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Tuesday , December 14, 2010
The Young Person's Guide to the Beatles: The Young Person's Guide to the Kinks
Really, this article should be named "The Young Person's Guide to the Kinks: Opinions on 5 Kinks Songs I Have Yet to Opine About." However, I feel guilty enough as it is about clogging up poor Kat Asharya's fashion blog with all my weird Beatles worship business, and consequently, feel as though I should probably make the effort to keep my Kinks-opining to a minimum- until we get a book deal, at least.
The Kinks are my second-favourite band. I love them for a lot of reasons- mostly, because their songs are great. But when you're talking about your #2 band of all the bands there ever were, it must come down to more than songs. It comes down to emotional attachment, and one's ability to intellectualize said emotional attachment. I love the Kinks because they're nerdy, and always miss the mark- I relate to that. The Kinks had no chance at ever being the Beatles, the Stones, or the Who. You don't have to be mind-numbingly cool to be a great rock band, but you probably shouldn't be lame. The Kinks are lame, but it's a secret. People who don't know anything about the Kinks think they are like the Who- raucous and slutty: flaming, gnarly, proto-punk.
This is because: Dave Davies was kind of a skeeze, the name Kinks sounds like "kinky," and "You Really Got Me" is the jam of the century. But that's it. The rest of the Kinks is kinda drippy. Raymond "The Seventh Son of a Seventh Son" Davies writes music about Donald Duck, song publishers, and the colonization of Australia, then delivers his lyrics in a frilly, overly affected English accent. It is some of the best music in the world, but it's not for everybody, and I don't want it to be.
I listen to the Kinks a lot, but I'd never play the Kinks for anybody who didn't already like the Kinks of their own accord. Nothing brings out my Cancerian maternal instinct like the music of Ray Davies. I just want so badly to protect him! I am scared that I will play "Plastic Man" or "Do You Remember Walter?" or "Mr. Pleasant," and somebody will speak a word against him, and I will have to end the friendship over it. Doesn't really seem worth it, you know?
The Kinks' brilliance is unexpected. I used to think Ray Davies was not a genius; I was wrong. Of course Ray Davies is a genius! He's just a genius in the opposite way you'd expect him to be. He is a true sweetheart, and there are not enough sweethearts in rock music. I love that he is good. It is so much better to be sad and good than it is to be happy and bad.
Luckily for Ray Davies, I will one day become his concubine, and he will be happy and good! "Shangri-Laura Jane," he'll call me.
I. YOU REALLY GOT ME
Walking down the street listening to music too loud on headphones is my optimal state of existence. I love it so much that I have, at age twenty-four, accepted defeat, and fully succumbed to a life plagued by pulsatile tinnitus. There are many different ilks of "walking down the street listening to music too loud on headphones," but my favourite is definitely the "strutting" option. In this life, you have to strut. If you don't, you will never feel good about yourself. Never ever. I don't want your life to be like that. You need to listen to "You Really Got Me" too loud on headphones, and strut.
"You Really Got Me" is one of those tricky, fake-cool Kinks songs that confuses people into thinking the Kinks are raucous, drug-addicted rapists. But all you have to do to dispel that myth forever is watch Ray Davies perform it in the Youtube video embedded above. Have you ever seen a performer look more uncomfortable in your life? I haven't. He looks like he is mid-root canal. He looks like he is getting his front-teeth-gap fixed, with zero anaesthetic.
One my favourite boring, pointless thoughts to think about is how, in "You Really Got Me," Ray Davies sings, "See, don't ever set me free"; then, nine months later, he wrote a song called "Set Me Free." Was "Set Me Free" a conscious response to the lyric from "You Really Got Me," or does it merely serve as evidence of mid-sixties Ray Davies' limited vocabulary? I don't know. I just half-assedly leafed through X-Ray, which I read a year ago, in an attempt to find out, but then I finished my cigarette. Now I am writing this sentence. I suppose it is just one of those grand, unknowable mysteries of the Universe.
