Other People’s Lives


Astonishing. Quite simply – astonishing!

Facts – Ray Davies is now 62, Other People’s Lives is his debut (proper) solo album and he started working on it in 1999.

After all these years and the last Kinks album (Phobia) having seen light of day in the early 90s, it did seem that Ray Davies was a spent force.


Other People’s Lives is a slap in the face and a kick up the backside of every wannabe pop-rock band who ever believed they could outdo the Kinks. It’s a fine document of a rock legend who has managed to remain as fresh and as vital as his seminal work more than forty (!) years ago.

Right throughout Other People’s Lives you will recognize the work of different artists and realize that these artists are not the influences but the influenced. Shall we start the roll call?

How about David Bowie, XTC, The Jam, the Smiths, Blur, Oasis, Nirvana and Arctic Monkeys, just for starters?

Longtime Kinks fans will be familiar with basic expectations. You get the snarling rockers – “Things Are Gonna Change” is a defiant statement: “I will I bloody will” is spat out to angry guitars. This heated tone continues with “After the Fall” as Davies cries out in desperation and futility: “Even at the gates of heaven, I’ll be waiting in a queue.”

You also get the softer side of Davies with the pleasing slice-of-life vignette “Next Door Neighbours,” which offers a little hope: “We win and lose/We laugh and cry/We live and learn/At least we tried.” “Is There Life After Breakfast” is a wistful rallying-cry for those at the crossroads of life: “Give yourself a kick up the backside/Jump out of bed and punch the sky.”

In between, Davies continues to display his wit and sharp observational sense in the wry “Creatures of Little Faith” where a suspicious wife starts to wear her longsuffering husband down: “You caught me with my pants down/But I was only taking a shower,” the humorous “The Tourist” finds Davies sharing his take on culture shock: “Just another tourist checking out the slums/With my plastic visa drinking with my chums/I dance and swing while ABBA sing/And I flash my platinum to the sound of living La Vita Loca,” the Spanish-flavored title track finds Davies venting his spleen on the tabloid press: “Spread the news, scandalized/Words cut like a thousand knives” and the hilarious “Stand Up Comic” where Davies offers his view on modern pop culture: “That’s that/Style I mean/Never was much never has been/But the little bit that was was all that we had/And the clown does a fart and everybody farts back.”


This is probably one of the easiest reviews I’ve concocted in years. Some critics will say that this is one incredible comeback album but in truth, Ray Davies was never ever away. Nobody does it better… A+