Monday, July 27, 2009

Ian Songs: #4, Supersonic Rocket Ship

At the height of glam n' glitter, the Davies (more likely Ray) decided to go all theatrical. Don't really blame them, they just cut a record in '72 charring the rock roadlife with a lyrical blowtorch. The cliche thing about rock is that you write what you know (or what you think you know) and if you dedicate two whole sides to how boring touring is, than it's a fairly good indicator that you should try something new. Keep in mind, as well, that the still under-appreciated Everbody's in Show-Biz (despite one overplayed selection) predates Seger's lonely end-of-the-bar-jam by a year, so they were still pushing boundaries even though they were sick to death of doing it. And, just to make sure that the traditional English irony was left in tact during the transitioning process, the right hand side of the gatefold contains, you guessed it, the Kinks recent one night stand at Carnegie Hall.

Of course, The Kinks' controlled irony is only one side of the coin. For a band that's quintessentially British in every way, they owe America's marketing machine for few million album sales. Van Halen's purposely obtuse cover of You Really Got Me must've lined the Davies' pockets quite well. And, when the American production of the British TV hit, Life on Mars pulled out their last '70s top 20 hit to back a supernatural abduction scene, anyone who heard it who were under thirty went running to make sure their iPod had what some consider to be the drunkest album ever recorded.

And, there, waiting to greet their taping feet n' fingers was Supersonic Rocket Ship, which is The Kinks at their '70s best. I mean, we're miles away from Party Line at this point and it shows in the laidback, inebriated groove. And, while its naivete is what is played up by most and is, honestly, the song's best selling feature, it's the sheer depth of the musical backdrop that deserves note. Give it a spin once and enjoy it. Spin it again and lend it some ears. A horn chart? Clever piano lines? These things didn't have to be there, yet they are and they help paint a complete picture. The picture is gorgeous, too, and will lift the lips of anyone on their worst day. Pure pop, pure gold.

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