The Kinks – Give the People What They Want

Today’s album is from a familiar group, but different decade.  It’sThe Kinks-Give The People What They Want

I’m pretty much flying blind on this one and Wikipedia is only slightly less helpful:

So this should be an interesting exercise this Thursday morning.




RC: The Kinks – Give the People What They Want

I probably should be listening to these albums, right? They did Lola? Although, I actually enjoy the Weird Al version a little better, what with it being about a wrinkled green teacher of jedi mastery. I think I confuse them with the band that sings “The Village Green Preservation Society”… No wait… That is them.

After Listening:
I was moderately surprised at how fun the songs were. Granted, the only two songs I knew of theirs were pretty yawny. I like them anyways. Oh goodness they sound perfectly British in “Art Lover”. PERFECTLY! Also… “Flasher in a raincoat” and “dirty old man” are some possible subtitles for my Jon Waters biography.

Favorite track/tracks:
Around the Dial – Not  a super big fan of the radio dial switching in the beginning and the chorus sounds like something I have heard before either being sung by the Violent Femmes or Flaming Lips. Still, it has a 80s High School movie montage feel to it. If I were an idiot, I would make a fan vid of it for that Christian Slater classic Pump Up The Volume. I always wanted to be Samantha Mathis… until Little Women (YES. I even wanted to be her in Super Mario Bros).
Destroyer – It’s got a “Hello… I love you won’t you tell me your name” kind of feel that I super dig.

Least favorite track/tracks:
Killer’s Eyes – I think I stopped paying attention to this song as it was playing. But it kind of made me think about how Samantha Mathis was in American Psycho.
Back to Front – “Hey, I’m the writer of this song. I’m going to rhyme a bunch of things at a slow pace to make this sound like a kids playground tease and then kill you with some sweet guitar licks.” ß In my brain, this dude has a nerd lisp.

Overall (1-5 stars):  4.5

Extra Credit: Watch Ferngully… Samantha Mathis.


The Kinks – Give the People What They Want: 4 stars

Precon: More Kinks.

Favorite Track: Yo Yo
Least Favorite: I didn’t dislike anything but I’ll go with Destroyer for the recycling factor.

The guy sounded like Ozzy at first, but not his singing voice, his talking voice.
I’m getting a southern rock feeling from the title track.
Predictable sounds like it was supposed to be a reggae song.
Destroyer is All Day and All of the Night with a different chorus. And more keyboard.
I think Cougar Mell ripped off that riff in Yo Yo. I know I know it from another song.
Am I crazy or does Ray Davies have kind of a Dylany drawl sometimes?
Art Lover…wow. Channeling Humbert Humbert.
Markedly different from Season 1’s Kinks. More rocking and more going on in general. Maybe a little generic at times but still just a bunch of good tunes. Goes on my potential buy list.


The Kinks-Give The People What They Want

Preconceived Notions: Well I’m a big fan of Kinks songs in films, like “The Village Green Preservation Society” in Hot Fuzz or “You Really Got Me” in Pirate Radio.  Last time we had a Kinks album, it was ok to me.  Waterloo Sunset was great but the rest of the album, was pretty resolutely ok.  I know that this is an album from the 80s, but beyond that, I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard a single from this album, so I’m just curious to see how their sound evolved.  Also is it just me, or is this album really dark?

After Listening: I think I like their 80s update.  Maybe I just like the 80s.  There’s actually something Dire Straits-esque about their sound right?  Or is it just that I was talking about Mark Knopfler the other day?  There is a distinct difference between what I heard from their 60s albums and this album, and I have to respect any band that can evolve like that.  There’s a lot of anger and sarcasm covered up by great melodies, and I’m always ok with that.

