

    As per last time, we will do two or three songs per day, to keep things moving, as much as I am able....

    So please let us know what your thoughts are about this album. It seems to have sunk without much of a trace.
    It reached number 202 on the Billboard chart, and we didn't hear from solo Dave again until 2000, with 2 live albums.... and they seemed to lead into the release of Bug, which seems to get some good Word Of Mouth around here, but again, I am yet to hear anything off that one either...

    So please let us know...
    Did you even know about this record?
    Did you get it at the time, or in a completists mode later on?
    What did you think back then?
    What do you think now?
    Just anything that seems relevant

    So I feel like I have to add to that....
    I'm about half way through the album, and although I haven't said an awful lot in the posts I have ready, which is probably a relief to everyone lol..... I think this album will be received very differently to the last two, as it is a very different album.
    For the most part, so far the lyrics are much less ambiguous, even though on occasion they are no less odd.
    The album has a much more relaxed..... soothing? kind of sound to it. Dave isn't generally in hard rock mode. There are a lot more keyboards
    Although some folks may still not like it, I have found it to be more instantly accessible....

    I still am not totally sure what to make of it, as it is just too new to me, but so far I like it, and with fairly little effort
    Last edited: May 21, 2022
  25. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

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