II. AUTUMN ALMANYAC
In my head, I only call "Autumn Almanac" "Autumn AlmanYAC," same thing as how I exclusively refer to myself as Laura Jane Windowpane, within myself. True story. It is like the Phoebe Weatherfield Caulfield of me. "Autumn Almanyac" is not my favourite Kinks song, but it's my favourite Kinks song right now, and will be for the next 3-5 weeks, until I burn myself out on it and will require a couple months of "Autumn Almanyac" Detox. Sort of like when I was in first grade and I told my parents that I wanted a cheese sandwich for lunch every day, and they obliged me for like eight months, and then I got so sick of eating cheese sandwiches that I would trash them and only eat my snacks, and then finally it reached a fever pitch when I started sobbing to my Dad and begged him never to make me a cheese sandwich again. He said "Okay," and I never ate a cheese sandwich again. True story.
One of the points I want to make about "Autumn Almanyac" relates to how I never ate a cheese sandwich again. Eight months of cheese sandwiches made me want to die, but I could eat bread and jam for the rest of my life, and never complain. My answer to the TOO GOOD FOR YOU "What would you eat if you could only eat one food for the rest of your life?" Q is: almond butter and Hero strawberry jam on toast. Ray Davies agrees with me, kind of. Like me, Ray Davies loves to eat the unfuckwithable combination of "a carbohydrate + a sweet." He can't stop writing songs about it! In "Dead End Street," he eats "a Sunday joint of bread and honey." In "The Village Green Preservation Society," he sings "God save strawberry jam and all the different varieties," which I agree with (Strawberry jam is my "#1 thing from 'The Village Green Preservation Society' that I also want to preserve"- tons more than billiards or china cups). He also states that he ("we") is ("are") the Custard Pie Appreciation Consortium. Custard pie= carb + sweet.
In "Autumn Almanyac," Ray sings about "tea, and toasted, buttered currant buns," which is definitely my favourite Ray Davies food lyric of all. Once, I was listening to "Autumn Almanyac" on Bloor Street, and I wanted a toasted, buttered currant bun so bad that I walked out of my way to go to Noah's, the health food store, and buy a blackcurrant square because I felt so highly attuned to Ray Davies' desire to eat currant-flavoured food. I feel like there are more lyrical examples of Ray Davies having adorable taste in food, but this is a really slack post, so I'm not going to bother finding them.
The other point I want to make about "Autumn Almanyac" is that it is helping me have better posture. Two Mondays ago, I met a dude who does yoga every day, and he told me my posture was appalling, which, predictably, made me feel like shit about myself. But I'm a big fan of self-improvement, so have decided that one of my big goals for age twenty-four is to come out the other end with perfect posture. Headphones-strutting to the "yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes YES" part of "Autumn Almanyac" auto-makes my posture into Grace Kelly's. If you want great posture, just pretend every song is "Autumn Almanyac"- you don't even have to try!
"Shangri-La" is the Kinks songs you need to play for all those parasitic jerk-offs who try and tell you that Ray Davies is not a genius. Those losers are barking up the wrong tree. Fight fire with fire. Every dog has its day; today could be yours! If you play those motherfuckers "Shangri-La," that is. Show 'em who's boss. Seriously- if those soulless sycophants can't take the heat (the heat= "Shangri-La"), they need to get out of the kitchen (the kitchen= wherever you are playing them "Shangri-La"- possibly even your kitchen!) Tell those lunatics, "If you think a non-genius wrote "Shangri-La," what the hell? You hate pop music, don't you?" Who needs friends who hate pop music? That's what parents are for!
"Shangri-La" is the "Hey Jude" or "Sympathy for the Devil" or "A Quick One While He's Away" of the Kinks (Not being a dude, I know next to nothing about the Who, so I could be totally off the mark re: "A Quick One While He's Away" being the "A Quick One While He's Away" of the Who. The Who are for dudes).
Remember that one day, a month ago, when I was marching down King St. to "Shangri-La," feeling SO empowered by Ray's irono-majestic ode to non-Normiedom? Probably not, but I sure do! It was really cool, because just when it hit the "Shangri-La la la la la-lalalalal forevs etc" part, I walked past a giant disgusting condo development site with a sign advertising that it could be your (my!) SHANGRI-LA.
Evidently, it was a sign from John Lennon, I mean God, divinely reminding me not to be a Normie, and to keep listening to the Kinks. I did so. What a good little lamb I am.
