Monday, January 09, 2023

This Year: 1970

"This Year" is a series of weekly posts, each about one song from one year of my life. See the introduction for more.

What's your favorite song by your favorite band? And is it the same today as it was yesterday, or tomorrow, or five years ago?

There was a stretch of several years when I would have said the Kinks were my favorite band - quirkily enough, that time would be around 2000, and the Kinks era I love the most is 1965-1974 (basically Kontroversy through Preservation 1). I don't think I'd say that now, most days - you might catch me in the right moment, though, you never know - but they're still there, in the back of my head, a parade of cuttingly smart and devastatingly precise Ray Davies pop tunes with big ideas and grand goals and impeccable aim.

Today, picking a favorite Kinks tune, picking a song for 1970, doing this whole song project, I landed on Apeman.

On another day, in another context, it could easily be Village Green Preservation Society, which has the unfortunate drawback of being one year older than I am and so unavailable for this project. My childhood would probably have voted for Celluloid Heroes or Lola, both from 1972. There are days when 1973's Demolition is the one. I love Better Things, but I love the Fountains of Wayne version better.

No, right now it has to be Apeman. Another song, like yesterday's, very much of its era: a song of frustration and annoyance, a song against the entire modern world. (I could also mention, in very much the same vein, the Kinks' Complicated Life. Another day, maybe.)

This is a song about feeling powerless, about realizing all the panoply of the modern world just isn't helping. That you can be sophisticated, so educated, so civilized...and still be walking around like flies. (We all know what happens to flies when wanton boys are about, and the world is full of overgrown wanton boys.) About wanting to do something drastic to change the situation, and realizing getting out is the best you can do.

I don't feel safe in this world no more

No, Ray. None of us do. We still don't. And a lot of us wish we could sail away to that distant shore, and live like an Apeman.

No comments:

Post a Comment