Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kinks - Better Things

(Arista, 1981)

The second American single from Give the People What They Want backs away from the big-gesture aggression of the “Destroyer” 45 by pairing two of the album’s more thoughtful, midtempo songs for 7” release. “Better Things” (now 15 seconds longer than on the LP; ZOINKS!) was a radio hit, but a rather unlikely one due to a wobbly, tentative delivery by Ray and rhythmically-awkward lyrics in the verses that are only semi-successfully shoehorned into the melody. And while there’s definitely something “off” and demo-ish about the whole thing, I suppose there’s enough here to enjoy, like a nice dual-guitar line in the chorus and an overall air of optimism that’s refreshing as compared to the rest of the songs on the album. The significantly darker “Yo-Yo” is a return to sharp, regular-guy character sketches a la Something Else, but with Ray shouting the arena-crunch chorus in his stupid Jagger-of-the-’80s bellow, this is easily identifiable as a Give the People track and not some lost ’60s classic: ultimately, as on the A-side, it’s a good lyric matched with some decent if unremarkable songwriting. So what’s not to tolerate?

1 comment:

Donald Brown said...

but for Art Lover, my two favorite tracks on the album, but I didn't know they were released as a single.