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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT

I just bought the SACD (surround sound) reissue of the Kinks 1981 release; Give The People What They Want. I have mentioned this record in at least two past posts, but I haven't ever given it it's due. Though not as chock full of hits as it's predecessor (Low Budget) or as commercial as it's follow-up (State Of Confusion), GTPWTW is easily my favorite all time Kinks record, and I'll give you three reasons: "Destroyer", "Art Lover" and "Better Things". "Destroyer" brings us the continued adventures of Lola as he/she helps her lover deal with the paranoia brought on by modern urban life. It's also a bone crushing riff. "Art Lover" is simply the greatest song about pedaphilia ever written.

"I'm not a flasher in a raincoat
I'm not a dirty old man
I'm not gonna snatch you from your mother
I'm an art lover
come to daddy"

Chilling in it's sincerity, as well as comic in it's delivery, "Art Lover" is a masterpiece. Certainly one of the greatest rock songs ever. In "Better Things" Ray Davies offers us hope after a dismal decade (70's).

"Here's hoping all the days ahead
Won't be as bitter as the ones behind you
Be an optimist instead
And somehow happiness will find you
Forget what happened yesterday
I know better things are on the way"

The whole record is an adjustment period for thr Kinks. Surprised at the sudden success of Low Budget, Ray and the Kinks struggle with their uncomfortable position as elder statesmen of rock thrust into the spotlight after spending the decade prior shunning the record industry and concentrating on small concept records. Their anxiety at this turn of events is a common thread throughout the record.

The 77-81 period of the Kinks is my favorite. Of course I love the early hits, and I even like the middle bit (Muswell, Preservation Act..), but it seems that Ray finally decided in 77 that he wanted to rock, and rock they did. 1977's Misfits, Low Budget, One More For The Road (live), and Give The People What they want are the most consistant Kinks records in their catalog, and if you don't have them in your collection, your missing out.

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