Monday, May 14, 2007

One of the Survivors

"Twentieth Century Man" (Ray Davies/The Kinks/1971)*

This is the age of machinery,
A mechanical nightmare,
The wonderful world of technology:
Napalm, hydrogen bombs, biological warfare.

This is the twentieth century,
But too much aggravation
It's the age of insanity,
What has become of the green pleasant fields of Jerusalem?

Ain't got no ambition, I'm just disillusioned
I'm a twentieth century man but I don't wanna be here.
My mama said she can't understand me
She can't see my motivation
Just give me some security,
I'm a paranoid schizoid product of the twentieth century.

You keep all your smart modern writers
Give me William Shakespeare
You keep all your smart modern painters
I'll take Rembrandt, Titian, Da Vinci and Gainsborough.

Girl we gotta get out of here
We gotta find a solution
I'm a twentieth century man but I don't want to die here.

I was born in a welfare state
Ruled by bureaucracy
Controlled by civil servants
And people dressed in grey
Got no privacy, got no liberty
'Cause the twentieth century people
Took it all away from me.

Don't wanna get myself shot down
By some trigger happy policeman,
Gotta keep a hold on my sanity
I'm a twentieth century man but I don't wanna die here.

My mama says she can't understand me
She can't see my motivation
Ain't got no security,
I'm a twentieth century man but I don't wanna be here.

This is the twentieth century
But too much aggravation
This is the edge of insanity
I'm a twentieth century man but I don't wanna be here.

*See Muswell Hillbillies post, 9/28/2006. This may be the only song ever to mention painter Thomas Gainsborough, whose birthday is today.

Today's Rune: The Self.

Birthdays: Thomas Gainsborough, Sidney Bechet, Bobby Darin (Walden Robert Cassotto), Elizabeth Ray (b. Betty Lou Ray), David Byrne, Tim Roth (b. Timothy Simon Smith), Jean Leloup (b. Jean Leclerc, aka Massoud Al-Rachid), Cate Blanchett, Sofia Coppola.


Johnny Yen said...

That's funny-- "20th Century Man" was in my head all weekend.

My wife was at a Kinks show with her now-ex-husband year ago and Ray and Dave, who are among rock and roll's legion of fighting brothers (Dave and Phil Alvin in the Blasters and the guys in Oasis spring to mind) get in a fistfight on stage. They were about 50 years old.

Johnny Yen said...

that's "years ago."

Danny Tagalog said...

A few days ago I was in one of those Tokyo bars where you can choose your own tunes from the owners selection - 'Alcohol' from 'Hillbilles was chosen - such an under-rated tune.

Lovely cover of SRS - hadn't seen it before. Makes me pine for my vinyl.

the walking man said...

35 years later and it just needs to be updated from 20th century to 21st century and it stays the same because nothing has changed, Mainly because we all went corporate where the BIG money is.

Charles Gramlich said...

Great lyrics. The Kinks are underrated. I've liked a lot of their stuff, and have liked a lot of remakes where it was made heavier, like what Van Halen did with some Kink's songs.