Ray Davies – Other People’s Lives (2006): Review


Produced by Ray Davies
Label – V2

So after 43 years, the Godfather of Britpop brought us his first full solo work. His inspiration has seeped into much of contemporary music, spanning every decade. From the rocker kids and punks picking up their Stratocaster copies and banging out the chords to “You Really Got Me”, to the whimsical British poets of the 90’s, using “Waterloo Sunset” and “The Village Green Preservation Society” as their guide vocal. Not only is the music of The Kinks esteemed for its influence to these generations of musicians, but as a commentator of the British life style over the last 40 years, Davies has held his gifted hand over the heartbeat, reflecting our culture, and national personality with a skill that is completely un-rivalled. So does a man in his 60’s, a man whose commercial success has surely bought the financial rewards that have allowed him a certain detachment from his Muswell Hill roots and the working class, have something relevant to say in 2006?


“Other People’s Lives” is actually a misleading title. Much of the material on the album seems self analytical, reflecting a life of loves and losses, introspectively observing the mistakes, the successes that most men in the autumn of their life are entitled to do. Set to a contemporary rock background, the hooks are fine, polished, but are far from memorable. When they do work, as on “Things Are Gonna Change (The Morning After)”, “Creatures Of Little Faith”, the Flamenco tinged title track, and the outstanding “All She Wrote”, Davies sounds as important as ever. On the flip side, there are completely forgettable tracks like “Next Door Neighbour”, “The Tourist”, “Is There Life After Breakfast ?” and “Stand Up Comic”.

“Other People’s Lives” is uneven, hardly groundbreaking, and occasionally interesting, but for all his triumphs, Ray Davies can be forgiven almost anything.


“Things Are Gonna Change (The Morning After)”
“After The Fall”
“Next Door Neighbour”
“All She Wrote”
“Creatures of Little Faith”
“Run Away From Time”
“The Tourist”
“Is There Life After Breakfast?”
“The Getaway (Lonesome Train)”
“Other People’s Lives”
“Stand Up Comic”
“Over My Head”

2 responses to “Ray Davies – Other People’s Lives (2006): Review

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