Around the Dial-oh the lament of the death of great radio dj’s with the onset of the vj set.  I could probably read more into this, but I just like the simplicity of thinking that this guy just really liked his dj.  I had never really cared about djs until I started listening to Shaun Keaveny and I think I would be pretty bummed if he disappeared from my online dial too.
Give the People What They Want-I don’t think I’ve ever heard a song that sounds like the music was written by Chuck Berry and the lyrics were written by Chuck D.  It’s scathing and I feel slightly badly being a part of society at large right now, but at the same time, I can’t stop my leg from keeping the beat.
Killer’s Eyes-Something about this makes me think that Robert Palmer was the second choice to do this song.  Him or David Bowie.  Although Davies voice has a little Dylan thing going on on this track.  It’s like the song version of Heathers.
Predictable-I’m sure the repetition is supposed to be a winking nod at the song title, but it got old for me.  I can’t decide if I fell for the desired reaction or if I just didn’t get it.
Add It Up-So this is what a B-52’s song sounds like when done by the Kinks?  It’s still catchy and synth-tastic.
Destroyer- Is that the bass line to “All day and All Of the Night” I hear?  This song isn’t terrible, but now all I really want to do is listen to “All Day and All of the Night”.
Yo Yo-It’s so depressing, but there’s something that I really like about it, especially once the chorus kicks in.  Although there were parts where my head kept wanting to add in “Teenage wasteland” as a lyric.
Back to the Front- I have to take notice of  song where at the end he asks “Are you Listening” “No” “Well then we’ll have to do it all over again”.
Art Lover-has just one-upped “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” as my favorite song about could-be pedophiles.  This one references Degas instead of Nabakov, I’m really not sure which one is classier, but this one is super creepy, and I can’t help but love the melody.  I feel like I should take a shower with each line uttered but I’m too caught between following the beat and nervously laughing at the lyrics, hoping that they’re not based in any type of reality.
A Little Bit of Abuse-again, I almost feel like this song shouldn’t be this catchy.
Better Things-Sounds like something that could have been used in a John Hughes film.  There’s no way that could ever be misconstrued as a bad thing

I feel like Ray Davies is straining his voice at points, but overall, a much more solid effort, for me, than the previous album we listened to.  It just all seems to fit together in a more comprehensive way, despite the darkness.  At least they leave off on a “happy” note with “Better Things”.

Favorites: Yo Yo/Better Things/ Art Lover
Least Favorite: Predictable

Rating: 4


Preconceived Notions:  Oh good, another Kinks album – and 3 straight UKalbums. Honestly I don’t hate the Kinks, I just don’t gravitate to them in any fashion. There’s the mythos and their place in music history- but when I listen I’m just detached and generally uninterested.  That said, at least this album should be stylistically different enough from “Something Else” to give a full fresh listen to…

After Listening:  Well the tone of this album is a little dark so that’s a plus, and it’s tough to really say why but the punk elements on here – don’t sound standard, they have a little less aggression a little more open endedness to them, and appear only briefly..  Unfortunately a lot of the album musically is a lot like the track “Predictable”, why are there so many tracks without tempo changes?  There are some engaging moments on the album, mainly those that actually incorporate a break in the static structure – a guitar solo here and there, a chorus without a call and response, some actual song dynamics. I swear though, there are at least a few tracks on this record that could appear on a Jay Geils record without anyone batting an eye.  I find that lyrically the Kinks are still aiming for bigger and better things and more often than not the cleverness of anything that comes out vocally is simply not matched creatively underneath in the music.

Favorite Tracks: “Yo Yo” –  A clever song which to me is almost a power ballad in the context of singing about the difficulties of maintaining a marriage.  The music is a little deeper than the average track on this thing, clean electric parts, acoustic strumming, even a brief breakdown when some of the music drops out.  Lyrically solid “he sits in the armchair watches channel four, but his brain’s not expected home for an hour or more”, it’s a complete song where the idea and the execution merge.
“Art Lover” –  This one’s not perfect, because I do have some issues with the music and some of Davies vocal delivery on this- which sort of veers to closely to pedophilia at times.  But the idea of creating a remorseful song about having lost a child-and tries to see that child in other children-in a format that isn’t overly sappy, or overly dark is admirable. I mean – look at “Tears in Heaven” by Clapton and rightly shudder.  The music isn’t the worst, and so anything passable is fine for idea like this.