You couldn't pay me to date a Beatle, except for maybe Paul McCartney in 1967, but only because he facially resembles me enough that we could go to parties and introduce each other as "my brother" or "my sister," and then sloppily make out and it would be ha-ha-ha-hilairious! That is my lifelong dream. It doesn't necessarily have to be Paul McCartney in 1967. It could be any dude that resembles me facially- even you!
It's no secret that I'm in love with Ray Davies. When you love someone the way I love Ray Davies, the worst things about them become the most endearing. Again- I have this strong need to protect the intellectual property and person of Raymond Douglas Davies. "Apeman" is so lame, and so I love it the best.
Once upon a time, I lived with a pomeranian named Jasper. It became the summertime, and he got his first haircut. He looked like such a total dweeb; isn't it adorable how dogs are so oblivious to their physical appearance? The same is often true about dudes. There is nothing better in this world- on the dude front, at least- then when a dude gets a haircut, and looks worse for it. When dudes get their haircut, they always look worse. They look like they're seven. And if you love them, you love that. You love them. You love them more.
"Apeman" by the Kinks embarrasses me in the same way that "Monkberry Moon Delight" by Paul McCartney embarrasses me. But I would never get embarrassed for Paul McCartney, because Paul McCartney is unstoppably confident, and doesn't give a shit. He knows "Monkberry Moon Delight" is embarrassing; he thinks that's cool. If 1970 Ray Davies knew how embarrassing "Apeman" was to me, his future concubine, he would probably feel terrible about himself. Which is why I love it. Because all I want to do is protect Ray Davies, and because, often, when it comes to Kinks songs, all you need is love.
V. SHE'S GOT EVERYTHING
It's sort of embarrassing, you know, sometimes, how obvious it is that Ray Davies wrote "She's Got Everything" about me. Like, dude, you could have been a little more subtle about it, and then it would have been romantic, instead of vaguely creepy. But I forgive you, because I love you, and love means never having to say you're sorry.
1. "I've got a girl who's oh so good/ She's got everything."
Truer words have never been spoken. I am a girl. I am good. I have everything. And I belong to Ray Davies.
2. "Pretty ringlets in her hair"
I don't have air-conditioning, and live in a small room at the top of an old building. The nights are unbearably humid. When I wake up in the morning, I am soaked with sweat, and my hair is all curly and wavy and ugly and matted to itself. It looks like an old lady perm mixed with a homeless drunk's hair, only uglier. But, if you loved me as much as Ray Davies loves me, you too would think my "ringlets" were "pretty." I bet.
3. "Pretty clothes that she can wear"
Well, duh. Everybody knows I have killer style. If I didn't, I wouldn't have "everything," would I?
4. *I ain't got a knife/dime but she don't care*
I always thought the lyric went "I ain't got a knife but she don't care," but I was wrong! Dead wrong. If that were the real lyric, it would serve as great proof that "She's Got Everything" is about me. Unlike Black Eyes Barker over here, I have no interest in dudes who are "terminally wild and blindly valiant and beautifully desperate," i.e, the type of dude who might carry a knife, i.e. switchblade. Personally, I'm into reclusive losers who are mentally ill, and like jam.
However, not having a dime is a whole 'nother story! That's lame. I don't date broke dudes. I date reclusive losers who are mentally ill, like jam, and bring home at least 50K per annum. Luckily for me, Ray Davies is lying! As if the lead singer of the Kinks "doesn't have a dime." Bro has a dime, doesn't carry a knife, and I care about both of these things. That lyric is a moot point.
5. *Killer Guitar Solo*
Any song written about me needs a killer guitar solo. If you are too dumb to figure that out, you have no business writing songs about me. It's not going anywhere.
6. "She is mine forever, now"
Because of the killer guitar solo, and the love of jam, and the mental illness. And, of course: the front-teeth-gap.
Tags: Autumn Almanyac, Black Eyes Barker, cheese sandwiches EW, Hey Jude, Laura loves the Kinks, Monkberry Moon Delight, my hair is ugly, posture, Ray Davies, Ray Davies is a genius, Ray Davies' front-teeth gap, Ray Davies: The Ultimate Cancemini, Ray-Davies-Perfect, Raymond Douglas Davies, strawberry jam, The Kinks, The Who are for dudes, The Young Person's Guide to the Beatles
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