Friday, February 18, 2005


I Curse Myself For The Life I've Led

by Glenn Kripes

There's really no such thing as a perfect album. Take Something Else by The Kinks for example.

This is one of those albums I remember exactly where and when I bought it. Back in the early seventies Kinks albums were hard to come by. I had the Greatest Hits and the Lola album and I was on a mission to get all The Kinks. Problem was that they were mostly out of print. I started looking through auction lists and paying $15 (in 1970's kid's money) for a copy of Kinks Kontroversy. What a great day it was when I was in my local department store and found Something Else in the $2.99 bin. I can still remember going home and putting the needle on the first song and hearing David Watts. What a fa-fa-fa-fa-fa f*cking great song! This had to be the first 'oi' song ever, even though they don't actually say 'oi' in the song (The Kinks were much too elegant to ever make such a common gutter utterance).

More delights follow. Ray is at the top of his game with the jaunty tunes like Harry Rag and Afternoon Tea. Add Waterloo Sunset to the equation and you have a pretty fine piece of work. Who did all those lovely harmonies on those klassic Kinks records? It was Rasa Davies, Ray's then wife. This has to be the only time a rock star spouse has ever improved a record.

Ray and Rasa Davies

Something Else is also a breakout record for brother Dave.

Aspiring songwriter Dave Davies

His signature song Death of a Clown is here, as well as Love Me Till the Sun Shines--a kind ode to a slagheap that follows a young man home after the bars close. The delightfully askew Funny Face is always a treat. Is it a love song for a girl in a mental institution? About time I say! Way to go Dave.

So what's not to like here? Well, a few things. Some songs are just kinda there, like the baroque tale of Two Sisters, the lazy bossa nova No Return, and the Rainy Day In June re-write that is End of the Season. Ray was already self plagiarizing by this time. Situation Vacant is merely annoying, while Tin Soldier Man should be shot. Ray has proved he could write good send ups of dull people in songs like A Well Respected Man but he has an annoying tendency to run his 'ordinary people' fantasies into the realm of juvenile cliche.

The Castle Kinks reissue CDs are uniformly brilliantly put together. Something Else contains the bonus tracks Autumn Almanac, the John Lennon favorite Wonder Boy, and the great lost There's No Life Without Love, plus more Dave delights like Lincoln County and Susannah's Still Alive, another ode to an unattractive woman.

These days, if I buy an album that has one song I like, I'm happy. It used to be if I liked three songs I'd be happy. In this age of drastically lowered standards, Something Else holds it's head high.

Thanks Glenn for finally exploring something more worthy of your talents...Great read I love the "fa fa fa fucking great song" thing...I pretty much agree with everything you say too...exception being Two Sisters is a classic for me...Maybe cause Ray played it so well on his X-Ray tours...
What do you mean you don't like 'Situation Vacant'? Hearing Ray sing "Johnny's in a great, big hole" is worth the price of admission.

You're crazy.
sorry to question your undoubted kinks scolarship glen,but the songs sung by dave davies (a self confessed active bisexual )are almost certainly about men and not women and form part of the gay dimension of this complex band .other ambivilant songs sung by dave include "I m not like anybody else" as well as the more obvious and group sung "see my friends"and "lola"
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