State Of Confusion was an album that Ray Davies and The Kinks got just about right. It was more diversified lyrically and musically than many of their releases. Davies biting humor and sarcastic wit were out in full force which was always welcome. It was not as bonecrunching as their previous release, Give The People What They Want, but it was still an album of solid rock and roll.
The most popular and memorable track from the album was the hit single “Come Dancing.” This radio friendly tune was perfect listening fare during the early 1980s. It was a rare Kinks song that used Ian Gibbons keyboards rather than Dave Davies guitar as the underlying lead instrument. It may not have had the raw appeal of their 1960s hits, but it was a smooth song. If Ray Davies had planned to record a popular song, then here he succeeded well.
Every Kinks album seems to have included one somewhat forgotten classic. This time it was “Clichés of the World (B Movie)” Ray Davies was examining life as only he could, as he had the unique ability to see the obvious. Here he looked at life within the context of a movie and not a great movie at that.
The title song was written in the middle of life crises for Ray Davies. His marriage had fallen apart and his brother Dave was literally fighting on stage with his friend, longtime Kinks’ drummer Mick Avory. He put all of that angst into this hard rock song.
It was an album of consistently superior music. “Definite May” humorously criticized the ills of society over a simple bass and drum beat. ”Heart Of Gold” was about growing up as Dave Davies guitar moves front and center. “Don’t Forget To Dance” was a ballad with sermonic advice. “Young Conservatives” compared the younger generation of the 1980s to that of the ’60s. It remains an interesting look at the era from 30 years later.
State Of Confusion was a good example of Ray Davies looking at the common things of life and building his songs upon those observations. The album remains an excellent example of the Kinks style and sound.
Article first published as Music Review: The Kinks – State Of Confusion on Blogcritics.