Our favorite Californian, David Berkeley raps on ‘Lola”

Hello old collective friends. Writing you from California, where they
don’t know how to make a biscuit or put sugar in their tea, and they
don’t have a Collective. At least not yet.

I’m going to miss you guys fiercely this installment, as you cross the
Atlantic again for Lola vs. the Powerman & the Money-Go-Round by the
Kinks, a record that came out when I was only six years away from
entering the world (and many of you were still some sixteen years
off). For those of you who didn’t know that I was born in 1976, the
album came out in 1970. So I don’t have a good story about walking
into Phil’s Records in my hometown and buying it on release day. But I
do remember when I heard Lola for the first time. I was 13, and it
came on our school bus radio. My memory is fuzzy as to whether the bus
had a built in radio or if Frazer (driver and possible psychopath)
brought in a boom box. But the song came on. I was laying back on the
seat watching the leaves go by my window, and I was immediately
transported to the streets of London, North Soho to be specific. I
didn’t understand all the lyrics. But I knew the song was sexy and
somehow illicit. It was racy and wrong. Yet it was so right. I
probably listened to it more than 20 times before I learned that Lola
is a dude. That was a big shocker. Took me a while to readjust. Now,
of course, I’m more open than I was then…

Lola dominates this album, as the single is pretty epic—musically,
lyrically, you name it. But the rest of the album is worthy of your
ears. And that is what we do at the Collective. Sure, you’ll hear
“Lola,” fear not. And he/she is going to sound really great. But
you’ll also hear the beautiful old-timey ballad “Introduction,” which
kicks the album off. My favorite song may just be “Strangers,” which
the Band certainly could have done a great job with. And you’ll hear
the pleading harmonies on “A Long Way from Home,” which I wonder if
Joan Jett didn’t borrow from on “Crimson and Clover.”

The album is the Kinks’ eighth, a concept album about a band that gets
a big hit and then has to fight the evil music industry machine. But
while that single theme may hover, the album is stylistically all over
the map. You’ll hear Dylan, The Beatles, The Band. There’s folk,
blues, rock, even a little metal. And there’s that classic British
dirty vocal sound and loose arrangements, which makes you feel like
they don’t give a shit if you’re listening or if they’re a little out
of time or tune.

All this to say that you are in for a kinky treat with this one, and
I’ll be cracking open the cherry-cola-flavored champagne over on the
West Coast while you’re battling the Powerman.

With love and fondness,

David Berkeley