Three scarily relevant songs from the 1979 album “Low Budget,” the very British Kinks sing from the perspective of a down-on-their-luck America. It is now 2013 and these songs seem more relevant than ever. I realize it’s a cliche to say that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. But at some point, you can only build the gates of your gated communities so high before the have-nots find a way over. Just buy some more guns and I’m sure you’ll be just fine …
From the 1970 album “Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround Part 1,” is the Kinks’ “Apeman.” I don’t have anything profound to say about “Apeman” other than that I’ve always loved this song. The Kinks created a mild controversy with the line “the air pollution is a-foggin’ up my eyes,” because the way Ray Davies phrased “foggin’,” it sounded like another f-word we all know and love. This looks like a “Top of the Pops” performance … part live, part lip sync. No word yet on when “Lola … Part 2” will ever see the light of day.
Another stroke of genius from the Kinks. At face value, this song could be taken as the lament of a rich man bitching about “mo’ money, mo’ problems.” But Ray Davies and the gang have always been a bit more complex than that. Granted, Davies has never shied away from being the contrarian and the lyrics of this song could represent his genuine disgust over having to pay taxes. But he’s such an ironic bastard, he could be laughing at the rich man bitching about his taxes. Confuse and conquer is not a bad motto for an artist on the make. You decide.
2012 was a decent year for me, but a rough year for a lot of folks I know. Having been through bad years before, I know it doesn’t always seem like things will get better, but they always do. Here’s hoping that “better things” will come quickly to everyone in the coming year. Please have a terrific New Year!!!
Next to “Celluloid Heroes,” “Strangers” is my favorite Kinks song. It was the song I always came back to on thier 1970 album “Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround.” The song was effectively used in Wes Anderson’s 2007 film “The Darjeeling Limited” and the YouTube video is a montage of scenes from the film set to this song. A beautiful song.
Another classic from the mid-late 1960s that you never hear on either oldies or classic rock stations. It was a top three hit in Britain and went nowhere in the States, but it appears on the Kinks’ “Something Else” album and also frequently appears on a lot of Kinks best-of albums, even though it’s credited just to Dave Davies much of the time. In any case, I love the primitive B&W video “special effects” in this clip.
A beautiful hymn to old Hollywood and the perils of fame and ambition. I’ve never been able to confirm if this song has ever been used during an Oscars night montage, but I would be dumbfounded if it hasn’t. If anyone knows when and if this was ever used, I’m all ears.