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Give the People What We Want | Kinks tribute | review | rock | compilation | Lollipop
Give the People What We Want
Songs of The Kinks As Performed by... (Sub Pop)
by Jon Sarre
Tribute records must be easy money (sorta like tribute bands, somethin' else they oughtta have a law against): Ya get a buncha people and let 'em interpret someone else's songs and, y'know, hope fans of the band bein' thus "tributed" will buy the thing and fans of the bands on the comp probably will too, so therefore ya got two markets for one record which probably didn't cost ya a ton of dough to put out, which probably means we'll never be rid of the damn things. Then there's tribute albums to The Kinks. Sure, they were pretty good to a point there until Ray Davies got rich and ditched the greasy stuff that made 'em good and started writing songs about preserving village greens and hiding from the tax man, which don't exactly make for stirrin' rock songs that you or I can relate to, so why give this jerk all that royalty cash, huh?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, so most of the stuff on this tribute's not from that time, but, true to some sorta quirky streak, Sub Pop decided to show off, which'd be more appropriate on K Records or somethin', people are doin' lotsa "rarer" stuff (read: No "You Really Got Me" or that other one Van Halen usedta do) so anyhow... C Average makes "Revenge" into a power chordaged fuzztoned'n'bangin' on oil drums deal unrecognizable as anything Kinks or not. This is a good song. I hate Young Fresh Fellows and I hate "Gotta Get the First Plane Home." Mark Lanegan turns "Nothing In the World's Gonna Stop Me From Worrying About That Girl" into a mopey Indian raga blues thing. Lighten up, Mark. Mudhoney mails in their cut, "Who'll Be the Next In Line," so it sounds like Mudhoney tryin' hard not to sound like Mudhoney (but they do anyway). The Model Rockets' "Ring the Bells" is sorta there, The Fallouts "This Man He Weeps Tonight" is overexub pop that some people really like, but I stay away from those types of people.
I dunno this Heather Duby person, but her alt-country "The Way Love Used To Be" is okay, 'cept I fugget what the original sounded like in the first place. Baby Gramps gets to do "Sunday Afternoon," which is good cuz he has fun with it, making it into oddball drunk Tom Waits slurralong. The Murder City Devils may've broken up, but not before they contributed "Alcohol," but hey, it's a cautionary tale (unlike the Gang Green song of the same name). The Congratulaters detail the woes of the "Session Man" (yawn). "Tin Soldier Man" is what Love As Laughter is concerned with and it's kinda nice if you like circuses. If ya live in the PacNW, there's somekinda law about not likin' Fastbacks (but not against tribute albums), so I'll just say their version of "Waterloo Sunset" is just dandy, albeit really poppy.
I don't haveta like Jon Auer, so I don't ('cept "Fancy" sounds like later period Monkees??!!??). The Pinkos are good'n'okay and "Brainwashed" adds a surfy element to their two-piece Xisms. Larry Barret does "Act Nice and Gentle" like some fake country lullabye which is nice and gentle, not like Minus 5's take on "Wicked Annabella," which sits on the fence between nice'n'gentle and rockdumb, so why we talkin' about it? Ditto for The Makers' "Strangers," which is mebbe the point where all that Rock Star God stuff has gone to their heads. The Briefs' "Come Dancing" is break-neck exuberance played all goofy like those guys tend to do not even a hint of seriousness! Are we finished? No, not yet! Nikol Kollars tells you to "Go To Sleep" (well, actually "I Go To Sleep") and it sounds like something ya'd hear on the urban contempt radio station. So instead of going to sleep, "I Turn It Off." Then I send Ray Davies a check.