Monday, June 10, 2013

The Kinks - State of Confusion

Today (June 10th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of State of Confusion, the twenty-second studio album from the UK rockers the Kinks. This one went to number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 200.

The line-up for this album was Ray Davies (lead vocals, guitar, synthesizer, and piano), Dave Davies (lead guitar and vocals), Mick Avory (drums), Jim Rodford (bass) and Ian Gibbons (keyboards).

Side one starts with the title track. “State of Confusion” was not released as a single in US, but it did chart at number 26 on the US Mainstream Rock chart thanks to a popular music video on MTV. I like the guitar opening on this one, followed by a primal scream and then the backing harmonies. The lyrics point out frustrations with technology, domestic disarray and more.

“Definite Maybe”, a song about indecision and indifference, reminds me of some classic Rolling Stones in its pacing and delivery in spots. I like its up-tempo rhythm a lot.

“Labour of Love” takes on the institution of marriage, starting out with a heavy-vibrato guitar on the traditional wedding march. The husband and wife in this crumbling love affair are transformed into a two-headed monster, each wanting different things.

The first single, released in late 1982, was “Come Dancing”; it went to number 36 in Australia, number 18 in Belgium, number 17 on the US Mainstream Rock chart, number 12 in the UK, and number 6 in Canada and on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song is a nostalgic look back on childhood memories and the days of the Palais dance hall; even though the building has been since demolished the wonderful memories still remain. The organ gives this one a nice old-fashioned feel.

“Property” tells of a man who sadly has to move on from a relationship that has fallen apart. The muted keyboards play off of the vocals very well.

Side two begins with “Don’t Forget to Dance”; this second single from the album went to number 38 in New Zealand, number 29 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 20 in Canada, and number 16 on the US Mainstream Rock charts. The lyrics reflect upon a time gone by for a lonely middle aged woman and remind her to hold on to those things that once made her happy.

“Young Conservatives” slaps at how college students have changed, no longer the rebels and revolutionaries of the 60’s and 70’s. I can see their point, having been a new student in college at the time this album was very popular.

Some speculate that the gently-rolling “Heart of Gold” was addressing Chrissie Hynde. The song shares a sound that was prominent in music by the Pretenders at the time.

The very cynical “Clichés of the World (B Movie)” is up next.

“Bernadette”, the B-side to the second single, closes the vinyl release. Dave Davies takes lead vocals on this rocking ode to a high class lady; it has a slight Led Zeppelin meets 50‘s rock sound to it.

The cassette version included two more tracks: the country-twinge of “Long Distance” and the throbbing build of “Noise”; they also appeared on the CD release of the album.

My older brother was a fan of the Kinks; therefore it was through him that I heard a lot of State of Confusion initially in 1983. I really enjoy this record; the whole album really works on so many levels. The Kinks definitely were able to transition into the new decade by building upon what had worked for them previously and blending in new technology sounds.

For additional reviews of the Kinks’ albums, check the following links:

- For 1979’s Low Budget, click here.

- For 1981’s Give the People What They Want, click here.


HERC said...

When two or more albums share the same anniversary or release date, how do you determine which one to feature on the actual date?

I imagine you have a white board wall in your basement and you drew a calendar on it and just fill in each day with release dates from 1983. Then you look for albums from the Seventies that were relased during the month and finally, you fill in empty dates with those albums that share specfific dates or lack specific dates.

Or is it a dartboard? One of those spinning, clickity-clack wheels?

Never mind, don't tell me.

Martin Maenza said...

You were pretty close on the first one. I actually use a sheet of paper, write down the dates, and then fill in accordingly. If two albums are on the same day, I take one for the actual date and put the others around it as close as possible.

HERC said...

Thanks for the peek behind the curtain although you have to admit a spinning clickity clack wheel would be pretty cool.

A little green birdie tells me you are already researching posts for August. Keep them coming.

Not counting the dozen or so you've already featured, when do you see yourself wrting the first review of an album from 1984?

I for one am anxiously awaiting Joan Jett's Album which I beleive was a late June 1983 release. Listening to it now as a matter of fact.

And after that one, can't wait to see your reviews of 1983 albums by Yaz, Robert Plant, Big Country, Madonna, Art Of Noise, John Cougar Mellencamp, Rolling Stones and Billy Idol.

Still hoping you'll contribute a playlist to my month long Songza Summer feature.

Martin Maenza said...

A wheel would be pretty cool. ;)

I am working on August posts now, with September soon to follow. So, yes, a number of the artists you mentioned are on tap.

When will I start my first review for 1984 albums? I suspect, if I keep ahead on my schedule, some time in late September/early October. ;)