So I’m listening to Ray Davies:
“Things are going to change, this is the morning after. . .
“Morality kicks in. . . .
“The morning after gets up from the floor. . .to do it all again. . . .”
And I’m remembering how many of my own mornings after, when I painfully remember the night before—not merely the pain that is physically wracking, the nauseous remembrance of drinks past, of too many cigarettes, too little food—but of the asinine things said, did, the sorts of things that the spinning bed didn’t make go away when all of the other stuff was made to disappear.
“Things Are Going To Change.” Right.
So here it is, the first solo album. But honestly: Is there a Kinks album that isn’t, in effect, a Ray Davies album?
And then there are those questions that come up, like: How come the Kinks seem to have been somewhere back in a tent or something when the British Invasion occurred? Or: Didn’t they do that novelty song, “Lola”, or was that Ray Stevens?
None of that matters. Other People’s Lives does matter, at least for those who are interested in hearing well-composed, well-written songs by someone who has undoubtedly spent more than his fair share of time in situations where morality kicks in, and he honestly is bothered by it. There is a certain authenticity here, artful, but not artificial. Sincere but not saccharine.
Davies has been on stage for a long, long time. But oddly enough, unlike the recent work of some of his erstwhile peers, there is an immediacy and freshness to this, there remains the sense of the wonder of the quotidian that makes some of his best work what it is.
“To do it all again.”