Soap Opera Import, SACD
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Maybe the most entertaining of all Kinks concept albums, this 1975 RCA LP now features the great sound it always deserved. You Make It All Worthwhile; Underneath the Neon Sign; Everybody's a Star , and the rest join bonus live cuts and alternate mixes!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Ray Davies nailed it all those years ago: We're not a culture of individualists, by any means.. We're all about conformity. He just puts it out there, straight, no chaser. We should ask ourselves: How much have we "settled" over the years? How much has identifiable product overwhelmed the process of choice? To my knowledge, this is the only album that has ever addressed the question.
What Ray Davies does here is illustrate, from his own coast, how the weight of just "fitting in" can crush anyone, even a genius. The moral: Don't fit In! And Ray never did. Melodically as well, this has some of the greatest tunes ever generated. The actual CD closer (not the one on the extended version) has had me in tears.
This is a very, very brilliant album. I wouldn't use the word "silly" for any of it. Ironic, in high Shakespearean style, is more appropriate. It is, in its way, a fully fleshed out version of "I'm not like everybody else," which is hilariously used non-ironically in a commercial these days. Don't they get it? They are ALL like everybody else! That's what the song is about.
Irony 101 for all ad execs. Mandatory. (Oh yeah, and I know folks have noted that "Lust for Life" by Iggy is being used to promote family values. I have lived this long?)
Finally, if the above all sounds daunting....Soap Opera also great fun to listen to. Good singing, good playing, melodies and hooks galore, wit, intelligence, and Ray Davies's voice. And a spectacular foray into the mind of the 20th Century Ape-Man.
When I first heard this album, many years ago, I thought it trite, silly and rather shallow. However, I dug it out of my cassette collection recently and re-acquainted myself with it. Once again, I was unimpressed. For some reason I kept listening to it over and over, and found myself less invested with the music than the story. Essentially its about a trumped up rock star who exchanges placed with a middle-aged clerk in order to prove he could make him a "star". Silly concept.
Suddenly I recognized a parallel between the album's story and the wave of reality show on TV. I could easily imagine a show based off of this very premise. Now the story didn't seem silly, but prescient. This is where the magic of the Kinks exists. Ray Davies delves into the distubing trend of societal obsessions and juxtaposes them with the allure of the simple life.
But, doggone it, SOAP OPERA was a wonderful album. I'm not going to dissect it and attempt to grade or degrade individual cuts on the work. I just want to say that, from my perspective, this album has it all. It was great fun everytime I put the disk on. The artwork was outstanding, the performance impeccible, the lyrics, the feel for the mood of the time, the music.... Why couldn't everyone see that?! It has often been said that the Kinks' "theatrical" period was their least popular. In my mind, it was the artistry of Ray Davies and the Kinks at their best. If you didn't "get it", it's your loss.