Davies does not give voice to the lunch bucket, factory horn crowd that Springsteen sings. The Kinks, especially in high-concept (maybe too high concept) records like Soap Opera, are the voice of rock and roll's Kafka. He sings for the pain and glory of pencil-pushing boredom, for the commuter, for the cog in the corporate wheel who measures out his or her days not in coffee spoons, but in the slow, perfectly symmetrical march minute by minute and hour by hour 'til the end of the day. These are journeys that end not out in the street with junkyard angels born to run, but in a pub with one flat pint too many or a darkly lit parlor watching the TV news while eating yet another serving of shepherd's pie.
In these Songs of Ascent, tracing time from mystic seas where anything is possible to time on the ground where people are found, Ray Davies—whose most recent solo album is entitled Working Man's Cafe—holds the hours with immense empathy for the resignation of the person in the cubicle, spirit fused to the tick-tock tick-tock of someone else's clock. Ray Davies is the guy on the other side of your desk writing the novel at night, just like Kafka, and refusing to show a soul, until one day just after the 5 o'clock bell, he shows it to you and you don't ever feel quite as lonely as you once did again.
Song of Ascent V
9 to 5 | The Kinks
All of the Songs of Ascent