Least Favorite Track:  “Predictable” – Look, I get where they are going, song about a dude in a rut- should have a degree of musical repetition.  But to borrow a page from my fellow RC’er Seth, if we’re looking at just the song on the strength of the aural representation apart from the idea….well then this one is simply no fun to listen to-boring repetitive, and droning.  Perhaps if it was the only track on the album that I felt this way about, I could let this one stand on the idea alone….but whereas this time it’s a conscious decision, there are too many points on this album where it’s done (one assumes) unaware.

Overall 3.09  As Kinks albums go, this one was better for me. Generic rock too often, it at least focuses at points with ideas that are bigger than the sum of their actual parts.  Also, the production value in the recording of the music is light years better than “Something Else”-some of that no doubt with the advancement of the technology as the years passed, but at least they sounded like they weren’t about to take the soundchecks or 1st takes and just slap them on the album this time out. I can see a little easier with this album why they are respected, at least for taking a few chances lyrically-if not so many musically.  Ultimately though I still just have a disconnect with them and can’t see myself ever really an album-at least not the ones I’ve heard so far.


The Kinks –Give the People What they Want

Preconceptions: I think I know a couple of songs from this record.

After listening: I enjoyed this much more than the Kinks album we listened to last season. I enjoy the punk elements on this one, of course, and its just pretty solid all-around.

Favorites: Around the Dial, Destroyer, Better Things
Least: A Little Bit of Abuse

Overall: 4 Stars


The Kinks-Give The People What They Want

Preconceptions: I bought this September of my first year of High School, so my conceptions are firmly pre-conceived.

After Listening: This is Ray Davies post-Village Green and pre-shot-by-NOLA-mugger. Each song is firmly in the early 80s Britain of Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello. Man, them Thatcher & Reagan seemed like the worst leaders we could ever have. Oh, innocence, you silly retard!

Favorites: Destroyer winks at the Kinks’ two previous decades with a riff & lyrics cribbed from All Day & All of the Night and Lola. Better Things remains one of my favorite Kinks songs ever.
Least Favorites: The best thing about digital music is the ease at which I can skip over Back to Front. In high school I had to get up and move the needle.

Overall: The Kinks Give the People What They Want is a 80s pop glance at some very dark subjects. With songs about corporate absorption of local media, the public’s demand for coarse spectacle, struggling to understand the mind of a murderer, the monotony of middleclass life, the bitterness of being left behind by a social climber, losing one’s sanity, stale marriages, a man you think is a creepy pedo who turns out to be a grieving father,  domestic violence, then wrapping it up with a last minute life-preserver of optimism, GtPWtW is the 80s experience distilled into 12 inches of scratchy vinyl.

Rating: 4.98
Extra Credit: State of Confusion- the Kinks

admin (196 Posts)

Record Club began in the cold, dank, snowmageddon scene that was New England of January 2011. We’re probably no different than you. We all work in cubicles, some in smaller, less private cubicles than others; that just means we have to be even sneakier about how we listen to our music. But we have to listen to our music, mostly as a way of saving our own personal sanity. Sometimes our opinions lead us to debates that may or may not be published in their entirety on this site, but I can promise you’ll at least get a glimpse of the way our minds work. The main goal is to find new music we like or find old music that we didn’t know we liked. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes it’s a total and complete disaster. After our ears have rejoiced or stopped bleeding we try something else. This is our pattern, every Tuesday and Thursday. Sometimes, when the club isn’t officially in session, just to keep everyone on their toes, we throw in a theme day. We’re beginning to run low on our original list, so please, if you have albums that you’d like us to review or themes that you’d like to see our playlist of, feel free to contribute. After all, we’re all in this together once we punch the time clock. So if you’re busy (or just plain bored) lurking in your cubicle as you read this join in. After all, life wasn’t meant to be lived staring at a computer screen. I guarantee you, it’s at least more fun when you plug the headphones in.

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