"Working Man’s Café" by Ray Davies (2008)
Cafe just a Greasy Spoon.
It brings me no pleasure whatsoever to report this, but Ray Davies' (former legendary frontman of The Kinks) new solo album Working Man's Café is an absolute bore. This isn't a total shock by any means - hell, as much as I love The Kinks, they did make their fair share of terrible records (The Kinks Present A Soap Opera anyone?). What "is" a shock though is that just two short years ago, Davies' first ever official solo record, Other People's Lives, was quite good. It had intriguing lyrics and inspired arrangements that were diverse and anything but predictable. Working Man's Café however seems to be the antithesis of that album.
While Working Man's Café offers nothing downright terrible, there's really nothing that inspires repeated listens either. There are a few moderately decent tracks like opener "Vietnam Cowboys" that targets mass-market globalization and "No One Listen" is a somewhat interesting take on the unfortunate breakdown of government agencies (Davies has been a resident of New Orleans for quite some time now after all). But other than that, Working Man's Café is so vanilla (not French vanilla, just plain vanilla) it's downright forgettable. Almost every song structure is the same as the last and for being one of Rock's greatest living songwriters, there's surely nothing here that Davies will be remembered for. Maybe all those Kinks reunion rumors will turn out to be true later this year so I can forget about this record. Check that, I already did.
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